Films => The Happening => Topic started by: Erik on June 03, 2009, 08:32:48 AM

Title: The Names
Post by: Erik on June 03, 2009, 08:32:48 AM
This discussion was held somewhere on the board in another topic, but I can't find it anymore. So let's start over.

There are 9 named persons in The Happening: Elliot, Alma, Julian, Jess, Mrs. Jones, Jared, Josh, Joey and Jake. As you might notice, 1 starts with an E, 1 with an A and 7 with a J. What do we really know about this movie?

In all of Shyamalan's movies, there is a strong religious theme present. For exemple, in The Sixth Sense Cole often visits churches to feel safe, and Signs is pretty much about a viccar who searches for a sign from god.
We have an E, an A and 7 J's. What can we make of this? There should be a bell ringing for everyone who knows the bible at least a little bit. E and A probably stand for Adam and Eve.

Even though the initials are switched (Eve for Elliot and Adam for Alma), I have good faith that my theory checks out. Alma had desert with a guy named Joey, she sort of cheated on Elliot, she ate the forbidden fruit.
At the end of the movie, Elliot and Alma brought back the love in their relationship. Together with Jess, they where the only survivors in the movie (there must have been more, but from all the people we've followed in the movie, they where the only ones.), they where Adam and Eve.

Let's get back on the J, will we? What can that mean?
If we go back to the bible, probably everyone will say Jesus. But why Jesus? Jesus was a mesiah, he brought everything good in a world so bad. The fact that every other named person starts with a J should be quite clear as a refference to humanity. Are we saints? Are we mesiahs?
Not really, according to the movie, we are using everything that mother nature gives us, without being thankfull to her. We seem to be all well with nature, but in fact we are poluting, spliting atoms, eating more forbidden fruit.
Therefor, I believe the J stands for Judas.

There is one exception for the J: Jess. She is the only survivor of all the J's, therefor I don't believe she is ment to be representing Judas.
While taking care of Jess, both Alma and Elliot learn how to be responsible in a relationship. Elliot 'grows up' in just a few houres, he becomes mature. Alma, who (clearly) didn't love Elliot anymore, fell back in love with the new Elliot. Jess becomes the essential part of their relationship. I believe that Jess can represent Jesus. After all, Jess only needs an U to become Jesus.
Title: Re: The Names
Post by: Namaste on June 03, 2009, 11:39:11 PM
Interesting. I don't agree with you (it seems like too much of a stretch), but it's more interesting than "questions only" or "add two words" lol I do believe all the "J" names were intentional, but I don't know why.
Title: Re: The Names
Post by: ACDCguy on June 08, 2009, 02:49:18 PM
Understandible but unlikely to have been done on pupose. Night went to a chaolic school, his subconcus (sorry for spelling) might have created biblical references.
Title: Re: The Names
Post by: Sheck on July 02, 2009, 05:08:11 AM
Excellent post re: the Names, thanks.  I'm new to this board and this was the first post I read.  I think you're really on to something here. The Jess/Jesus connection makes sense to me.  There may be biblical connections with the other names, especially if you add/subtract a letter, or pronounce differently.  At the very least, each name was chosen carefully with some underlying purpose.

This is actually my first post, so also a bit of a test to see how it works after recently registering.

Let me admit here and now that when I first saw "The Happening" in a theatre last June, I thought it sucked (along with a substantial portion of the movie-going population).  I left the theatre shaking my head and wondering if I should ask for my $10 back, and didn't see any more movies in first run for a while as a way to "get back" at the system!  I thought to myself that M.Night really lost it, and/or got carried away with the biggest movie-making joke in recent history.  A year later, i.e. last month, I realized how wrong I was (at least about M.Night and The Happening).

After analyzing some other notable post-Y2K films, I have to say that "The Happening" is not only M. Night's most interesting film, but perhaps his most frightening when you begin to realize how complexly he is speaking to the audience, and what he may be trying to communicate thru the speaking tube, so to speak.  As many of you may agree, the film has little to do with revengeful plants, toxins, or anything we literally see/hear on the screen.  It's a 90min+ twilight-zone metaphor that has been painstakingly filled to brim with symbolism and commentary about our modern times, and modern double speak.  In a sense, it is the ultimate "B" movie, as in To Be or Not To Be.  Way to go M. Night!

I'll be perusing this website carefully to see who else has made these points clear and concise.  If I don't find something satisfying, I'll write more. 

Title: Re: The Names
Post by: Mr_Glass.1 on July 06, 2009, 03:37:25 PM
Hey, welcome to the site, I look forward to hearing more of your comments.
Title: Re: The Names
Post by: Namaste on July 08, 2009, 12:24:32 AM
Check out the old hermit woman as mother nature. That's my biggest contribution to the happening ;x Well..that or the fact that green is the color of love in the mood ring.
Title: Re: The Names
Post by: Sheck on July 09, 2009, 09:54:04 PM
Thanks for the welcome.  I recently ordered The Happening on Amazon (sales of used/new are curiously hard to find at 3 Blockbusters I visited).  Once I get the film in my hands again, I'll try to present a scene by scene, perhaps shot by shot analysis.

For those who are already on the same page (i.e. it's a brilliant film, even if not original in sense of form/structure), you already realize there are no real characters in this film, in the traditional/modern sense, and even compared to his previous films.  In The Hap, each character and location represents a typical personality, institution, or situation.  That said, most of the dialogue is figurative, not literal, and not easy to decipher w/o putting your head in a certain context (e.g. what if the film is actually about current geo/political events and movements in addition to perceived mother nature's revenge).  The goal, IMO, is to try to peel off the layers and discover new meanings...this will make you come back to the film over and over as your head spins. 

Whether or not we will actually completely understand the message (think Lady in the Water) is another this case, it's more like a Kubrick film where the fun (or true fear) starts s when you look past the obvious or even the silly content, and start asking yourself what the director knows about human nature that you don't, or too afraid to confront yourself.

More laters, gators

Title: Re: The Names
Post by: Mr_Glass.1 on July 14, 2009, 12:24:29 PM
Alright, look forward to hearing more.
Title: Re: The Names
Post by: Namaste on July 15, 2009, 12:24:18 AM
as do I