At times I’m in a mood to watch something new or different. Often during these times of indecisiveness, I look to Netflix to suggest a movie to me. This past week was one of those times. The selection: Shuffle.
Review by Tres
TJ Thyne plays Lovell Milo in this 2011 drama that I have never heard of. TJ Thyne is not usually a main character type actor. He is best known as Dr. Jack Hodgins on Bones. Ironically he played the same character as a guest on one of my favorite, but short lived, series: The Finder. (The show ended after the unexpected death of Michael Clarke Duncan.) Even more obscure… He was Kevin in another favorite, but short lived series: The Tick. (It was short lived because of what some people refer to as lameness.)
His main counter-part was Grace played by Paula Rhodes.
Shuffle was a movie released direct to DVD with fairly unknown actors and actresses and advertised as an indie film… Therefore, I wasn’t holding my breath for much to come out of it; totally judging the book by the cover.
To be honest, I was pulled in from the very beginning. Milo begins speaking to the camera, which later is revealed to be a psychiatrist. He is trying to explain to her that he is trapped in a time warp type thing where he wakes up at a different age every day. He knows who he is. He knows what his job is. He knows who the people around him are. He doesn’t know why he has woken up on this particular day or what is special about that particular day.
During this first scene the psychiatrists asks him the first thing he remembers, his reply, “Waking up and I’m 92.” He looks at a family picture and then goes back to bed. He can’t explain how he knows he’s 92, he just does. He can’t explain how he knows the picture is of his family, he just does. He goes to sleep to wake up at a different age once again.
You see Lovell’s character as a young boy and all ages through to the age of 92. The obscure thing is that the events and scenes don’t go in order. When I first read the review and started watching this I thought it was going to be yet another Butterfly Affect, a time warp concept, or a time travel idea, but it reveals itself as something different and much more in depth.
Now, I’m the type of person that tries to figure a movie out in the first few minutes. Who is he or she going to end up with in the end, who is the bad guy in the end, what will the final action be, etc. I couldn’t do that with this movie. In all actuality, I couldn’t predict it at all. It wasn’t until the movie revealed its purpose that I thought, “Ok, then. I didn’t see that coming.”
I don’t want to give a lot away because I am truly hoping everyone will take the time to see this. It’s an instant watch on Netflix and is so worth the time.
Issues that are dealt with in Shuffle:
Best friends falling in love
Learning from life
Making things right
One of the most touching parts for me is when you find out that Grace and Lovell can’t conceive a child. Grace just wants him to go find another woman so he can have a child and he tells her it’s never going to happen. If you know anyone that deals with or has dealt with infertility, you are aware just how traumatizing it is to a couple. In fact this has been a heavy heart issue for women from earliest of times. There are 11 instances mentioned in the Bible from where Gen 11:30 tells us that Sarah was barren through to Luke 1 where we are told that Elizabeth was barren. In each case, the sadness and depression of the woman in strongly felt, and because of God’s love and compassion, in many of these situations, but not all, the woman is eventually blessed with a child.
Another issue that hits a lot of homes is the father-son turmoil. I can’t tell you how many times I have students that come through without a dad in their life, or with dads that don’t have much to do with them. As a father of four I can tell you I do everything I can to be involved with my children. Am I a perfect dad? Far from it my friends. I am constantly trying to be better though. The scriptures tell a man how to be a father. In Deut 6:5-7 we see where God instructs the men to know God’s Word and then to instruct their children in the ways of God. Prov 22:6 tells fathers to train their children in Godly ways at a young age so that when they are older, they will turn to God on their own. Eph 6:4 repeats the idea that fathers are to instruct and set the example in following God for their children. When men don’t live up to their obligations with their children they are often unaware at the line of consequences that follow. For Lovell, his father’s poor example drives his son to want to be everything opposite of his father. It also allows a wedge to be driven between them where they simply stop communicating and seeing one another. This can lead also into the discussion between fathers and dads: a step-father can play these roles, as well. After all, Jesus had a Godly step-father that taught him love and loyalty to God.
The main topic threaded throughout this movie if forgiveness: forgiveness of self and of others. I look at love as being the blood of the Bible, carrying the essentials of life throughout the body. I look at forgiveness as the backbone of the Bible; what holds everything together. 1John 1:9 tells us the importance of asking for forgiveness. If we don’t ask for it, we can’t obtain it. One of the toughest things for man to do is to forgive himself; but God instructs and allows for this. Phil 3:13 tells us to forget those things, meaning forgive ourselves, and then work toward things to come. The second hardest thing for man is to forgive those that wrong us, but in Eph 4:32 we are instructed to do just that. In Luke 17, Jesus himself instructs us to forgive those who ask for it. Easy to do? No. But required. Lovell has a hard time forgiving himself for his choices regarding children, but also in forgiving his father for a mistake that he made. It’s an internal struggle that Lovell portrays very well on the screen and your hearts breaks for him as that struggle comes across.
Something that I have seen some mentioned that was a dislike about the film is that black and white filming is used at times. I didn’t mind this at all. I liked the contrast that this brought about. I found it to be a good artistic choice.
Now, I’m not a huge indie film fan. Honestly, when I saw it was an indie film I almost convinced myself to not “waste my time with it.”
However, I really enjoyed this movie. It was touching, emotional, and kept you on edge.
As things begin to reveal themselves, your mind starts to do flashbacks and put pieces together and you get a realization that is not expected in the end. Just pay attention Dummy1.
I give this a 4 star.
I’ve looked the last 2 times for it at my local store so that I can add it to my collection. I think it’s an overlooked movie where a cinematic release would have done it much more justice and brought about more fans than the handful that seem to even know it exists.
1I’m not calling you a Dummy. Watch the movie and you’ll understand.