• Various/Onna Carr

The Art of Seeing

Updated: Oct 27, 2019


Post by Onna Carr

Being seen and seeing--only a few people see and are seen. When asked what my top six

films are, not including period BBC dramas made-for-TV, I usually list the following: 1. Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi 2. Runaway Bride 3. Lake House 4. The Desolation of Smaug 5. Leap Year

6. The Italian Key All these films share the common themes of spunky women and laughter. However, these attributes are not the tie that binds them all together for me. The trait these films share that make them my favorites are that people see and are seen and, consequently, valued. We live in an age when people continue to be devalued in small and big ways. We have just one life to live, so it seems only reasonable that we should truly see people and to be around people who truly see us.

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, “A Match Made by God” in Hindi, is an Indian film everyone should watch. The film was made by Aditya Chopra, famous for Diwale, Dulhania Le Jayenge and Veer-Zarra. The film concerns a hastily arranged marriage between a quiet computer geek (no offense meant here--geeks are cool) and a fiery, young, college graduate, whose father and fiancé pass away on the same day leaving her extremely vulnerable. In walks Surindar Sahni, the computer geek, who brings his wife home; takes the attic as his quarters; and tries gallantly to be a good husband. Surindar Ji has trouble expressing his feelings (think of a British drama where the course simply cannot run smooth because people cannot say how they really feel—ugh!) Surindar creates an alter-ego, Raj, so he can take dance lessons with his wife and show her he loves her because he sees the light of God in her.

Yes—Surindar might go about things the wrong way; perhaps, he should have just said what he knew to be true, or not gotten carried away with his goofy alter-ego, or not taken on a Sumo-wrestler. However, viewers would not like the film nearly as much if Surindar were not who he was—faults and all. The film points out, in typical Shakespeare Jester fashion, through comedy concerning hard subjects, that when we love, we should love well and that the goal of our love should not be to receive love back, but to give love should be the primary end: to see and be seen. Don’t get me wrong, I do not believe love is a one-way street. However, if both people in a relationship loved because the other individual was valuable and the light of God in them was irresistible, they could get ever so much closer. I love this film because of the of the message of unselfish love it suggests, loudly, in Hindi, and with musical numbers.:)

In Runaway Bride, the character of Maggie finally, after five near misses, finds a guy that will actually run after her, and his ability to see her helps her to see herself. Being seen enables Maggie to fulfill her dream of selling modern light fixtures that she creates. Being valued gives Maggie the courage to try again where she has only experienced failure. Similarly, in Lake House, Kate courageously discovers who she is through her time-travel correspondence. By knowing who she is, Kate saves not only the obvious life of Keanu Reeves’ character, Alex, but she also saves herself from a bad relationship .


The Desolation of Smaug may seem an odd film to add to this list, but who doesn’t like a dagger wielding, bow-shooting She-Elf who does indeed step through galaxies and who happens to meet an fellow who can see her and empowers her to see herself more clearly? In Leap Year, Anna Brady, the main character in the film, is asked what she values, which gives her much-needed, thought-provoking pause. Then, in turn, Anna asks her fiancé the same question. When she discovers her fiancé values electronic devices, as opposed to her, she heads back to Ireland to a fellow who does value her.

In The Italian Key, Cabella discovers who she was, is , and will become with the assistance of supportive and kind women who bring her into their sisterhood and give her a sense of community she has never known. By knowing who she truly is, Cabella can become all she was meant to be and step into her truest self. For a full synopsis of this amazing film, please see my post, "6.10.2016 A Film in Review: The Italian Key." For a briefer discussion on The Italian Key, please see my post from 6.6.2016, "Caution, Hurdles, and Calculated Risks: The Italian Key, an Ensuing Wardrobe Overhaul, and Discoveries."

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, Runaway Bride, Lake House, The Desolation of Smaug, Leap Year, and The Italian Key all have a common theme and that is to shed light on the main characters and to lead them to value themselves and to then choose to be around people who value them well. These films show that we should stay or go where we are celebrated, not tolerated. Seeing and being seen are truly two of the best and brightest gifts that are given on to us on our earthly journeys

The beautiful watercolor painting for this post was provided by B.H.C. B.H.C. is the photo editor and art director for this website.

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