Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Shallow Hal

Gwynneth Paltrov in Ask Men

The movie Shallow Hal (2001) is surprisingly deep.

Gwyneth Paltrov as Rosemary Shanahan is like the warm beating heart of this cinematic allegory about our ability to see the truth in each others and in the world we live in. Her enchanting performance creates a quiet, pleasant and quite touching female presence so full of intelligence, understanding, human sensitivity, honesty and genuine humility.  While she is stunningly beautiful she still succeeds to act convincingly the role of an ugly duckling already so beyond obesity that even the strongest steel legged chair breaks under her enormous weight.
Rosemary and Rosemary, depends who is looking

The truth this movie so nicely studies is that everpresent male quest after femaly beauty. Evolutionary theorists find so difficult to explain why woman is beautiful. What practical good it is for humanity in the harsh game of survival that women are so prettty? (and so concerned about it,.too)

  Jack Black
Beauty really is in the eyes of the beholder Jack Black as "Shallow" Hal Larson learns when he is touched in a special way in a stuck elevator. He plays well the normal everyday guy in all of us men and makes us smile at ourselves on the way.

Jason Alexander as Mauricio Wilson succeeds in creating that other reality in us without the magic touch, without vision of inner beauty and life deep embedded in fear that the truth about oneself, that wagging tail we all have and that toupee, will be found out by some lady with devastating consequences to our self-esteem..

Joe Viterelli in Analyze That

Joseph "Joe" Viterelli (March 10, 1937 – January 28, 2004) as Rosemary's father Steve Shanahan creates in this movie a quite believable human being hoping for the best and shattered, once again, by the truth about us - the men in this world.

We humans have our view of the world and concept of the truth which is on one hand highly personal and on another hand communal, part of our being social animals. The play takes place on a board where we are deeply influenced by what others think of us and what we think of them, how we see human beings, and this is so nicely examined in Shallow Hal.

However, this "seeing" is not limited to human relations and our faith has its own eyes, we see what we see and are blind to what we are blind to.

For one person the enormous galactic nebulas and star cradles are amazingly beautiful and magnificent works of God, while someone else can only here the tinkling sounc of cosmic rays and cannot grasp what others see in that fat lady.

This is not brain versus emotions, reality versus wishful thinking.

Gwynneth is beautiful and what Hal sees is the truth.

We are all convinced of this and her obesity - while such a show stopper in the beginning - turns out to be just a feature in the totality, the physical dwelling of her spirit.

This is a deep subject - cognition, perception....

The romantic comedy Shallow Hal is surprisingly deep.

Faith has its own eyes," wrote St. Augustine


  1. I really love that movie!, and of course, I agree with you

  2. I really like this movie. I have seen this movie for several times but then every time I watch, it teaches me something new and good.

  3. I agree that Shallow Hal succeeds in delivering a very positive message about the way we see each other. It does it in a serious, respective and good way that is quite rare in the wide world of movies.

  4. I really agree with your words the whole movie talks about the inner beauty of a person. which usually varies in perception from one person to another but then time teaches all.