After suffering a personal tragic loss, I stumbled on the film “Random Hearts” one sleepless night. Despite expectations as low as my eyelids, I soon found myself riveted. “Random Hearts” quickly tapped into all the emotional repercussions one experiences following a traumatic, unexpected loss.
The film delves deeper into the complexities of these devastating situations, as Harrison Ford’s character, Dutch, discovers that his wife died in a plane crash — seated next to her lover. Desperate to learn more, Dutch tracks down Kay, the spouse of his wife’s partner in infidelity. His encounter with Kay becomes the perfect vehicle to express the complex process of grief. The viewer lives through his thoughts and actions as Dutch experiences shock and conflicting emotions, coping with two painful revelations at once.
As I watched the film, I relived my emotional journey of tragic loss and discovery. The film truly captures each stage of grief as I experienced it, right down to universally relatable (if not personally familiar) details. Initially, there is shock, denial, and disbelief. Then the catatonic phase, as if watching oneself from above. This is a long, protracted phase, where we don’t really believe each moment is real, even though we can go through the motions of our daily activities. There still lingers the expectation that the lost loved one will come back, and all will be normal again. Then comes a desperate need to collect and process all of the details surrounding the accident. Shock is not logical, but thankfully our survival instincts usually kick in to shift our minds back to the present. Lastly, before we finally accept our loss, waves of anger crash. We are so frantically frustrated with being unable to control what happened.
And most saliently, there is heartbreak… deep, penetrating heartbreak.
“Random Hearts” is a mediocre film at best. But for those who have suffered a tragic loss, it can provide a truly cathartic experience. We never know what may help us through difficult circumstances in life, and this film was greatly healing for me. Media is indeed powerful, and with the right story, grief can be eased and insight unlocked. I felt privileged to take those steps of grieving once again, this time through the mind and heart of another. Now, after years of my own personal healing, I can only hope that I get what the doctor ordered: a man like Dutch to enter back into my life.