Rumor of Angels (2002)

Rumor Of AngelsAfter James’ mother dies in a tragic automobile accident, he befriends Maddy, a lonely older widow who helps him work through his feelings surrounding his mother’s death by telling him that angels often talk to the living through Morse code. As James’ grows closer to her, finding comfort in her company, his family grows to question their relationship.

Starring: Vanessa Redgrave, Ray Liotta, More

Director: Peter O’Fallon

Genre: Independent

Format: Widescreen, More

Language: English

Subtitles: English, More

What’s in it for you?

The key opportunities to learn about ourselves, that I’ve observed in this film are:

  • How fear can cause us to take action in situations when no action is warranted.
  • Does an accepted idea of what is normal have value?
  • The effect of not facing pain and trauma.
  • Realizing that we can choose a new belief just because it allows more room to be whole.
  • How fear can cause us to take action in situations and when no action is warranted.

This is powerfully demonstrated by the parents of James, who take strong steps to protect him from the influence of Maddy Bennett (Vanessa Redgrave), in spite of the fact that they admit her influence has led to James dramatically returning to life, after steadily slipping away from them in the years since the tragic death of his mother.

This character, Maddy Bennett, is a great example of a person living on purpose. In spite of the alienation brought on by commonly held public opinion, Maddy believed that it was her purpose to give comfort to another person, with the messages that she believes to have received from her son on the other side of the veil between the physical world and the spirit realm. Most believed her to be crazy. That was their choice. The transformation of that one little boy from dying to living was fulfillment of the role she believed she had. Her little book of messages from her son, gives anyone reading it the choice of a new perspective on death. Instead of death being a mysterious and horrible thing, something to be feared all your life, until you eventually reach it. Death is something that can be understood and accepted with grace and received as a beautiful thing, a transition from the physical back to spirit. Any rigid concept of Truth, has nothing to do with it. We can choose a belief that creates the environment that supports the best life we can experience. One that is based in love, connection, relationship to all, including spirit. One that is marked by the absence of fear. The liberation of the boy in this film is a beautiful example of that.

“The soul leaps from the body

Like a boy from a school house door

Suddenly with joy

There is no horror in death.”

Recognizing the limits of perceptions about what is normal.

In a world distorted by an unrelenting push toward conformity, this film has the most useful information coming from nonconforming characters. Regarding the health and well being of young James, the wisdom they deliver is not accepted by the townspeople because these characters, are on the fringe, considered not normal or weirdo’s. This is such a beautiful illustration of the reality of the limiting nature of conditioning. Children haven’t been conditioned, long enough, to close their minds to wondrous ideas or magical things. With this thought in mind, why not reconsider the value of growing up? If growing up means letting go of the infinite possibilities in the universe, denying the magical, by conforming to a standard called normal, we can say. I’d rather not! …For any of us that already conformed it’s never too late. The magic is still there. Just grow back down! This is really what folks on the path of personal growth or seeking spiritual awareness are doing. Rediscovering …..what we hadn’t yet been conditioned to deny, as a child. Rediscovering ……what never went away. Rediscovering……. as a necessity for complete joy and fulfillment in our later lives.

The effect of not facing pain and trauma.

Another great mirror in this film, shows us how often pain and trauma is denied or buried, never allowing for the opportunity to grow from it. Here is a young boy traumatized by being a witness to his mother’s death. He is now being parented by a father, who is stereo typically never there for him. He is always away for work reasons, and when he is there, he doesn’t communicate or connect deeply with his son. When he does connect, it is not about their mutual loss of the wife and mother that they loved. At an early point in the film, one of our fringe characters, young James’s uncle Charlie, makes the point to the boy’s father, upon arriving home from a business trip, that he is losing his son. This is a great moment in the film because it reveals, the depth, feeling and awareness in this, not so normal, Uncle Charlie. Charlie has to play the role of father to James, but in his reluctance to that, he is really more of a friend to him, which is what James really needs anyway. Beautiful stuff!

Realizing that we can choose a new belief just because it allows more room to be whole.

Like an onion this movie has many layers. The conflicting beliefs that we’re talking about from beginning to end in this movie are about death. Maddy Bennett, who is considered crazy by the townspeople, lost her son in the war. Her archaeologist husband, died sometime after that in a work-related accident. Once she sees how stuck James is, she shares with James that she communicates through Morse code with her son. By reading the messages that she wrote down and exploring the idea, that there exists a possibility of communication or connection of some kind with those beyond the veil, James begins to come back to life and deal with his own loss. It is through James awakening, that we get to witness how personal belief, when held in the mind as a truth, can limit the holder and those under its control, to only the possibilities, actions and thoughts allowed by that truth. For example, watch and see how truth (and the agreement on it by someone else), is not necessary, for a belief to have a transformative effect on one’s life. The young boy James is trapped by the grief and horror of his mother’s death. Potentially limited, for the rest of his life, to being consumed by his lack of a thrive-able perspective about life and death. By meeting Mrs. Bennett the boy gets an opportunity to see that there are other ways to look at all things, including death and grief. All he has to do to experience his own freedom is, simply make a choice to believe something that allows him to be whole. There is a crossroads in the film when this becomes particularly evident. In a crisis of belief, he must decide whether it is about truth or whether it is about his own belief. Should the choice be made based on what others say is true, or should the choice be made on the believing that allows him to be whole? Great Stuff!

Popcorn! Don’t forget the popcorn!

Remember, you are what you watch! Mark Firehammer