Last night I finally saw The Bridge. Which I loved. I'd been listening to a couple of men (who I greatly respect) discuss it for months, in large part, upset about the morality. When we'd debate the issues raised, they repeat, "you haven't seen it!" So now I have. It's beautiful, haunting, moving, thoughtful, clear-eyed, a deep tribute to the troubled souls who ended their life by jumping off the bridge. Even for a second I can't entertain whether the filmmakers could have stopped anyone. One of the brilliances of the work is that you start trying to guess who's going to jump - people linger, climb on the rail, gaze down, throw stuff off, but still the jumpers surprise. Some leap in an instant.
Basically the film is gorgeous shots of the bridge from all over the Bay Area. Some close, others farther away. Then there are interviews with some of the surviving friends and families. My heart went out to them all. Not a single sense of pointing fingers. Instead I was moved by their love, understanding, and pain for their loved ones who'd fallen prey to devastating mental illness. That's the real culprit here - not the filmmakers, or the Bridge, but the tragedy of mental illness.
John tried to argue that jumping from the Golden Gate is a worst kind of suicide. It's certainly more kind to the finders. I have an acquaintance whose son slit his throat in her house. Imagine living with that image, as opposed to flying into the soaring seagulls, crashing waves, gorgeous blue of the Bay, and heavenly clouds wafting all around the Golden Gate Bridge. Tho I'm hardly a sci-fi gal, I found myself starting to think of the Bridge as a kind of portal to the next life. God's way of calling those who needed to hear. No, I don't take suicide lightly. But I don't think the film does either.
It's a gorgeous, thoughtful, deeply respectful film. I highly recommend it.
P.S. And this is what my friend wrote who I saw it with - I totally agree with her take. She goes deeper into some more specifics.
And here's the original Tad Friend piece in the New Yorker.