Author Topic: New Yorker review: Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot  (Read 62 times)

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Offline agate

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New Yorker review: Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot
« on: August 14, 2018, 08:46:53 pm »
I haven't seen this Gus Van Sant movie, and John Callahan, the person who is the subject of the movie, did not have MS, but some of his experiences and insights as a wheelchair user seem to have spoken to many with MS. Anthony Lane reviews "Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot" in the New Yorker (July 23, 2018)--and explains the title for those unfamiliar with Callahan's cartoon with that caption (see below):


https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/07/23/gus-van-sants-semi-surreal-dont-worry-he-wont-get-far-on-foot


MS Speaks--online for 12 years

SPMS, diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2001-2004. Copaxone 2007-2010.

Offline agate

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I've seen the movie, and had a mixed reaction to it. Although the movie doesn't cover Callahan's death, I learned from Wikipedia that he died of infected bed sores--a fact that makes his story all the more poignant.  That this is still happening, in an age of miracle drugs and supposedly up-to-the-minute medical knowledge, is tragic and shows how little understanding there is of paralysis and its dangers, even now.

In the movie the focus is on Callahan's alcoholism, and we are shown several AA meetings.

I donít know what to make of this movie, partly because I donít know enough about the real person.

The movie may be giving a somewhat skewed representation of typical AA meetings. This particular group is led by a (self-appointed) guru of sorts, whose condescension I found grating but apparently he is well tolerated by everyone in the group.  My impression of typical AA dynamics is that a memberís sponsor might be something like a guru, at least at first, but soon enough it becomes clear that even oneís sponsorĖwho is advanced enough along the AA path to be doing the all-important 12th-step work of helping other alcoholics to recoverĖis a fallible human being.  Also, oneís own sponsor isnít a leader of the group to the extent that Donnie is in this movie. No one person is in charge because everyone is equally important in AA. There are no elected officers, no group leaders. Thatís not what AA looks like here in Donít WorryÖ. There may be those opinions and experience are more respected than others, but that is about as far as most AA groups go towards having any hierarchical structure, I believe.

That the Swedish physical therapist who happens into Callahan's life might be a figment of his imagination, as the New Yorker review suggests,  makes the story more understandable though in the movie itself it isn't clear that she is imaginary.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2018, 07:02:30 am by agate »
MS Speaks--online for 12 years

SPMS, diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2001-2004. Copaxone 2007-2010.

 

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