When Words Won’t Work

I spent last night with a family in the neighborhood.

The dad is overwhelmed with being a husband, father, and provider, but trying hard not to show it. Providing is more stressful than normal, due to his having recently transitioned to a new job. Like most dads, he’s struggling with the challenge of simultaneously trying to keep his kids safe while moving them towards self-sufficiency.

Like most kids, they’re struggling with wanting a lot less of the former and a lot more of the latter. Except when they don’t. The teenager thinks she’s 30 and is convinced no one loves her. The pre-teen likes the pre part more than the teen part. The youngest just wants to play with space ships.

The mom is a typical stay-at-home mom: doing five jobs and all of them par excellence. You have to look close to see the strain around her eyes.

All of them are wrestling with living in the aftermath of a tragedy. Dinner with them was strained — the air was full of things that needed to be said, but they were all afraid to say them. When one of the kids got out of line, they got the look. The dad has “the look” down cold.

Oh, did I mention the blind people-eating aliens with really good hearing?

If you like really scary movies, A Quiet Place is a great way to spend a couple of hours. They’ve labeled it “horror,” but it’s not Halloween or Saw, it’s Signs or Psycho or even 10 Cloverfield Lane, a family drama masquerading as a thriller with a hint of horror on the edges. It’s also the rarest of things in Hollywood, a mostly original idea. (Those aliens owe a lot to the Upside Down.) Highly recommended.

Hug your kids when you get home. And take away their batteries.

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