This past Friday night David and I went to the recently released movie, Unstoppable, starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pine. Going to movies is a passion we share, so we go as often as we are able. Both of us have found movie going to be even more enjoyable since my cancer diagnosis. It is an excellent way to escape for two hours or so and get caught up in someone else’s story. Plus, it’s dark in a movie theater which is nice when your physical attributes are not at their best. One can just blend in with the crowd and the darkness.
The one time our escape effort was a dismal failure, at least for me, was when we went to a movie days before my bilateral last summer. That particular day even Robin Hood could not capture my attention for more than a few minutes at a time!
Unstoppable is a story inspired by true events occurring in 2001 when a train accidentally “got away” due to human error and continued barreling down the tracks unmanned toward Stanton, Pennsylvania. It was pulling a full load of cars including several filled with hazardous materials. It picked up speed as it went along, becoming an unstoppable “missile.” Heroic measures finally prevented an unimaginable tragedy from taking place had it derailed in a highly populated area such as Stanton.
The two unlikely heroes on board and manning a different train, played by Denzel and Chris, started off as rivals but ended up becoming close friends as they decided to take matters into their own hands by coming up with a plan to stop, or at least slow down, the runaway train. I won’t give away any more of the plot.
While the two men were bonding during one of their intense scenes on board their train, Denzel revealed to his companion his wife had passed away four years earlier from cancer. Sitting in the theater hearing that simple emotionally charged statement, made me realize I could not totally escape from cancer even at the movies. I glanced over in David’s direction and immediately knew he was sitting there thinking the exact same thing. It was just a movie, but still the impact of that one line was powerful and its effect on us caught us somewhat by surprise. And why does it always seem to be the wife who passes away?
I sat there thinking a little more and decided this movie also naturally led me to make the comparison between cancer and an unstoppable train. At the time of my diagnosis, I felt as if cancer was taking over my life. Cancer felt like an unstoppable train. Things were spiraling out of control at what seemed like tremendous speed and I felt helpless at times, unable to slow down the momentum of my “train,” much less stop it. Just like in the movie, I was forced to take drastic measures to stop my own personal “train wreck.”
Sometimes life does indeed seem like a “train wreck” or a disaster waiting to happen. Just like in the movie, sometimes we come face to face with challenges requiring decisions we never wanted to make. Sometimes we have to “dig deep” to find strength to just get out of bed and on with the day at hand. Sometimes it feels like the bad days are unstoppable.
That’s when you need a hero or two of your own, even if it’s only you, because YOU are unstoppable, not cancer!
You might think we didn’t enjoy this movie after it conjured up all this other “stuff,” but we did. It wasn’t Oscar material, but it was entertaining. We enjoyed it and I would recommend it.
Have you seen Unstoppable? Have you ever felt like your life was a “train wreck?” Or what is a movie that had a surprising impact on you?