Movie Review: 2:37 (2006)
I’ve been trying to get my hands on this movie for a while. When it was first released in cinemas, I heard a radio interview with the director, Murali Thalluri. The themes of the movie, as well as the confrontational nature of the content intrigued me. Thalluri talked about how the movie dealt with important issues for teenagers, yet ironically the movie was given an R rating, therefore guaranteeing that teenagers would be unable to legally see it, let alone watch it in a class room setting. Last week I finally managed to get my hands on a copy.
The story of 2:37revolves around six highschool students. Marcus, trying desperately to over achieve and please his father. His sister, Melody, who fears she may be pregnant. Steven, who struggles to get through the day with his embarrassing medical condition. Sean, the outsider, who struggles with the reactions he gets after coming out as homosexual. Luke, the soccer player, searching for an identity. And his girlfriend, Sarah, who will do what ever it takes to keep the love of her man. We spend one day at school with these characters. At 2:37pm, someone will die.
As I was watching this movie, I felt that it was all a bit of a cliche. Like an episode of Degrassi High with an R rating (not that Degrassi hasn’t come close… “Schools Out”, anyone?). Each character seemed to be following a predictable, self destructive path. Every time I doubted my initial guess of what was going on in the character’s life, I was proved right the first time. I was feeling like I was on a train trip to a destination I already knew with scenery I’ve already seen. But then came the ending. I didn’t see that coming. It came out of nowhere. But it was there all along. I love those endings. The kind of ending that recolours the entire movie in retrospect. If I’d stopped watching the movie 20 minutes before the end, it would have been a very ordinary movie. The ending made it a worthwhile watching experience.
This movie is about suicide. What drives a young person to take their own life? What steps could have been taken to prevent this happening? Teenagers are always told to seek help when they are facing signs of depression. However, for most teenagers, the only people they know and trust are their peers. And their peers have so much of their own garbage to deal with that help isn’t always available. This movie affirmed for me the need of adult mentors for teens. As a youth ministry leader, I am in the position to listen to these young people. To hear what they have to say and help them through these issues. It’s another argument why we need more mature adults in youth ministry and not leave the job to 19 year olds. Young people need leaders who’ve grown enough to have their act together.
How would I use this movie? I wouldn’t be showing it at youth group. But I would show it to my leaders, to help them gain an understanding of what’s going on in the mind of young people. So that they can see the signs of a young person that needs help. That needs attention. That needs to know that someone cares for them. Because that’s what each of these characters need. They need someone they can count on that will love them unconditionally. Ultimately, though this isn’t the point for the film maker, is that they need to know Jesus.