I watched an inspirational little film the other day that I’d never heard of before seeing a preview for it on another film. Shadows in the Sun is about two men who appear to have nothing in common other than a connection to the world of writing. Eventually we come to understand that they share a common trait: fear.
Jeremy Taylor (Joshua Jackson) wants to be a writer. He’s a young book editor from London who is sent by his boss to Tuscany to track down a reclusive author–who hasn’t published anything since his wife died two decades earlier–and get him to sign a contract to publish a new book. Weldon Parrish (Harvey Keitel) is the cantankerous, womanizing, slightly insane author who claims to love his idyllic life, is finished with writing, and refuses to deal with anyone connected with his former life; certainly not a junior editor from England.
Jeremy becomes infatuated with Weldon’s daughter Isabella (Claire Forlani) who helps him make contact with her father. After a few entertaining incidents involving fist fights, a stolen cow, and plenty of alcohol, Parrish begins to soften toward Jeremy. The romance between Isabella and Jeremy grows.
It would be easy to pass this off as a feel-good movie with a feel-good ending and let it go at that. And for most folks that may be just fine. For anyone who is creative, who longs to write or paint or sculpt or create music, there’s more going on here beneath what appears to be a predictable storyline.
Remember that common trait of fear that Jeremy and Weldon have in common? Jeremy is an editor because he’s afraid to write. He’s afraid he’ll fail. Weldon won’t write because he’s afraid he will no longer live up to his own reputation as a literary giant. They’re the same person at different points in life. And lest we dismiss Isabella as simply the love interest, she too represents something more. Isabella is the one character in the movie that is living the life of her dreams without fear. When Jeremy asks her to return to London with him to pursue their mutual attraction she declines. Her chosen life is in Tuscany and she won’t compromise.
Fear of failure–or fear of not attaining one’s dreams–often debilitates people; cripples us into settling for less than our full, rich dreams. Shadows in the Sun is a movie I recommend for the dreamer in you. Written and directed by Brad Mirman, it’s available through Netflix (which we now patronize since our local video store closed in January).