Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on...children than the unlived life of the parent. Carl Jung
On her deathbed, Ann Grant (played by Vanessa Redgrave as seen in the photo to the left), flashes back to her early twenties (younger self - Claire Danes), a time during which Ann believed she could get the guy and achieve her goal. However, as the film progresses, we learn that Ann's life, in Jung's words, was unlived. She not only didn't get the guy, she twice married badly, and her singing career never amounted to much.
Constance (Redgrave's real-life daughter Natasha Richardson, also in the photo above) tries to live her mother's unfulfilled dream of having a happy marriage. Ostensibly she has, though her demeanor suggests otherwise, and she's completely neglected the following of her bliss. Meanwhile, younger sister Nina (Toni Collette) has tried to follow her bliss (well, her mother's bliss). But, four failed careers later, including a stint as a go-go dancer, bliss remains elusive, as do meaningful relationships.
When Ann, the mother, left her life unlived, her daughters unwittingly tried to live it for her, and became the keeper of their mother's dreams, rather than of their own.
I don't think it had to be that way.
When Ann is asked to single out a moment when she was truly happy, she vividly recalls a rehearsal for a singing gig some 30 years ago. As Ann sang, 5 year-old Constance sat on the lap of Ann's accompanist.
Why was she so happy? Because, in that moment, she was attending to her relationships AND to her dream.
Attending to both is certainly harder than attending to one or the other.
But if in doing so, we keep our dreams so that our children can keep theirs, isn't it worth it?
Have you seen Evening? What was your take?
Any idea what the unlived life of your parents is/was? Does it in any way explain your own dream?
Are you attending to your dream? If not, what can you do to start? If you are, Atta Girl!
P.S. Yesterday, I read an interesting analysis of the female characters in the book Birdwing and the film Ratatouille. Take a peek.