‘Mass’ is the directorial debut by an American actor Fran Kranz. The title refers both to a liturgical Mass and a mass shooting. But neither of them are the main themes of the film.
This film is very theatrical in its form. For almost two hours we just watch two couples talking to each other. Each of the four people has it’s time when they play their solo – they have a monologue that will make us understand them better. Very often they just play with their eyes. There are no famous actors in this film but the ones that we watch are the best ones we could possibly imagine for these roles. Watching this film feels like watching real people talking about their real feelings.
Because that is what this film is really about. It’s not about politics, or mental health, or even gun control. It’s rather about being brave enough to be honest and vulnerable and present. They are holding space for each other and help each other to open a little bit more. They blame each other and they blame themselves. They are hurt and they want to hurt. But they are also compassionate and sensitive. It is not easy in their situation.
They are just two couples of parents but ones are parents of a shooter and the other ones of one of his victims. So their conversation isn’t an easy or a pleasant one. However, they know that they need to have it to be able to heal and move on. They have no choice really. If they want to be able to live their lives, they have to face each other. And the fact that they are able to have this dialogue is very hopeful for all of us.
We all have people in our lives with whom we do not agree with, it seems like now more than ever. But there is hope that instead of judging them and deciding that they are wrong before we even hear them, we could actually just listen. We might still disagree in the end but we will understand each other’s motives a little bit better. Usually, we realize that we all want the best for ourselves and others. We just maybe have different ways of showing it.
The last and most important thing in this film is the conclusion that we can also forgive each other. And most importantly forgive ourselves as well. By forgiving, we do not agree with the other side of the argument. We do not betray ourselves and the thing we did hold on to, but rather we let go of all the grief and anger that is associated with it. And these feelings stopped us from living life to the fullest. So letting go of it all is the only way to move forward.
Only then will we be able to breathe freely and fully again, without this enormous heaviness on our chest, that stopped us from experiencing joy for so long.