Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Gone Baby Gone

I know that I'm really throwing a lot of posts out there, but with the new title, I got a little excited and will probably finish too quickly, leaving no posts for the next week or two. Story of my life.

The title of this post is probably a little deceiving. While it IS about the movie, its more about a philosophical debate about a situation that happens at the end. The movie is incredible. I viewed it as the best movie of 2007, beating out both Michael Clayton and No Country for Old Men, both which are also extremely good movies. Casey Affleck and Ed Harris are a great combination on screen and the film is quite powerful. Very surprising since it was directed by Ben Affleck. I guess he's talented after all. Last thing he did that I respected was his role in Dazed and Confused. If you have NOT seen this movie, or don't plan on it, stop reading now, as this is kind of a spoiler. If you have, read on and please comment with your opinion.


At the end of the film, Casey Affleck is conflicted with a decision he must make. Rat on Morgan Freeman, allowing the little girl to return to the mother that does not care about her daughter, or let Freeman keep the child. I have a very strong opinion in the matter, but I understand both sides of the argument. On one hand, the little girl is with an upper class family that will care for her. She'll be better cared for, live in a better household, and be given greater opportunities in her life. On the other hand, with her real mother, she probably will be neglected, be part of a vicious circle. I think it can be agreed upon that the girl will be better cared for and is in better hands with the Freeman family, however, the decision isn't that simple. How can one condone the kidnapping of a child, even if its in the best interest of said child. Birth parents have the god-given right to hold on to their children, and fight for them if necessary should society find it more prudent to take a kid away for negligency. Proper channels must be used, even if the end result is a kid that is removed from the household by social services. Yes, there are chances that the kid can get lost in the system and end up in a worse place than the kidnapping family.

So in conclusion, I would side with Casey Affleck and not with his girlfriend. We discussed this at dinner the other night and I was shocked by the amount of people that sided with the girlfriend. Am I wrong in thinking that even if its better in the end, it can't be an acceptable course of action? You all tell me. Who would you side with?


Nubes said...

But how many manatees?!?

Your Humble Narrator said...

Is kidnapping wrong? Yes. But this world is not black and white. Killing can be justified if it saves a life. Stealing can be justified if it prevents another from going hungry. etc, etc. So where do we draw the line? It's simple: What would a reasonable person do/think/feel in a given situation. In this case I dare say a reasonable person would look at both sides and see the child is better off with Morgan Freeman. It has nothing to do with class, money, or any other material object. Rather the intangible concept of love. It is clear to any reasonable person that she would receive this love far more with one family than the other. This ability to sort through the shades of gray and detect what can't be measured is what makes us uniquely human. Blind faith in the law above all else does not.

The Big Manatee said...

It's not necessarily blind faith in law above all else that I'm championing. It's the general difference between right/wrong. If you use 'reasonable people' as the decider of what is right and wrong, reasonable people is society. I think its fair to say that society doesn't find this action acceptable, or else the police wouldn't have arrested him. If we see this as a situation where its obviously better to keep the child with Morgan Freeman, than we're allowing society to go down a very narrow, scary path that can only lead to much larger issues than we currently have.

Your Humble Narrator said...

I challenge you to make this argument without having to fall back on the slippery slope argument.

Nubes said...

I finally watched this movie last night, and I say I have to agree with Casey. It's all a question of morality, and if you can do what you think is morally right without compromising your own morals. In the movie, Remy, Jack and Lionel were all trying to do what was right for the girl, but they compromised their own morals in doing so. They kidnapped, murdered, lied, deceived. So yeah, what they did was morally right for the girl, but it was a legal disaster and certainly compromised a reasonable person's own morals. It was an extreme example to show the dilemma, but there are much easier and better ways they could have handled the situation. For example, they could have had the mother picked up for drug running, Lionel would have been named a legal guardian, and Jack could have applied for the adoption if he wanted.

So yeah, I didn't like the movie too much, because the plot was kind of ridiculous.

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