I went to see the new movie “Dorian Gray” on Tuesday and it took me out of my grumpy mood for a couple of hours. It didn’t annoy me by differing wildly from Oscar Wilde’s masterpiece but knowing the story already I very rapidly found myself hoping that they would change the ending. It’s actually quite heartbreaking, but I won’t spoil it for you.
There are a number of concepts though that I found haunting. One of them is that pleasure is not the same as happiness. The eponymous hero seeks endless pleasure but it does not bring him happiness, just weariness. The second concept is the fact that our lives write themselves on our faces, that we get the face we deserve from how we have lived our lives. It’s said that you have the face you deserve by age of fifty. I’m not sure it’s entirely true but there is some truth in this idea.
The final idea I found haunting comes from a scene at the start of the film where Dorian sees for the first time the portrait his friend Basil has painted of him. Dorian is a very beautiful young man but this is the first time he has seen himself as others see him; the painting is pretty much Basil’s absolute masterpiece and when it is viewed by society, it is hailed as being an exact likeness of Dorian. The shock and amazement Dorian shows is what haunted me most. He’d never imagined how others saw him, just his physical exterior, and it’s interesting that people comment on how it has captured his essence; at this stage, his essence is pure and innocent and rather naive and charming. Unconsciously, I put a similar scene in a novel of my own, but at the end, and with different results, and it rather startled me to be reminded of it.
Are we what others see? Are we the sum of our experiences and do those experiences truly get written on our exteriors?
Things to think about.