I saw Moneyball last week because I am a sports fan and have enjoyed other books by Michael Lewis. I liked the film a lot. Really good cast, including Brad Pitt, Robin Wright, Philip Seymour Hoffman all of whom gave some fine performances. Fascinating story about how using statistics revolutionized strategy in major league baseball. Super screen writer Steve Zaillian did a really good job, too.
The most striking scenes for me, however, took place between Brad Pitt and Kerris Dorsey his early teenaged daughter in the film. Pitt’s character is divorced and he is clearly working to keep up his relationship and loves his daughter very much.
There was one scene in which they go shopping for a guitar. In the store, she tries one, picking out some notes and humming along with it. Pitt suggests she sing the words. She agrees with some reluctance. To her small accompanying guitar notes she sings in her little girl voice, “I’m just a little bit caught in the middle, Life is a maze and love is a riddle, I don’t know where to go, can’t do it alone, I’ve tried and I don’t know why …”
I am also a divorced father of a teenage daughter and found this scene and particularly these lyrics to be emotional dynamite. Also, I have to confess that I misheard this initially. I thought she was singing, “I’m just a little kid caught in the middle….”
The words perfectly sum up the plight of the child of divorce. I wonder if this scene might have been almost too powerful for its place in the film.
Discussing it several days later with another divorced father with a daughter, my friend said it wasn’t just a little verse that the character had written, but an actual song.
I found it on the web. The title is “The Show” and you can not only find the lyrics, but buy a copy of Kerris Dorsey singing it right off the soundtrack on iTunes.
I was particularly struck by this verse from The Show’s lyrics:
I’m just a little girl lost in the moment
I’m so scared but I don’t show it
I can’t figure it out, it’s bringing me down
I know I’ve got to let it go and just enjoy the show.
Everyone at some time or another has felt ‘lost in the moment’ and scared and ‘trying not to show it.’ This verse brought to mind the talk I attended by Dr. Maggie Crowley at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and blogged about last May. It offered some super tools for handling stress.
Finding yourself lost in the moment, trying not to show it, not being able to figure it out and having it bring you down is the experience of stress.
Dr. Crowley said that in this situation we needed something to shift our mental gears out of the stressful/fearful response that triggers that damaging cascade of negative emotion. She suggested the following activities that set off the parasympathetic approach:
*Making choices that are positive
*Using constructive language
*Employing our strengths and personal power.
“When we practice appreciation, we turn off the anxious instincts triggered by the stress response. The heart, brain and endocrine system work in sync and heal. It is impossible for the brain to be in a state of appreciation and fear at the same time. So, appreciation is the antidote for fear and stress,” Dr. Crowley said.
Like the last line of that verse in The Show, “… let it go and just enjoy the show.”
Words to live by.
Later in the year Zaillian would write the screenplay for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. You can read about it here.