Phone Booth

This post is more than 3 years old.

I saw the movie Phone Booth over the holiday weekend; I commend it to you, though less so for the movie itself than for the central question that it finds such a creative way to ask:

When you're all alone at the edge of your life, with nothing much to lose, what are the things about your life that need to be reconciled, the ghosts of your your past and present that need to be called by name?

When Stu, the central character in the movie, was asked this question, he didn't have any particularly new and interesting vices on the surface; he'd contemplated an affair, he lied and was mean to get ahead in the world, etc. The deeper, underlying answer to the question becomes "I'm a fake", but the audience is shown that this answer is not particular to this one person or a particular series of life choices. Indeed, it is one of which all of us are capable of giving.

Most importantly, the movie shows what an incredibly skewed perspective we've developed about our own existence and the incredible meaning and value we've ascribed to our lies and our fakery. That we would consider exchanging "honesty about ourselves and the lives we lead" for "a human life" seems absurd when written on this page. But, through the simplicity of a phone call, Phone Booth brings into focus that we do this every day, whether it's in invading a foreign country, or just not thinking hard enough about how the choices we make affect others around us.

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