Would I call LAND, starring and directed by Robin Wright, a movie about grief? Well, yes and no.
LAND is a cinematic masterpiece, filmed in Canada, but the story is set in Wyoming. It offers endless, magnificent, vistas for the eye to behold!
The story begins with little information about what Edee (Robin Wright) is specifically going through; what has brought her to such an abandoned place. She drives herself and her few necessities to a remote cabin, followed by her guides who she insists take her vehicle, leaving her no choice for escape, save walking out. That alone would be a huge step of bravery (or stupidity) for someone like me!
She has little survival experience, but has enough to stay alive, even when faced with blizzards, a bear, little fresh food, and the endless effort to stay warm. There are occasional flashbacks to give us hints that she has experienced the tragedy of the loss of both her husband and child. It seems throwing herself into absolute solitude is her way of doing two things: distancing herself from the memories of her past life (she left behind a very concerned sister) and maybe even punishing herself in some way.
These are both common reactions to tragic death, though usually not quite as extreme as her method of dealing with it.
The plot includes the story of Edee nearly dying from exposure, but is found and rescued by a a hunter named Miguel, who had seen her chimney smoke…then didn’t on his journey back out. He recruits a friend, who happens to be a nurse at the nearest hospital, to come attend to Edee, since she doesn’t want to go to a hospital. The friendship between Edee and Miguel blossoms, as he helps teach her fishing and hunting.
I won’t spoil the movie by sharing the remaining details which are surprising, but I will close by saying that the message I personally received is that regardless of how difficult life is, no matter how much we feel like our situation is isolated, we need people. We need a community of folks (even if it is just 2 or 3) who will surround us in our time of need and grief. We think we can figure it out on our own, but isolation usually forces us further into despair, and this could last years.
Edee does finally reach back out to the world, after a sad plot twist, and from what we are left with at the end of the movie, she is moving in the right direction of rebuilding, from the ground up, and will learn to live and love again.
Not an easy feat for any of us. It is not for the faint of heart, but it IS possible.
We may be left with scars and wounds that remain a lifetime, but we hope what remains can be sketched into something just as beautiful as life before, a chance to honor those we miss so much…