January 15, 2004

The idea of mind over matter is not a new one, certainly not to science. Theory holds that the bumblebee should not actually be capable of flight given the ratio of body mass to wing span. There are a lot of dry and unfathomable conjectures as to why bees literally fly in the face of science but to me the most intriguing is that the bumblebee is not actually aware that it should be flightless. Since the bee mind does not recognize the impossibility of it's flight, it becomes possible. No limitations through the simplicity of mind over matter. It is precisely this theory that the movie The Bumblebee Flies Anyway is based on.

**If you plan on watching this movie at any point, stop reading now. Be fairly warned that I will ruin the ending in this entry.**

Elijah Wood (you're not seriously surprised that I'm writing about a movie starring a LOTR cast member, are you?) stars as Barney Snow, a young amnesia patient in a hospice of otherwise terminally ill youths. He is trying to piece together his past and we wonder along with him why he's the only non-terminal case in the facility. Barney begins to forge a future by befriending cancer patient Mazzo and his healthy twin sister Cassie, with whom romance begins to blossom. But his memory starts to filter back to him and when it does, Barney's very life becomes forfeit. It turns out that Barney was dying of bone cancer only a handful of months prior to his arrival at the hospice. When he went into remission he signed on to the Bumblebee Project in an attempt to beat the disease entirely. Doctors then blocked his past from access to his mind, operating on the theory that if the body does not receive signals triggering the cancer from the mind then the disease can not survive. Thus Barney, like the bumblebee, would exist on the grace of mind over matter. Once this information is given back to Barney his cancer returns and he is faced with the choice of letting the illness take hold and kill him or of re-entering the Bumblebee Project and losing the only memories he has - those of friendship with Mazzo and the other patients and of romance with Cassie. It is a high price to pay, perhaps too high, but this quiet little movie allows Barney to make his choice without defining it and then gives it over to you, the viewer, to decide how you feel.

It sticks with you long after the TV is shut off and you think you've forgotten. I find myself pondering the possibility of such a theory changing my life in some way. If it were possible to instruct a brain to forget about cancer, how many other things would we be capable of on even a small scale? If we could just get our minds out of our own way, I mean. It reminds me of a quote by Walt Disney: "If I can dream it, I can do it." Then each of us, like bees, would be blissfully free to spread our wings and fly. And never mind that we can't.

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