Help Barbara understand All Is Lost
Please note: This blog contains spoilers. If that doesn’t bother you, read on.
I’m talking, of course, about the new Robert Redford movie, All Is Lost. Which I loved. But then, I’ve always loved Redford. I loved him with Jane Fonda in Barefoot In The Park and loved him with Barbra Streisand in The Way We Were. I loved him with Newman in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, loved The Sting, loved All the President’s Men. I could go on, but you get my drift.
Now All Is Lost. Redford isn’t with anyone here. Literally. There is no other actor in this movie. It’s just Redford, all alone on a sailboat in the middle of the Indian Ocean in increasingly dire straits.
He. Is. Amazing. And I don’t say that because I admire the guy. I say it because he tells a story of fortitude, regret, fear, relief, pain, and resignation without uttering a word. Seriously. Not a single word. It’s all about facial expression and body language.
Part of what makes this amazing is that the guy is 77. He looks and acts it in this movie, but is so subtle and articulate and real here that I was in awe. Some movies I’ve seen lately pour in on a little heavily about the age thing. Not Redford in this one. You see a man who is what he is as he fights to survive, calling on every bit of his knowledge of boats and the sea, even struggling to learn about celestial navigation and a sextant.
Now for the ending. Having read rave reviews that said nothing about this, I was unprepared. Oh, as I watched the movie, I wondered whether our man would survive. Then the ending came, the white light appeared, and the credits rolled. My husband said, “So amazing. He lives!” And I said, “Oh no. He dies!”
We went back and forth at dinner afterward, even searching blogs on my cell phone, which was when I learned for the first time of the controversy surrounding the ambiguity of this ending. My husband even woke up this morning with another argument for his side, which of course I rebutted.
I believe with all my heart that Redford deserves an Oscar for his masterful performance in All Is Lost. I don’t want to hear argument about that.
But the ending? If you’ve seen the movie, what do you think? Did our man live or die?