When Movies Say It Best: “The United States of Leland”

Another week, another movie quote, another movie that impacted me. There is never a shortage of movies or quotes to share. Sometimes there are just those moments when you hear a well-written line and it just hits you like a punch in the gut. This movie started out like that and each scene builds on that feeling. This quote not only sums up the movie, but also words how most people feel about life perfectly.

You have to believe that life is more than the sum of its parts, kiddo.

I honestly had to sit and think about this line for a while. I still often just sit and think what is it really saying. We can all relate to the harshness of the world and sometimes all we can do is hope there is some greater meaning to it all. We have to hope that maybe there will be a purpose or we can learn something from our experience.

From the start of this movie, you know it isn’t going to be fun or joyful, but you also know it is going to have an impact on you. It seems to grab you from the first scene and it dares you to look away. Each line seems to call for the audience to examine their lives while they watch the chaos and heartbreak on screen.

I think the reality of this movie is really what spoke to me. The reality that sometimes things happen and there isn’t a reason. There are terrible things that just can’t be explained and when those things happen, what do you do? What do you do with life? How do you find a way to move forward? Is that even possible? Not only does it seem like the bad happens unexpectedly, but often times the good does as well. There is very little good in this movie, in the sense of uplifting, but just like the quote says we have to believe it is more than the sum of its parts.

I saw this movie at a time in my life when I was trying to figure things out. I can’t really say that this is a “figure things out” kind of movie, but it does get you thinking and your emotions working. It makes you look at the world around you and see the mess that is often found in life. It makes you see reality, not with rose-colored glasses, but with a biting, bitterness and strain. It makes you see that sometimes things don’t work out and all you can do is find a way to keep on living.

Maybe it makes sense now. Maybe somewhere in all of this there’s a reason. Maybe somewhere in all of this there’s a why. Maybe somewhere there’s that thing that lets you tie it all up with a neat bow and bury it in the backyard. But nothing, not getting angry, not prayers, and not tears, nothing can make something that happened unhappen.

This quote is the harsh reality of life. Good or bad no matter what happens, it will never “unhappen”. You can’t go back, only forward, and sometimes in life all you can do is find a way to live with the things that have happened, whatever that might mean.


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