*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.
*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Manifest. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.
There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.
When tragedy strikes, we have two choices. We can either let it hold us back or find a way to move on. On Manifest, Grace Stone (Athena Karkanis) went through what no one should go through: the early loss of family. After returning home from vacation, Grace was told that her husband Ben (Josh Dallas), son Cal (Jack Messina), and sister-in-law Michaela (Melissa Roxburgh) were on a plane that went messing.
For five and a half years, Grace raised her daughter Olive (Luna Blaise) as a single mother. Doing the best she could to move on, she started seeing Danny (Daniel Sunjata). Then she heard the news that the plane had landed, everyone aboard was safe and alive. But the happy news of the reunification only complicated things.
Torn between the new life she had been building and the life she had before the flight, Grace has to make a choice. That choice leads her back to Ben, a new baby, and another chance for happiness.
To sum it up: No one goes through life without experiencing a few potholes The question is how we react to those potholes. After grieving, she responds with strength and grit, allowing her and the audience to find some sort of inner peace.
No one has a crystal ball when it comes to the future. We can only live in the moment.
This coming weekend is Yom Kippur, the most important day on the Jewish calendar. One of the prayers we chant is called Unetanneh Tokef. The purpose of the prayer is to ask our heavenly parent for one more year of life on Earth. The text is as follows:
“All mankind will pass before You like a flock of sheep. Like a shepherd pasturing his flock, making sheep pass under his staff, so shall You cause to pass, count, calculate, and consider the soul of all the living; and You shall apportion the destinies of all Your creatures and inscribe their verdict.
On Rosh Hashanah will be inscribed and on Yom Kippur will be sealed – how many will pass from the earth and how many will be created; who will live and who will die; who will die after a long life and who before his time; who by water and who by fire, who by sword and who by beast, who by famine and who by thirst, who by upheaval  and who by plague, who by strangling and who by stoning. Who will rest and who will wander, who will live in harmony and who will be harried, who will enjoy tranquility and who will suffer, who will be impoverished and who will be enriched, who will be degraded and who will be exalted. But Repentance, Prayer, and Charity annul the severity of the Decree.”
Looking back at the year that is 2020 so far, this prayer feels like a message we need to hear. Before Covid-19 hit, life seemed so sure. But between the virus, the racial inequities, and everything that has happened this year, I’m not so sure anymore.
No one knows exactly when their time will be up or how they will go. We can only ask for as much time on Earth as possible.
For those who are fasting, have an easy fast and may we all be written in the book of life for another year.
From the time we are very young, we are told that we must always tell the truth. But the truth is sometimes hard to hear.
Back in 2009, The Invention of Lying hit theaters. The movie told the story of Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais), a writer whose is about to lose his job. Living in a world in which lies don’t exist, everything changes when tells his first fib. Soon he has everything he has ever wanted, except for the love of his longtime crush, Anna McDoogles (Jennifer Garner).
If I was being generous, I would give this movie an A for effort. It genuinely tries to entertain the audience. But the reality is that it is bad. The problem is that it relies too heavily on the clichés of the romantic comedy genre. It’s one thing to use the clichés of any genre. But it is another thing to use them as a crutch and not as a narrative skeleton to build up the story and characters.