The Big Year (2011) is an interesting lesson on birdwatching or birding, a recreational activity on the observation of birds. (I have not known that such activity had a competitive history until this movie.)
Stu Preissler (Steve Martin), Brad Harris (Jack Black) and Kenny Bostick (Owen Wilson) all have something in common…passion for birds even in the midst of their life’s unique situation.
A wealthy CEO (Stu) who is looking forward for the much-awaited retirement but is postponed every time due to indecisiveness and fearful subordinates is determined to do the Big Year – a childhood dream from which he gets full support from his wife, Edith (JoBeth Williams). On the other hand, Brad who is a computer programmer has an array of failures (divorced, hates his job, disapproved by his father and lives with his parents) is also in pursuit of having a Big Year to have a lifetime achievement he could call his own. And of course, the man who holds the record for having seen the most species of birds, Kenny is obsessed to protect his record by doing the Big Year every year even at the expense of a marriage meltdown from which he already has a record on his plate.
Three men on a mission. Each with a fair share of adversaries in reaching the goal. Success came in different ways but each one had to pay a price for it. Stu may have finished 4th but was able to finally stand firm with his decision to retire. His love for family is notable. Brad who finished 2nd may have a rough relationship with his dad but managed to become a son when he took care of him when he had a mild heart attack that eventually led to a priceless father and son bonding. He was also able to meet a woman who shared the same interest. Kenny had a bittersweet ending. He is THE man as he finished 1st but he was NOT man enough to save a relationship and let go of a calling he considers as the most important. An achievement with a sigh of inner conflict and defeat could be seen on his eyes as he watched a family enjoying a stroll on a park in China.
Our dreams may be noble but our values and not the fulfillment of our dreams determine our personhood.
© rooks 2012