THE DAYTRIPPERS

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From the moment Eliza discovers the love poem written to Louis, we sit through the drawn-out events of the day that will confirm Eliza's biggest fear and our deduction. As we meet the other players, our only question is how the web will be spun.  As we speculate on how the writer will convey us to the obvious conclusion, we learn a few things. 

Among them is the meaning of the story about a man with the head of a dog, a short-haired German pointer. His name is Noah. While being interviewed as a freak on a series of talk shows, Noah realizes he has an audience and begins to give his views, pointing out what is right and wrong with the world. Noah becomes a visionary, much like the biblical Noah (Genesis 13:6-7:23). Just like the earlier Noah, he also has his detractors. At the pinnacle of his fame, he is mailed a letter bomb which explodes in his hands, critically injuring him. His life is spared. But his hands are gone and he can no longer point.

It's pure symbolism, as a visionary does not point with his hands. And The Man With A Dog's Head is merely the working title of Carl's book. Carl is Posey's boyfriend who is visiting Posey's family in a suburb of New York City. (Carl studied at Cambridge one summer. He considers democracy a lesser form of government than an aristocracy and views the large middle class as the real problem with the world--all values tend to group toward the middle with nothing really outstanding, as would otherwise exist if led by a truly benevolent and enlightened aristocracy. Of course he would be a part of such an aristocracy. But, for the moment, he will take a job in the construction industry so that he and Posey can be wed and make ends meet.) Eliza is Posey's older sister who is happily married to Louis, until the day-trip. It is the day-trip that reveals all, to all.

During the day-trip, Posey realizes she will never be part of Carl's aristocracy and that her views and life-style are closer to those of the working poor.  She also meets someone much more interesting than Carl. Posey's mother learns that she has put too much faith in Louis as Eliza's deliverer, but fails to recognize her assignment of the same erroneous status to Carl. And of course Eliza discovers her ideal marriage to Louis is not as ideal as it appears.

Unlike the biblical Noah's vision or message from God that all will be well if we simply follow God's guidance and get in the Ark, this film ends without an ark. There is no rescue from life's realities. The central family must struggle through all that has been learned and we, the viewers, exit the theater with various machinations about how it will all be done.

The Daytrippers stars Rita Ann Meara, Stanley Tucci, Campbell Scott, Hope Davis, and Liev Shreiber. And it is worth seeing.  

In the Old Testament, the Ark represents the grace extended us by God to keep us safe through the flood needed to destroy or wash clean the contaminated place. In the New Testament or under our new covenant with God, Jesus Christ (in the form of the Holy Spirit) has become the Ark that keeps us safe while we abide in a world of trouble. Our Ark is still around. And we get into Its safety by accepting what Jesus has done on our behalf.

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