Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Record-Breaking Blockbuster AND New-Age Psychology Resource?

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We all know that this is an amazing film (and if you don’t then damn it see this movie ASAP, and on the IMAX if you still can!), and not since Empire Strikes Back have we been blessed with a truly great SW film that any age and gender can appreciate.  But could it be that J.J. Abrams could create the greatest movie in history, and that movie could also be the perfect tool to rehabilitate a troubled psyche, and bring together mother and son where no therapist, psychologist or family member could do?

So I was talking to a friend thinking of seeing the movie and he asked if it made me cry.  Huh??  Not the question I was expecting.  No it didn’t make me cry…..(Well, not the first time.)  My friend mentioned someone (we’ll call Regular Joe) who saw the movie, and it made such a huge impact on him that he not only cried but immediately went home and called his mom whom he had a long-standing argument with and had not spoken to in many years.  Touching, no? I actually thought the guy was kind of a wuss (I knew exactly which part he cried on), but still thought it was cool that he felt compelled enough by what he saw to mend an old wound.

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Personally, I started to well up when Rey grabbed hold of Luke’s lightsaber (actually Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber for those nerds who caught that!).

Anyway, it got me thinking, wow, this movie had that kind of effect on someone.  It made this average, thirty-something guy, (who I discovered was not a fan but definitely saw the previous movies,) so moved and so reflective of his own life that he actually got lost just like Rey did in her Force dream when she first touched Anakin’s lightsaber.  He found himself reflecting on his life and the choices he made, the actions he took, and the mistakes he ultimately was paying for.  But why would he have to keep feeling so punished, so ultimately imprisoned in his own feelings and memories of doubt and guilt??  Only one thing to do, reach out and touch that person.  Whatever was done, anything can be forgiven, or at least that’s what Han Solo was thinking when he walked out onto that walkway to meet Kylo-Ren (Ben Solo).  And if Rey’s Force dream is showing true events, and Kylo was standing with the Knights of Ren in some rain-soaked battlefield of dead,

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then that is something that has happened, or will or could happen soon, and that’s a lot to have to make up for.  Will Kylo be able to return to the light side?  He couldn’t do it standing in front of his father.

We may never know if Kylo intentionally wanted to hand over his saber and become Ben Solo once again.  And it’s quite coincidental that just as the First Order’s new war machine Starkiller Base sucks the last bit of light out of the sun, the light just fading off Kylo’s face, his expression becomes darker, fearful, and angry.  Yet here is this Regular Joe, probably not expecting much out of this nerdy, sci-fi flick, probably got pulled there by some friends and wanted to look hip and figured if anything he’d get some stories to talk about around the water cooler, watching this movie and thinking to himself, “Look at this piece of shit!  Who wouldn’t want Han Solo for their dad?!  Here is a person, with such a huge reputation for being a wanted man, humble himself so far as to go to such great lengths to not only put himself in harm’s way but also pretty much paint a target on his own back just to get his child back.”

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Regular Joe imagined his mother standing there, holding the saber, begging him to let it go and come home with her.  Saw himself about to do it, about to let go of all the anger and fear and doubt that have kept them apart and hand himself completely over to her and love and light.  He didn’t expect one of the major, and most beloved faces in his life (and of all time!), to be run through in the next moment, as the sun’s last light fades from his face, and he looks down and realizes he is the one holding the saber’s ignition switch to on.  Regular Joe sits in the movie theatre and looks at his hands.  “What have I done??” He looks up at the screen and watches Han fall from our sights and the big screen forever.  “What have you done??!” Chewie and Rey scream their anguish and despair, just as pangs of sorrow and remorse go off in Regular Joe.  “Mom!  No, I can’t let this happen.” Who knows how long Regular Joe sat there before that thought pushed him to take action, to remove the thumb before it can ignite the saber, to let it go and be wrapped once more in his mother’s love.  Clearly Kylo made a choice he can’t return from, but maybe Regular Joe didn’t have to fall down that dark hole.  He could still change things now.  He could put down the lightsaber and pick up the phone and make that fated call that he once thought was so difficult and so dreaded.  So he did.  Regular Joe made the simple leap of faith that Kylo-Ren could not, and in doing so was welcomed back into the light that easy.

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So I started thinking, why couldn’t The Force Awakens be the new method to help people through whatever sort of crisis they’re having: familial, social or otherwise?  There’s all kinds of lessons teeming from this movie, right there for your viewing pleasure.  You’ve got Finn right in the beginning deciding to risk his own life to take a stand against the group he’s with, and take their prisoner; in other words, doing the right thing.  That takes a lot of courage!  And Rey deciding not to sell BB-8 just to get more rations than she’s ever seen, realizing that BB-8 isn’t actually hers to give away, and being smart enough to see there was something else going on.  Even Kylo-Ren having his little tantrums are a perfect example of working out one’s aggression so as not to take it out on others.  This movie could be the next psychological treatment for any condition.  So the next time you’re feeling anxious or lost your nerve, if you need a pick me up, a good laugh, or even a bit of crying, or if you feel lost and maybe stuck and not sure where to turn, go see Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  Guaranteed it will move you, maybe even far enough to change your universe!

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