This week’s installment in the Ethical Dilemmas on Film series is the 2001 Jill Sprecher film Thirteen Conversations About One Thing. Here are some questions to get you started in your thinking about the film:
What is the “one thing”?
Can you figure out the actual chronology of events? Why is the film told in the particular order that it is?
Is there such a thing as a coincidence in this film?
Does the film prove that reversibility is impossible?
What does the film have to say about Schadenfreude?
The film takes place in New York City. Is this surprising to realize?
A motif is a recurring subject, theme, idea, form, shape, or figure in a work of art. Does Thirteen Conversations rely on any particular motifs?
Is there a particular character with whom you identify or sympathize? Is this identification or sympathy surprising to you?
We see each of the main characters in his/her workplace. Does the film have anything to say about work?
Does the film have any religious/spiritual dimension? Does it believe in the possibility of grace?
Why is it important that John Turturro’s character is a physicist?
When the director, Jill Sprecher, moved to New York City, she was mugged and landed in the hospital with a concussion. Her life spiraled into a serious depression. One day a stranger on the street smiled at her and “the curse was lifted.” Does the movie reflect Sprecher’s optimism? Despair?