That's the trigger in Leland's psyche to kill his ex-girlfriend's mentally challenged little brother.
The United States of Leland follows the consequences of such "horrifying, despicable act", there's no doubt murder is as terrible as portrayed in this film, in a even bigger perspective when it comes to the murder of a helpless, defenseless kid, but what is truly the background of the cause/effect is our human condition leading us to behave "inhumanly".
Ryan Gosling's character, I believe, was more in touch with his sensitivity than what most people is, even if he didn't show it the way people "wanted him to", what do we, common people – so to speak- think or how do we react when we face a situation we are not used to? In this particular matter, how do we respond in the presence of a mentally challenged person? Do we feel sorry for them? How different do we treat them from the rest? How do we manage ourselves in their presence? How do we talk to them? How "nice" in a scale from 1 to 10 are we? (and how "nice" we usually truly are?) Do we make fun of them? Do we sympathize? ……
What about helping them? Treating them in a way they feel "normal" (and I mean normal on the basis of social grounds)? Do we talk and act like we usually do in our so called "normal lives" when people we believe "unfit" or "special" are around?
And let us not be confused and narrow it to "mentally challenged" people, what about people dealing with a great sense of loss: widows, orphans, parents who have loss their child, or chronic depressive people, friends who are going through a rough time in their lives, it is about US the entire WORLD, we are beyond fallible, we are all beyond issues, we all are beyond fucked up, some of us reckon that, most of us don't, but that is not the concern, the concern is, HOW DO WE REACT?
I could sit here for hours and the bottom line is we all do the same, we all have this "sympathetic" response to situation where "everything is going to be alright" seems like the right answer, it is not enough, but we do it, we say it anyway, but how do we truly help? What can change things and make them truly okay?
Nothing can, because if it depended on making amends then, many ex-wifes or ex-husbands would be dead and many best friends to the surviving ex would be in jail, you can't force a person to be "not depressed", you can bring someone's significant other, or child, or parent from the death, and it does not bring them to life to kill whoever is responsible from their departure, either we can't go to heaven and beat God down, we can't beat the hell out of our friend's former boss so they hire them back…
But if we did any of that, will it make us more or less human?
If you care enough to try and make amends by doing "all the wrong" things above mentioned, to bring them some sort of peace or relief, will it make us or turn us into monsters?
If you pull the plug on someone we love and hate to see in pain, who begged us in the past or a present time –with little gasp of life- to fasten the un-dignifying process of their death, would we? Would I as a lawyer knowing at least in my "legal knowledge of what is right and wrong" practice euthanasia on someone I absolutely love and adore? I don't know if that would be right or wrong morally, I wouldn't know for sure…not at all I have to confess, but I do know that would aggravate to situation -being "aware" of its illegality- but inhuman? I don't know if it would truly make me a monster –but it would sure cost me sentence for murder, perhaps attenuated-
That said, I don't know where we stand, I don't know what beyond any reasonable doubt is worse, to keep in this cold, horrifying world a precious piece of you who would be without any chance to survive without me, without constant care and guardianship and I am probably wrong and I know why, I know the answer to that: we are constantly in companion, there is constantly through our entire world being guarded and guarding someone else, we don't see it on a "in your face" situation, but they are there: parents, friends, teachers, family, schoolmates, college mates, colleagues, workmates, boyfriends, girlfriends, policemen, fire fighters, the operator when you press 0, secretaries, the Human Resources departments, grocery store, maps, clerks, salesman, nurses, doctors…and it goes on and on, truth is we are never truly alone, at least not metaphysically speaking, yet what do we do about the sadness? Who is there to "fix" it? We all are sad in a way or another, but how do we change that? Medicine? What kind of pills will only affect that part of your brain that produces the substance that affect your emotions, without affecting something else in a negative way?
Just like medicine, our actions have secondary effects, cause/effect AGAIN. No deed, whether is good or bad, goes without consequences.
The thing about civilization is that all societies in order to prevent our human-ish ways conflict with our behavior, create parameters or/and rules which are shaped to enforce what we, as humans in our fallible condition, are unable to or get confused in how to respond because our feelings, emotions and VERY DIFFERENT concepts of morals can not decide since they "get in the way", because of what we know or don't know, it can not be left to our discretion to decide.
I can't say what is the right thing to do, I can only say what is legal and what is not, I can come close to what is less harmful or more correct, but not "the right thing" because the right thing would be to kill the bastard who killed your son, but it would also be right to let the law decide what is right, and if it fails, then it is right to let God decide on judgment day, and if not it is also right to pay someone and kill the son of a bitch, and that is way none of us can truly know what is right and what is not.
When I was doing my thesis –Abortion Law in the D.R.- I was asked many times by my college mates –now colleagues- what I thought was right and not and the smartest answer I ever came up with the day of my thesis presentation to my jurors (because before that I said "I don't know yet") – once I finished and saw all points of view, from an economic, social, moral and religious, patriarchal, liberal, medical, point of view I could finally understand what my answer was- so when one of my jurors (who in his youth studied to be a priest and who has openly expressed his categorical "against of" position) I said "I can only say what is legal and what is not, according to our legal system" and I keep my position.
I know if a daughter of mine is raped and is with child from that event and she wants or needs to get an abortion I would not oppose.
I know the child is not to blame.
I know it is murderer, no matter how we would like to disguise it.
I know murder is wrong in God's eyes.
I know murder is wrong in society's eyes.
I know a baby, even more, an unborn child, is a helpless little creature that depends on his/her mother to survive, therefore is an even more horrifying crime to do such thing as an abortion.
But I also know the consequences an unwanted child brings.
I know the irreversible damage it can and would cost to those involved –mother & child-
The frustration and psychological damage it would cost a child to KNOW to FEEL and therefore to LIVE a loveless life next to the person who is suppose to love them, adore them and protect them no matter what.
I know no more than what average people know.
I know it is illegal in my country and inexcusable no matter the circumstances, that there are no attenuations either.
I know deep in my heart that even if the abortion occurs under the circumstances described above it would still be murder and therefore wrong in the eyes of God, yet if my baby, my daughter, believes is the LESS HARMFUL thing to do, I would not oppose… monster or not, I would not oppose.
Would I do it if it were me? I doubt it, even in those circumstances yet I can not impose what I believe on others.
What is wrong or right we don't really know beyond what we, personally, in our own conviction believe it is, that is why we can not be the ones deciding arbitrarily.. we can only hope to do what is less harmful or to act on the grounds or causing as less pain as possible to ourselves and others, and to be and do things as good as we can possibly can. I would probably write something to contradict myself, I do not doubt it, but this is me today, this is how I feel right now and I would probably analyze my other perspectives on the matter. Until then I continue to be crazyJ Ahdee.
I would probably write something to contradict myself, I do not doubt it, but this is me today, this is how I feel right now and I would probably analyze my other perspectives on the matter. Until then I continue to be crazyJ
"the horror!!, the horror!"Ps: I recommend the film "The United States of Leland", if a movie makes you wonder, think, analyze, contradict yourself, or just go nuts, then you should watch it.