From womb to tomb, we are bound to others, past, and present and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future. – Cloud Atlas
My wife and I just saw the new Tom Hanks/Halle Berry epic “Cloud Atlas” tonight and we both were extremely impressed.
There was a whole section of narration in which karma was discussed, at which point my ears really perked up because I did not really have a firm grasp on what the film was about going into it. I only knew it had to do with transmigration, the transfer of souls from one life to another, i.e. reincarnation. Turns out the story follows several characters from life to life, or from “womb to tomb” as the repeated line goes.
To keep it short, I will say this. I have long lived by the credo “Everything happens for a reason” not “Everything that happens was meant to be.” Big difference. And “Cloud Atlas” really reinforces the idea that everything does happen for a reason but nothing is set in stone. Nothing is planned out. Circumstances, and outcomes (fate?) change as you go along based on your own actions. I find that to be a very redemptive thought to live by.
Speaking of which, this movie demonstrated to me how one can live life after life making the same mistakes over and over but with one good move, one redemptive action, shall we say, one can dig himself out of a big hole. Or at least begin to. And beginning that process, taking that step, is a very powerful force. The story shows tremendous turn-around in the hearts of some of the characters.
By the way, the movie is closing in on 3 hours, but it doesn’t feel like it at all. I usually grow weary as the clock ticks during movies but I found myself evermore engrossed as the plot thickened. But if a 3-hour film is not for you, it was a book first. Also I want to point out that as a handful of actors play several different characters, this lead to a few seemingly lazy bits of editing/makeup work. Such as a female nurse who is clearly a male actor and a white woman who is clearly played by an Asian actress. This, I feel the need to point out, had to have been done intentionally as a reminder of the imprint that is left behind from life-to-life of who we used to be.