The Power of Films and Movies Post-Loss

September 4, 2017

I totally agree with Jason Silva’s wise words ‘I always loved watching movies because I loved what certain moments inside of films did to me.’

Film; it has the power to cross generations, cross language boundaries, and provoke us to deal with issues in our culture and personal belief systems. After experiencing the emotionally traumatic passing of my 20 year old son Jacob, watching certain movies that I’ve already seen before tugs even harder at the heart strings. Emotions and feelings lay just beneath the surface just waiting for that emotional trigger to erupt the tears.

Watching movies has the ability to take you away from your current life and existence and offers you an opportunity to switch off and zone out. It can give us a distraction of the mind by watching something that doesn’t require any physical concentration. 

There are four movies in particular that speak to me more now than ever before because of what has happened in my life.

I have always loved these movies but they now take on a whole different meaning within the story lines, words spoken and the final scenes.

In the movie ‘The Wizard of Oz’ the Tin man meets the Wizard to ask him for a heart. The wise Wizard tells the Tin man ‘you don’t know how lucky you are to not have a heart – hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable.’

The tagline that got the audience intrigued about what the movie ‘Frequency’ was all about states – ‘What if you had the chance to travel back in time and change one event in your life?’ ‘What would it be?’ Another movie that deals with time travel and changing the past is ‘about Time’ – ‘What if every moment in life came with a second chance?’

‘P. S. I love you’ is about a young widow who discovers that her late husband has left her 10 messages intended to ease her pain and start a new life. There are many phrases from that movie that sting my face with salty tears ~

‘We haven’t lost everything, if we haven’t lost our hope.’

‘She felt relieved to have known him, to love him and to be loved by him, and the relief that the last thing he saw was her face smiling down on him, encouraging him and assuring him it was OK to let go.’

Just from these movies alone I now wish I had an unbreakable heart and I could travel in time to when cancer is only a zodiac sign, so I wouldn’t have to see Jacob suffer and succumb to a horrible disease. 

Our family has a love of movies with ‘horror’ being our favourite genre. There are so many memories of us all together watching a scary movie with fingers covering our faces as we’d anticipate a frightening scene and end up all asleep with the movie replaying the menu screen.

Jacob had inherited his dad’s love of movies that inspired his career choice of becoming a cinematographer.  You can find his creativity in action on his YouTube channels CobbyFilms and JDScreens. He would have had his name in lights had he had more time on earth. I never know what I feel like watching when I have time to myself, but as I do chose one to watch I can’t help but think ‘what would Jacob like about this movie.’

One of the photographs that accompanies this story about the power of films and the hidden messages within them shows Jacob and Cate Blanchette. Jacob was given a dream from a wonderful Australian charity called ‘Dream2Live4,’ an organisation that grants dreams to adults living with metastatic cancer. He worked on set for 2 days for the movie ‘Truth’ starring Cate, Robert Redford, Dennis Quaid and Topher Grace while they filmed in Sydney. This photo of the two of them can be seen in the movie on Mary Mapes notice board in several scenes. We have the movie on DVD now and pause it when we see it and proudly say ‘found you’ every time. 

I will leave you with another quote from the movie ‘about Time’ ~ ‘No one can ever prepare you for what happens when you have a child. When you see the baby in your arms and you know that it’s your job now. No one can prepare you for the love and the fear. No one can prepare you for the love, people you love, can feel for them.’ As I listen to the soundtrack from ‘about Time’ one of my favourite song plays from my iPod shuffle ~ ‘How long will I love you’ by Ben Coleman, Jon Boden and Sam Sweeney. How long will I love Jacob? Forever, till we meet again. 



  • Debbie Wieck

    I first started writing 5 months after my 20-year-old son Jacob passed away to express my feelings of loss and grief. I have shared my feelings, emotions and memories to help keep his spirit alive in as many ways possible and with the hope that my words may help other families who have lost loved ones.

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