Directed by Jill Sprecher, Thirteen Conversations about one thing is an American drama film that focused on five individuals in search of happiness and whose paths intersect in a way that unexpectedly affected their lives. The film is divided into 13 vignettes set in New York and revolves around ambitious district attorney, Troy, who was involved in a hit and run accident with a cleaner, Beatrice, who is forced to reassess her life recuperation. There is also a midlevel insurance manager, Gene, who is unable to cope with his sons drug addiction problems. It also has a college physics professor, Walker, who is trying to deal with midlife romantic struggles with a colleague who is unearthed by his wife, Patricia, when his lost wallet was mailed to his home. This discussion seeks to discuss some of the dominant themes that are prevalent in the movie, Thirteen conversations about one thing.
Happiness is the most prevalent theme in the movie, Thirteen conversations about one thing. It fits in every conversation heard in the film: the search for happiness; the envy of joy; guilt about undeserved happiness and loss of happiness. Happiness is the fulcrum that drives the human personality and the desire to live, inspired rather than lead a disillusioned life.
In considering happiness as a major theme, Troy, the prosecutor in the opening scene is seen loud and happy in a saloon, celebrating his victory. He realizes a rather gloomy and pessimistic, Gen, a mid-level manager who has to fire someone and decides the future of the happiest man in the department, something that openly kills his spirit. Troy, in the hope of seeing everyone happy, decides to buy him a drink then drives while drunk and hits a pedestrian. As an attorney, he is acutely aware of the implications of his action and as a result, his rather jovial evening is consumed with guilt and somber mood.
Based on their interaction, it is evident that the movie is based on happiness as an overriding theme in the movie with caption before the end of second scene reading, "Show me a happy man." Troy is celebrating another successful prosecution, Gene responds by stating a complete aphorism of the caption, "Show me a happy a happy man, and I'll show you a disaster waiting to happen." He relates his assertions to a colleague who had equated to happiness to winning a lottery which took a wrong turn when people close to him chose to kidnap his son so that he pays the ransom (Ebert, 2002). Happiness from a discussion between Troy and gene seem to be divergent and dependent on a person's view of the world and life itself.
Another theme that is revealed in the movies is destiny and human connection. The film finds the link between two strange people who apparently seek solutions to each other's life struggles. In this regard, Walker, a college professor, walks out of his wife, Patricia to marry another woman who finds that Walker is undergoing emotional instability and believe that she can only find happiness in taking his relationship to the next level through marrying Barbara.
As the movie progress on, we find a cleaner ion Clea DuVall, who though good at her job, works for a discerning client who hardly recognizes her effort, she felt injured, distressed and feels that she deserves more respect. From this, we realize that those who are lucky are likely to get more with unlucky getting way less than they bargain for as in the case of Clea (Harrison, 2004). It shows Cleas as a classical case of a system where bad things are happening to good people.
Ebert, R. (June 14, 2002). 13 Conversations About One Thing. rogerebert.com
Harrison, E. (November 12, 2004). Thirteen Conversations About One Thing. Houston Chronicle
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