One Hour Photo

Cast
Sy Parrish: Robin Williams
Nina Yorkin: Connie Nielsen
Will Yorkin: Michael Vartan
Bill Owens: Gary Cole
Jake Yorkin: Dylan Smith
Det. Van Der Zee: Eriq LaSalle
Maya Burson: Erin Daniels

Fox Searchlight Pictures presents a film written and directed by Mark Romanek. Running time: 98 minutes. Rated R (for sexual content and language).

Central Theme
Everybody needs a loving family; if you have one you should do everything you can to protect, nurture and preserve it; if you experienced abuse or neglect in a family you must seek healing, which will come in part by avoiding isolation and seeking community.

Story
A sad and haunting look at a gentle, lonely man working in the SavMart one-hour photo developing department whose childhood pain and adult isolation lead him to imagine his adoption into a family he gets to know as he develops their photos. His affection and interest for the Yorkins become obsessions and he begins making an extra set of photos, covering one wall of his apartment with a montage of the happy moments in their lives. Unfortunately, over the years he observes the husband neglecting his wife and son. While developing a roll of film for one of Will’s attractive young employees, he discovers Will’s unfaithfulness to Nina. Taking matters into his own hands he makes sure Nina learns of the betrayal, but is shocked at her capacity to forgive.

Sy’s greatest fear is losing the job that allows him access to the Yorkins, but when his boss discovers Sy’s photo counts are off by hundreds his fear becomes reality. Now with time on his hands and armed with camera and new hunting knife he stalks Will and his mistress to a hotel. Our story then concludes in a spooky, surprising, revelatory way.

It should not be a surprise that a film about images should make use of them in symbolic ways. The first night we meet Sy his windshield has been cracked and the rest of the film he views life through ¢â‚¬Ëœshattered’ glass. Sy eats at a family restaurant but the lights have burned out so you see only the letters for FAM, while ILY is faint and incomplete. He shows the waitress pictures of the Yorkins and tells her he is Uncle Sy in the family. In the background at the employee cafeteria is a sign Sy has taken way to literally. It reads: ¢â‚¬ËœCreed: our customers are everything. Without them nothing else matters.’

The idea of someone seeing our lives through a series of snapshots creates an eerie unease at a number of levels. Who wants ever again to drop off their photos to a complete stranger who can view the images and has your address? Sy’s vantage point is like God’s, seeing all and choosing whether or not to intervene, but in this case the all-seeing one is a lonely troubled man.

Given the statistics of child abuse in contemporary society, it is frightening to think how those many lives have been affected and what the social and relational impact is as the violated ones travel among us.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–Aren’t there a lot of lonely people who long for a ¢â‚¬Ëœfamily’ connection?
–Why do people who ¢â‚¬Ëœhave it all,’ so often throw it all away (like Will having an affair while neglecting a loving wife and son)?
–What would it take to ¢â‚¬Ëœheal’ Sy?
–What are some acceptable ways for Sy to meet his need for a loving, accepting family?
–What does Jesus and the church have to offer someone like Sy?

Provocative Quotes byline
–People take pictures of happy moments in their lives. No one ever takes a photograph of something they want to forget.
==Sy
–When someone’s home burns down after making sure their families and pets are OK. What do they ask? What about the photos? Family photos.
==Sy.
–I feel bad for someone. He doesn’t have any friends and people make fun of him. He’s sad.
==Boy at bedtime confessing his concerns for Sy to his mom.
–Not everyone is as lucky as we are. But if we send them good thoughts maybe they’ll feel better.
==Mom to boy.
–This is not about things. You are neglectful. You are an emotionally neglectful husband and father. You’re not here,
==Nina to husband.
–You’re a very lucky man Mr. Yorkin. You’ve got a wonderful family. And if you don’t mind me saying, a beautiful home as well.
==Sy when he runs into Will at the store.
–If these pictures have anything important to say to future generations it is this. I was here. I existed. I was young and happy and someone cared enough about me to take my picture.
==Sy as he buys an old photo of a smiling woman he decides to represent as his own mother.
–He writes a lot about noticing coincidences. He talks about fear.’ The things we fear the most have already happened.
==Sy referring to Deepock Chopra’s book, ¢â‚¬ËœThe Path to Love. ¢â‚¬Ëœ
–You have a choice. Join us or continue on your path to obliteration. The decision rests with you.
==Sci-Fi movie on TV as Sy decides to deface the family photomontage.
–What the hell is wrong with these people?
==Sy watching Nina serving her family a home cooked meal right after learning her husband is unfaithful.
–You would never ask children to do things they shouldn’t do. You would never take pictures of your children doing sick, degrading things. You would never treat your children like animals. Will had it all and he threw it away, Will is not a good father.
==Sy to detective.
–Can I see my pictures now?
==Sy to detective.

Posted in Movies, Staublog in August 21, 2002 by | No Comments »

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