“Above the Shadows,” 2019, staring Olivia Thirlby, Alan Ritchson, was an interesting movie billed as, “supernatural romance.” I suppose it was, but what I found intriguing about it was the storyline. A 12 yr old girl, the middle child, often ignored by her family, slowly begins disappearing, until one day she becomes completely invisible. Like, nobody can see her at all. She has ceased to exist.
Now that is a state of being I can totally relate to! Unlike Olivia however, I can’t quite seem to figure out how too grow up and make being invisible profitable. She simply becomes a spy, works for the tabloids catching famous people in whatever scandal they happen to be involved in. Since nobody can see her anyway, it’s relatively easy to just walk in and start taking pictures with her phone.
Needless to say she destroys a few lives, but honestly, she is only exposing the truth about them. There’s some interesting themes in the movie about personal responsibility, what’s yours and what’s someone else’s? She shouldn’t be exploiting and exposing these people. On the other hand, nobody made them lie, cheat, and steal. Anyway, one of those lives she destroyed is a boxer’s and he turns out to be the only one in the world who can actually see her. They meet and she realizes she wants to try to undo some of this damage she’s done to him with her photos.
Olivia’s character is a wee bit resentful about having been rendered invisible, so she’s not exactly warm towards other people. She spends her life seeing the negative in people and she usually finds it, too. She can’t see people as they really are, she’s too consumed by grief over her mother’s death and too self absorbed by her own suffering to take the time to look or to listen to other people. As she begins to have her epiphany, she starts to see the depth in people, she begins to empathize with them more, and the more she begins to see them, the more she starts “undisappearing,” she starts becoming more visible herself.
The truth is, what we dislike in others is usually what we dislike in ourselves. A bit like Olivia’s character does, we tend to project ourselves onto the world around us, much like a narcissist’s hall of mirrors. We tend to create our own reality to some extent. Olivia is definitely invisible, but it began when other people became invisible to her. Bit of Biblical truth there, but as you judge, so shall you be judged. As you measure… That’s not a harsh saying or a condemnation, it’s simply a spiritual truth.
It was actually a pretty entertaining movie, with some good boxing scenes and a bit of romance, which helped to provide some good cover for what can only be described as something akin to totally disjointed metaphors. It kind of struck me as a movie that was made up of spare parts, almost like different films spliced together without much transition. One moment we’re in the seedy world of underground boxing, the next moment we’re star gazing in a rooftop romance, and a moment later we’re contemplating these profound truths about ourselves. But overall, an interesting movie that raised some good questions and was mildly entertaining.
I can totally relate to the theme of being invisible. Many times I have placed myself in this kind of self inflicted exhile, wearing this cloak of invisibility as a form of self defense, as self protection. Withdraw, isolate, and just blend in with the shadows.
It’s funny sometimes how we don’t really know people, how we see them as they present themselves and not as they really are. Anyway, this is true of me, and it’s a testimony too, as to the goodness of the Lord and His ability to heal us. I’m a bit of paradox, still unconsciously ducking whenever I see cameras and still dreaming of jobs as a lighthouse keeper in the middle of nowhere, just an extreme introvert, and yet in the Lord’s hands that’s not who I am at all. He gives a strength and a boldness to us so we can do what is often counter intuitive, against our nature, against the scars left on us by the world.
Letting the Lord lead you, now that really is the ultimate “supernatural romance.”