There’s something about seeing a flock of birds at just the right moment. When timed right, it can lift the spirits with its beauty. The birds flapping and soaring together are coordinated and artful–not random. Every detail seems to have purpose and deep meaning (at least for the birds, who are working hard to get where they want to go). Seeing birds in flight is a quiet beauty as they streak soundless across the sky.
In the right light at the right moment, it can be magical to see such birds.
An intriguing new film called “Change in the Air” captures a very similar kind of magic: a quiet restlessness, a hidden joy, and a hushed mystery.
The film stars Rachel Brosnahan, whom you might know as the the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel from the popular show of the same name. She plays Wren, who is, as IMDB puts it, “a beguiling young woman [who] moves in next door.” And when she does move in, “a quiet neighborhood is awakened, bringing people face to face with their secrets and, ultimately, themselves.”
Here’s another plot summary from the studio: “A peaceful community is forever changed when a mysterious young woman moves in. As the quirky locals embrace her, their lives soon improve. But, they can’t help notice that their strange new neighbor has a secret.”
Brosnahan is luminous and gravity-bending with her performance as a mysterious character that holds the entire neighborhood in suspense. In Wren we see hope, truth, strangeness and riddles that beg to be solved, and a longing for the face of God.
In Wren’s neighbors we see ourselves. We see pain, old wounds, tired psyches burned out with life on the precipice of giving up, irresistible humor and curiosity, and a deep longing for the very things that seem to be magically captured in Wren: hope, beauty, truth, and (somehow, in a mysterious way) the face of God.
These qualities, and the quiet strain that builds among the neighbors and the police office investigating certain events that happened in the neighborhood, is expressed with perfect emotional nuance and power by the rest of the cast, which includes Aidan Quinn (“Elementary”), Olympia Dukakis (“Moonstruck”), M. Emmet Walsh (“Blade Runner”), Satya Bhabha (“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”), Mary Beth Hurt (“The Lady in the Water”), Peter Gerety (“Flight”), and actor/singer Macy Gray.
In my opinion, in our heart of hearts it is our deepest longing to have (through Christ’s grace and mercy) a personal relationship with God (whom I believe is a personality and “knowable” in that way, not an impersonal force).
Whatever you may call that longing–that deeply churning tension stirring in our hearts day and night–this film captures it. Each character had scenes and moments that have been sticking with me and haunting me.
I wouldn’t call this a blatantly Christian film or an overt faith-based movie, but a film with pervasive faith-related themes. (Though, without giving anything way, I will say there is definitely strong symbolism pointing to God and even an appearance of one of my all-time favorite hymns “His Eye Is On The Sparrow.”) But most of that content is placed quietly in the subtext. It gets under your skin in a powerful way.
And while the PG-rated film deals with some emotionally heavy themes, it was refreshing to watch because it was family-friendly. It’s something you can watch without worrying about mature, overly dark/disturbing content while also feeling the satisfaction of being challenged with serious themes and questions throughout the story.
This film is the directorial debut of film veteran Dianne Dreyer and also the screenwriting debut of Audra Gorman, who, like Dreyer, has a long, impressive resume of films. And I have to say, they (and their cast) have done a masterful job with “Change in the Air.” It’s already been added to my list of favorite films.
“Change in the Air” is releasing nationwide in theaters tomorrow (Oct. 19, 2018). You can go to the official site for Change in the Air for more info.
The bottom-line: if you’re planning on a relaxing night out to see a movie and you’re looking for a powerful, inspiring family-friendly film, “Change in the Air” is an excellent choice. Like Wren moving into the new neighborhood, it will grab your attention, move you, and haunt you with a strange sense of joy that is hard to put in words yet is determined to overcome the darkness of this world.