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The 2015 Film That Made Bron Cry: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Bron CryThere are two small, but deeply touching moments in Star Wars: The Force Awakens that played the right note on my sense of nostalgia and simultaneously confirmed the true feeling of humanity that was restored to the Star Wars franchise in 2015. I will discuss both of the moments below, but first I want to give a shout out to Shohan Cagle for detailing fairly precisely the same reasons that Inside Out would have been the movie I wrote about in this column if I didn’t choose the one I did. Please go check out his contribution to this “Why We are So Blue” set of articles on this website.

(As a note, both of my moments in Star Wars: The Force Awakens are what I would consider spoiler free, but still I am going to talk about characters who do things in the film, so if reading about anything at all that happens in the movie seems like it might be akin to a spoiler, come back once you have seen it.)

Moment the first: “Chewie, we’re home”

Star Wars 1

This is the kind of thing that really just hits a person in the chest with emotion. The one short statement from Han Solo says more than just “hey, we are back on this iconic ship from the original trilogy,” it conveys the emergence from a feeling of existential loss, the reconnection to purpose, and the perseverance of camaraderie that Han Solo is engaged in all within the moment of returning to his beloved vessel. Without even needing to mention the events that took place in Han’s life in the intervening years between the destruction of the second Death Star and stepping back onto the Millennium Falcon, this simple sentence gives the audience at least the clue that not everything ended up all happy and good. Han indicating the feeling of being home again is just the right feeling for the moment and that slick smile on his face shows that he knows returning home can also signal a return to form.

Why this is touching to me is that it serves not only the purpose of showing Han Solo’s transcendence from a place of wandering uncertainty, it signaled me in the audience that the intent of the film was to bring me back home. For me, as for countless others, Star Wars is an integral piece of my childhood, my development, my life. The dismay and confusion I felt trying to warp Episodes I, II, and III into something that fit into that previously established and foundational part of my life left me in a similar state of existential uncertainty that Han finds himself in when The Force Awakens begins. Having the film recognize that, while it is tugging on nostalgia strings, it is an attempt to return home for the series was called out by the right character at the right time in the film to elicit a few tears from this lifelong Star Wars fan.

Moment the second: Chewie hugs Leia, tugs at Bron’s heartstrings.

Like this, but more HD

Like this, but more HD

The scene is this: General Leia steps off a ship right in front of Han Solo and Chewbacca and the audience is treated to a moment where Han, the guy who always has something to say about everything is caught speechless. He is reuniting with a woman he loved, yet left. His sense of adventure and fighting for the right cause has just been reignited by meeting and traveling with Rey, Finn, and BB-8. But, he knows when it came down to it with Leia in the past, he did what he always does and took care of himself first. There is a complex internal struggle going on inside Han Solo and while the immediacy of the tension is broken up by C-3PO’s antics, it is Chewbacca who compassionately and touchingly diffuses the entire moment with a big Wookie hug for Leia. Chewie doesn’t care about the tense interplay or what an action in this small period of time might mean for the future. He just knows that he loves Leia and he is overcome with happiness at being given the opportunity to see her again.

Similar to the feeling of being home again that I mentioned earlier, this brief encounter truly hits the mark for me in terms of its rawness and empathy. When we are faced with the problem of trying to find the right words or overthinking the outcome, it can be easy to miss how special it is that we are lucky enough to just be. And Chewie wordlessly expresses his gratitude for the importance of coexistence so perfectly that I was greatly moved. Perhaps less to sadness, but instead a combination of nostaljoy and hope.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens isn’t a sad film. It is an adventure that reminds me what it was like to be a kid and fantasize about piloting X-wings or swinging a lightsaber. Bringing the kind of joy for a couple hours that reminds a person that lovable characters can find themselves in high-stakes action, but still have time to form close bonds with one another gets your boy Bron here right in the feels.

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I like to be challenged to think about things, so I studied Philosophy in college. Now I am paying for it.

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