Thursday, 17 September 2015

To die will be an awfully big adventure

Me, Earl & the Dying Girl is a quirky movie that will have a special delight for all movie buffs as it centres on the hero of the story making a film for a young cancer sufferer. High school student Greg makes parodies of films with his 'co-worker' (not friend) Earl. I am envious of Greg & Earl: if I were a student again, would probably be making movies like them.

There are so many 'teen on a journey to discovery' movies about these days and it would be easy to dismiss this as yet another one. What marks this one out is the way the narrative plays with the audience and takes a jagged line towards its poignant and uplifting conclusion. And the acting is about as naturalistic as you can get. This is a movie to see.

Whilst at university, I once spent several lunchtimes arguing with a couple of cybernetics students about whether there would ever be artificial intelligence that was superior to humans. I think I won the debate by stating that our mortality will always give us the edge. (Perhaps one of them then went off to write the Terminator series of films... or was it the Matrix?!)  

This film is about what happens to your thoughts when you are faced with your own death or indeed the death of someone that you get to know very well. Interesting questions get asked and answered. One of the critical features of leadership is having the capacity to talk about mortality as part of the life of an organisation. Leaders know that sometimes organisations can die. And the threat of this can engineer the kinds of ingenuity and creativity that a company needs to survive in a competitive market place. The leadership judgement comes in how far you push this: go too far and people will fearfully & hopelessly give up. Get it right and people will be inspired to find clever ways to improve.

How far do you push it?


This is Blog 112 in my 2014/2015 series of blogs about leadership ideas to be found in the movies of our time. You can read here as why I began doing this (with an update at the end of 2014). Please subscribe to this blog if you want to read more. Thanks. Click the label 'film' to see all the others.

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