By Lisa Marie Meija
Perspective is everything, which is something we tend to forget during our daily lives. Normal to one person may be a novelty to others, which requires us to see things through different lenses as much as we can. Our senses are something that are ingrained in us so seamlessly that it’s hard to imagine life without them. What if you lived without one of your senses for the majority of your life, but then was endowed with their use?
Ido Fulk’s new movie The Ticket explores this topic with unrelenting eyes. James (Dan Stevens) has been blind since his youth, but miraculously wakes up one morning with his sight back. He begins to take his life back, pursuing things he was unable to do as a blind man, and changes his life. These, however, are not good changes as he falls into the stereotypical traps of vanity.
This film intrigued me in a whole different realm than most viewers, as my day job is as a Braillist for my local school district. For the past 12 years, I have spent my days transcribing classwork for blind students, creating a pathway for them to continue their education without focusing on their disability. Inclusion is a huge part of the job, and I was fascinated by The Ticket and the way it addresses the issue of superficiality we often take for granted.
The idea of superficial focus of ones life is important to the heart of the film, but its transition from the shock of the situation of regained sight is a subtle one. Before you know it you’re in the trenches of vanity, noticing the little changes James is making to his life. You begin to question your own reality and wonder if we all would be better people if we had vision loss of our own.
There are several moments throughout the film that hinge on the idealism of the theme, and does so with an impressive delicate power. James’ relationship with his co-worker and dear friend Bob (Oliver Platt) is both endearing and confrontational. They have a heart wrenching conversation midway through the film and your idealism switches, as any good thinking movie allows for the audience to do.
The way Fulk shot the film, as well, added to the new breath of life that comes from sight. These images present life in a beautiful way without overemphasizing our reality. Life is a beautiful thing, and we are surrounded by beautiful moments, we just have to stop and take them in. Sprinkled in are also moments of intimacy with the camera, close up shots of seemingly mundane objects that are presented in an exquisite manner.
Stevens has come a long way since he first burst out onto the acting scene with his role in Downton Abbey, and its been a pleasure to see his talent soar. There are three scenes spread throughout the film that not only capture conflicting emotions from each other, but are presented with such vulnerability it’s captivating to watch. Without giving too much away, the first of these scenes is when James regains his sight. The way Stevens handles this shock is so beautiful, it’s as if he truly knows what its like to transverse both worlds. He is an emotional actor that can handle multiple facets within one character with ease.
With all of this enthralling aspects of The Ticket explored, there are still some elements that are left wanting. The transition from regaining a visual life and vanity may have been subtle, the reverse seems to come out of nowhere. There seems to be no real reason for the downward spiral towards the second half of the film, and you begin to question the significance of the character shift. There’s an inorganic element that’s just below the surface which draws you out of the film.
There is room, however, for the argument that the plummet is due to jealousy, which would tie in nicely with the vanity aspect, but it’s not a strong enough connection to satisfy the unbalanced story. There seems to be such potential for carving out our own perceptions when it comes to vanity, but because the resolution happens without proper motivation, those concepts are too difficult to search for. I don’t believe the second half of the film ruins The Ticket, but it’s an element that may be disliked by some.
The Ticket is an introspective look at what it means to have sight in our lives, and whether or not we are better without it.
The Ticket is available is limited theaters and on VOD on April 7th.