“To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost.”
Nobody wants more problems that what they’re already dealing with. Global Warming, rampant inequality, the constant reminders of social injustice, unfaithfulness between romantic partners, and every reminder that this world is only going to hell is more than enough reason to avoid being up to date on current events. Most of us choose to bury our heads in the sand rather than face a reality that is anything but hopeful.
We don’t need a complicated reason to see that the more we know, the less we’re able to sleep at night. When happiness only depends on simple things like catching up on your Netflix and hanging out with friends on the weekends, the path seems to become easier to manage.
But what happens when the mind believes happiness to be a complex state, one that is impossible to experience without complete transformation and awareness of problems affecting your environment and community. Considering our planet’s current situation, if someone bets their life on everything getting a happy ending, it’s unlikely they’ll ever find joy.
A writer finds success by plagiarizing. A happy marriage breaks down before actually getting there. An old rich man searches for his last chance at earthly pleasures and a widow who communicates with the dead. All these Woody Allen characters, that seem to be canon from prior films, serve as spokespeople for a narrative that is as simple as it is bitter: the less we know, the happier we’ll be.
However, the story of You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger ( 2010) does not solely revolve around that premise. It’s predictable but far from flawed. It works as a jewelry box of determinism that provides a stronger meaning to the tale. Framed within the gloomy attitude that this New York director is known for, the movie is full of sharp wit, elaborate sarcasm, and self-deprecating jokes in order to pit the image we’ve created of ourselves versus who we really are.
In the end, every character who realizes that their choices have only kept them from others possibilities goes down a path of uncertainty and frustration. But those who remain ignorant, or simply choose not to be aware of the situation they're in, continue to lead their everyday lives unchanged.
While this might not be one of Allen’s most celebrated cinematic offerings, it’s full of the filmmaker’s pessimistic spirit, disenchantment of life, self-delusions, and hypocrisy that tumbles down when faced with reality. All these elements seem to be the constant reminders that to find happiness we need to forgo truth and allow ourselves to be swept away by the soft waves of ignorance.
Translated by María Suárez