The Shipping News
And yet, Quoyle always believed (even as a child) that if his real, long-lost relatives could find him, they would love him and he would suddenly be accepted. It is his only hope. When Petal is killed in a car crash, just after his parents' death, Quoyle is uniquely open to a change. His Aunt Agnis takes Quoyle and Bunny to the land of their family, Newfoundland. Quoyle begins to succeed as a newspaper reporter. He, Bunny, and Agnis move into the old Quoyle house. It is dark. The house has been lashed down for years, and the cords holding it to the ground, firm from the dangerous wind, sing mournfully at night. The sound symbolizes the dark ghosts of this family's past. Quoyle discovers that the roots of darkness in his past stretch far further than he had guessed. Tragic, ugly family secrets are revealed. Murder. Incest. Mutilation. His relatives were not nice people; they were pirates and vicious ones at that. And now this man, who has rejected everything about himself is brought to a crisis of identity. If evil and darkness is even in his blood, his family, what good can he find? He despairs.
And then two miracles occur. The dark, sin-haunted house is swept apart and out to sea in a storm. With it goes its power to intimidate and lurk with evil. In the same storm, the body of a drowned man in the community is recovered. It seems a curse has been associated with all of the men in his family. They are cursed to die at sea, and he fulfills the same ugly spell. And then, at his wake, he sits up and starts sputtering water! He is alive! The curse is broken.
At the end of the movie, Quoyle says, "There are still so many things I don't know. If a piece of knotted string can unleash the wind [referencing a supersitious practice], and if a drowned man can awaken, then I believe a broken man can heal." This is a story of death and resurrection. It is a story of Quoyle finally being able to look into the depth of the darkness of his past, his identity and seeing its filthiness, ugliness, brokenness. And having looked the worst things he fears in the eye, he has also seen miracles. He has seen that curses can be broken. He has seen that new life can come. He doesn't know how he will experience healing. But having seen miracles, he now has faith in something perhaps beyond himself, something with the power to heal.
This film gave me hope and it showed me that we can be given a new identity from that of our past. As a Christian, I believe that this is exactly what Jesus Christ does for me.