ScreeningNotes’s review published on Letterboxd:
"Have you had any moments of stillness?"
I put off watching Sound of Metal because it didn't have any easy points of access for me, it didn't have a genre I like or a director I'm following, it didn't help me fill up any of my lists. But it is exactly what I needed right now.
I've been stressed out lately. I just moved to a new house, and there's always something to do, always something that has a higher priority than Wesley Time. I've been forcing Wesley Time into existence, which is why you still see my reviews in your feed every day, but it's taken more effort than usual on my part. I've been squeezing the hours together, trying to make every second of every minute of every hour of every day productive in some way.
Which is exactly why I put this movie off: it didn't fit into any of my lists, and my lists are how I tell myself I'm being productive. But it's also exactly why I needed this movie. This desire for productivity, this itch that I can only scratch by acting and by doing, this is exactly the problem. It is a beast, and I was feeding it—which only makes the beast hungrier, angrier, needier. The only way to quiet the beast, the only way to sooth the itch, is to sit with it.
And maybe it's also the mice in my attic that are to blame for my lack of rest, and maybe it's also deciding to quit smoking when we moved that's to blame for my dearth of peaceful moments to myself, maybe these things are also to blame for my high anxiety levels. But whatever the cause, the lack of relief is on me.
There's a famous story about the Dalai Lama. He said that on normal days he meditates for one hour, but on extremely busy days when he doesn't have a lot of free time, on those days he instead meditates for two hours. The less time you have in your life for peace and quiet, the more you need it. You have to take time to make time, as they say.
I'm not being hard on myself, I'm saying that Sound of Metal reminded me of something I had forgotten. It's not about getting your hearing back and going back on tour and producing the album. It's not about accomplishing anything at all. It's about being comfortable in your own skin. It's about embracing stillness. It's about learning to sit quietly in Joe's study. It's about sitting on a park bench, no plan, no past nor future, only present, only you. Only existence. Only life.