A large chunk of the world is currently stuck indoors due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Many are forced to self-isolate themselves in their homes. The fortunate ones are with their family, but some are social distancing alone. Isolation is a concept that is often explored in cinema and television. Sometimes the isolation is wanted by souls weary of the world and the people who populate it, but mostly it is forced, either due to, say, a zombie apocalypse or a ship capsizing, stranding the character on an island.
The human mind is resilient. Sure, it can go insane if left alone for too long. Even the introverts among us crave human interaction once in a while. So when in isolation, the characters in movies and shows cope by interacting with a person or animal, whether real or imagined to stay sane.
Here are a few movies that that delve into isolation:
Perhaps the ultimate movie that explores isolation, Robert Zemeckis directorial Cast Away is about Tom Hanks’ FedEx employee whose aeroplane crashes into the ocean and he finds shelter on a small island. He spends four years on the island, and we see him slowly losing his mind. He copes with his utter loneliness by drawing a face on a volleyball with his blood and talking to it.
Into the Wild
This Emile Hirsch starrer is based on a real story and a non-fiction book of the same name. Perhaps because the events in the film actually occurred, this film is a little more effective than most others in this list. The story of Chris McCandless is full of joy and heartbreak.
I Am Legend
Will Smith stars as the final man alive in New York and among the few in the world that was overrun by creatures that are a mixture of vampires and zombies. This Francis Lawrence directorial was based on the 1954 novel of the same name by Richard Matheson. Smith’s character Dr Robert Neville dealt with his isolation and grief of losing his family, thanks to his German Shepherd Samantha. But even with Samantha, Neville, searching for a cure to the virus that turned the people of earth into mindless cannibalistic monster, started talking to the mannequins.
Life of Pi
Ang Lee’s astonishing achievement in visual effects and storytelling, Life of Pi, based on Yann Martel’s 2001 novel of the same name, tells the story of an Indian boy who is stranded on a small sailboat along with a ferocious 450-pound Bengal Tiger. Initially hostile, Richard Parker, which is the name of the tiger, and the boy learn to co-exist together on a long journey across the Pacific to Mexico.
James Franco plays the role of real-life hiker Aron Ralston in this Danny Boyle film. In Utah, while moving through a slot canyon, Aron slips, falls and a boulder crushes one of his hands against a wall, thereby pinning him. What follows is a bloody and incredibly inspiring story of the hiker finally amputating his arm using a blunt multi-tool blade.
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