Films > The Happening

Significance of Math? *spoilers*

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In short I was a little perplexed by this film. I just saw it last night and I'm still trying to figure it out.

One thing I have been thinking about is all the references to math. The math teacher keeps bringing up math, percentages and figures. He talks about trying to calm his mother down by telling her probabilities and percentages. He tries to help calm the girl in the Jeep by asking her a math riddle. I was suprised that when the math teacher dies, all the math references ended. Did the math play any significance in the film or the story at all other than attempting to develop John Leguizamo's character?

To me, it just seemed as though Night was trying to drive home the point that he was a math teacher.  Unfortunately, I think it's pretty poor writing.  Just like how Elliot had to say "science" all of the time because he's a science teacher.  It seemed too obvious to me.

I disagree spikeshinizle, I don't think it was overused.  Julian says early on in the movie that people are calmed by percentages, things that give them something rational to hold on to.  So he uses his knowledge of math to calm people down.

I thought the math references were overused and very obvious. I was hoping that maybe they held some secret that I was just missing. I think anybody writing a story involving a math teacher could've come up with this idea that since the character teaches math, they're going to talk about it all the time and use math references at least 30 times a day. If I knew Julian in real life and was having a personal problem, I sure as hell wouldn't call him.

Personally, I overall hated the Julian character. I didn't really understand why he was so angry (I understand that he feels that the girl that married elliot wasn't ready, but he didn't know about her unfaithfulness) and the whole, 'I'm a math teacher so I'm going to talk about math all the time' deal.

Maybe MNight was just trying to give the impression that both of these teachers (Julian and Elliot) really, really enjoyed and loved their jobs.

I've posted before about the significance of how people try to rationalize and explain everything as one way of seeking or giving comfort in uncertain times (PLEASE READ THREADS BEFORE U POST NEW ONES) And I think it was another reference to the explicable versus the inexplicable and our constant desire to know for certain. And I think the death of Julian may have been significant in that it expressed to us that no matter how comforting it may be, math (and other comforting explanations) won't save you.

(btw, I think Julian was the best character in the movie)

--- Quote from: Namaste on June 18, 2008, 01:55:11 PM ---I won't go into too much detail here to avoid spoilers, but it should be clear enough that those of you who have seen the movie will know what im talking about.
I've only seen The Happening once, so I wont have to go too deep to review it (unlike the village or signs or 6th sense) There were a few themes in it and I'm not exactly sure whether shyamalan was for or against them.

Number one: Comfort- the lengths to which we go, just to make the people we care about feel better (statistics, cafe/moodring scene, the "vibes" we give off whether positive or negative, talking with the 2 teenagers about life, not mentioning the happening to the students, the old lady who cut herself off from a world she didnt wanna deal with-ignorance).

Number two: Responsibility (the obvious environmentalist aspect, Leguizamo's character and going after his wife, Zooey's character's fear of commitment, "don't you take my daughter's hand unless you mean it", Wahlberg's character and thinking about what needs to be done, The hotdog guy offering to help the Wahlberg party)

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