This weekly update is brought to you via the brilliant minds of Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij, the writing/acting/directing team that most recently brought us the mind bending Netflix series, The OA. A brilliant, incredibly expansive piece of work that literally leaves a lasting impact on it's viewers.
Now, I'm not necessarily here to give you a review of the OA or tell you all that much about the show itself.... cue internal monologue "why are you writing about it then!?" -- the shortest answer is to bring up some interesting ideologies that I quite literally was moved to consider whilst watching the OA.
Now, on to a bit of information on the show... mild spoiler alerts here (if you haven't watched the show or are in transition, possibly skip this paragraph if you want 100% mental virginity and wish to experience the show as I did, not knowing a damn thing!) The OA follows Prairie Johnson (Brit Marling) through an incredible journey through different layers of her reality, all along the way affecting everyone she comes in contact with. Her journey is special and incredibly interesting. The viewer is launched into so many great emotions and feelings, it's pretty amazing to me that Brit and Zal were able to create such an immersive experience. By the end of the series, the viewer literally feels like they've been a part of the journey, honestly more than I've ever experienced in Film or Television. That wasn't so bad... right!? To be transparent, I haven't told you anything about the show's details or story-line, as it's just too important to walk that path as the characters in the OA do --- with belief as their structure, faith as their guide.
That is the magic of the OA folks, it's a linear exploration of belief systems and how they can effect real interpersonal outcomes. Belief is at the core of everything we know... literally! It lives within every element of choice, not limited to me deciding to write this piece for you! Belief also has the remarkable fluidity of imparting freedom or imprisonment. It's a truly beautiful constant we all share in this life, choosing how we allow our belief to effect our lives.
The characters of the OA all share this exploration of belief. They all choose their destiny and character development based on their belief, which does indeed change as 'time' passes in the story-line. Something very much akin to what we all deal with on a daily basis. Belief and our freedom of choice contain all the elements to constrain or retain our realities --- an ever-changing flow. The viewer also experiences this exploration. Your viewpoint from the beginning of the series all the way to the last episode cannot withstand the power of belief and it's persistence to evolve.
One of the most beautiful aspects of the OA (not a big spoiler here) is the introduction of the movements. Basically, they are very simple body movements (or made to look simple) choreographed by the brilliant Ryan Heffington (Sia, Florence & the Machine, Chet Faker) that take on a role of their own in the OA. These movements become a very beautiful and special element to the story and in line with the theory of belief systems, they have a large part in supporting that flow.
I felt as though the movements were brought to the characters to allow them to embody their reality through motion and essentially opening their hearts to allow them to flow -- to change their lives through deeper understanding of their truest selves. DEEP stuff here folks! Suffice it to say, the OA is an immersive journey into fiction-based reality and I LOVE that kind of media. I want to yearn to know more and search into the deep dark of the night of the human condition. The OA touches on those elements in many different ways, bringing in the viewer just as it does it's own characters.
I watched this series twice... yup, I did - and I honestly NEVER repeat films or shows. I'm obsessed with the hunt for new information and almost always, no matter how great a show is, I'm more interested in moving forward. The OA is different (or at least it was for me) in that I needed answers, I needed more of the show's heart, and I honestly missed the characters journey of belief. I was left (after finishing the series with my wife for her first time and my second) being completely satisfied with the beauty they had created and was amazed at the intelligent experience Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij had engineered. I had the chance to review my OWN belief systems through the show, it's story and it's inevitable outcome. I also had the chance to reflect on the real life impact of the power of belief in our lives. This is the kind of show that lasts with you. It walks with you long after you've turned it's last page. How often can media, art, or the written word embody this type of magic!? The OA is a wonderful experience -- one certainly worth repeating.
Now... where is Season 2!?