September 11, 2001. A day like any other day. We lived in New Westminster, British Columbia. Kevin worked for Telus Mobility. I worked at a local school. We had a top floor apartment and a Sebring convertible. In six weeks we were scheduled to fly to Tunisia.
Yes, a day like any other day. It was meant to be, anyway. We got up for work. Early. 5:30 am. Got breakfast, sat down to watch the news.
And watched a plane fly into a building.
A morning like any other? For us, 9/11 and the unfolding of the horror started becoming a reality while there was still sleep in our eyes.
Why am I bringing all of this up? Hollywood is wagering that we’re ready to see 9/11 on the big screen. The first of the 9/11 movies – United 93 – is scheduled for release soon and trailers have already hit theatres.
And in some cases, the ad has already been pulled from theatres after people protested and some movie-goers cried from the shock.
To quote from an article on this: (One victims daughter) thinks (the criticism is) unfair. "This story has to be told to honor the passengers and crew for what they did," she says. "But more than that, it raises awareness. Our ports aren't secure. Our borders aren't secure. Our airlines still aren't secure, and this is what happens when you're not secure. That's the message I want people to hear."
What I haven’t found any evidence of in all the discussion is people asking if this is a story that HOLLYWOOD should tell. Let’s face it. No matter how meticulous they say they’ve been about asking what people wore on the plane, a lot of what happened isn’t known. This isn’t an entirely “true” story – it’s a fictionalized, sensationalized account of a real event that people are still living with the scars from.
Now, apparently all the family members of the victims on the plane have given the movie their blessing.
But what about all of the families of all of the victims of 9/11?
This is not a story that can be compartmentalized or told in isolation. Multitudes more died in New York than on this particular flight. That in no way diminishes the loss of those people or the tragedy of United 93. However, even with the permission of those families, this is a movie that capitalizes on the grief of all of the other victims’ families as well.
This isn’t the only movie that will be hitting theatres this year that deals with 9/11. Nicholas Cage is in another one coming out in August. But it has been said this one will bear the brunt of the criticism and, in my opinion, rightly so.
You can disagree with me on this, and that’s fine. I’m not trying to disrespect the opinions of people who support this movie. But how many movies that Hollywood puts out emphasize truth more than the hype, are about more than making piles of money and winning awards?
If this movie was really being put out in the interests of telling the true story just because it needed to be told, something more like 50% of the TOTAL profits would be going to the victims of 9/11 instead of 10% of the opening weekend take.
I’ve seen the advert. I can say for me it is too soon. And I feel a bit awkward about expressing an opinion on it, but I have friends in NYC. I stayed very close to the location of the bombings in Bali, and I feel the same about that event. It would tear my heart in two.
We’re still living with this wound. The story and the repercussions are still unfolding. This movie can hide behind the idea of making statements about unsafe airports, but I personally find it interesting when people say things like that if they haven’t been signing petitions and lobbying congress and going on a hunger strike or whatever to prove their point.
How do we make our points now? We make a movie?
The bottom line for me is that I can well imagine what it would have felt like to be in that movie theatre and seen this trailer come on. In a dark theatre with a giant screen in front of you. For God’s sake people, we still have
Giuliani testifying about the horror of watching people die that day.
We still have soldiers overseas, dying.
If you decide to go see this movie, I respect your decision. But please don’t try to convert me on this. One thing Kevin and I were discussing was how, until now, there had been a prohibition of sorts surrounding 9/11.
That all ends with the first movie coming out. Maybe it will be tastefully done, maybe not. But after this one, there will be more movies. And they’ll likely get a little more graphic, go for a little more shock value.
The tragedy is now a commodity.
9/11 is something that, though I experienced it only as a spectator, I think we all feel the shockwaves of. Bali shocked me in the extreme, more because we walked past that place almost every day when we were there.
And if a place I visited for a vacation can have the kind of impact on me, how much more then for New Yorkers does 9/11 impact them?
I just can’t believe we’re ready for this. I am with the other voices, crying out, “Too soon, too soon.”
There are other ways to tell the story. Without the sensationalism. Without the multi-million dollar budget.
Without the studio board rubbing their palms in anticipation raking in the dough at the expense of pouring acid in the gaping wounds of the people even now still putting their lives back together in the face of overwhelming, senseless loss.