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'The Last Jedi' Is About Mistakes And Choices, Not Destiny.

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After seeing The Last Jedi over the weekend and reading several interpretations of the movie, one theme seems to have become very clear in this movie: our path is led by mistakes and choices, not destiny.

We can debate whether this movie was awesome or awful later, but for now, this theme is resonating with me as a parent. I want so much to do the right thing for my son, to give him the best life I can, but ultimately, the person he becomes will be his choice. Just as it was my choice growing up.


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I could say that Kylo Ren, much like Anakin, turned to the darkside because his mother sent him away to begin his jedi training. Her expectations of him as well as the loneliness he felt for her ultimately drove him away from the Jedi path. I could also blame Luke for turning on Kylo after seeing the darkness grow within. Luke’s betrayal is what drove Kylo to pull a full on Vader from the prequel.

But the truth declared throughout the movie was Kylo has always been conflicted, feeling both the light and dark forces in him. And he continued to make choices feeding both of those forces, killing his father in Force Awakens but hesitating to pull the trigger on his mother in TLJ. In each of those scenes, I could really feel how tormented he was between responsibility, expectations, love, tradition, and his own identity.

We could also debate that Kylo’s actions are a result of nature versus nurture, but Kylo’s parents were quite literally the greatest people in the universe and he still chose the dark side.

Meanwhile, Rey’s parents were complete bags of garbage who sold her for beer money, and she chose to fight on side of the Rebellion. Of course, just as young Kylo was conflicted, Rey also found that both light and dark forces flowed within. On the island of Ahch-To, Rey explores the dark and mysterious cave and that willingness to explore her darker side scared Luke almost to a point of refusing to continue her lessons.

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This movie is about growth and change and perspective. I no longer see a clear villian or hero because both Kylo and Rey are a little of both. On Ahch-To, Luke explains to Rey that the force doesn’t belong to just Jedi or Sith and it would be vain to believe that. She witnesses that the force on both sides connects all of us and everything. There’s light and dark, death and rebirth; a balance.

This very important lesson rules everything about this movie, and real life. Kylo reminds me of myself as a teenager (obviously except the murdering part), knowing right from wrong but so desperately wanting to make my own decisions, even in spite of consequence. Acting on the lessons my parents taught would make me like my parents, but acting on my own feelings would let me find myself. My choices and mistakes let me grow and learn about the world and about myself.

Now as a parent, I’m trying my hardest to do everything right for my son, but I know I’m making mistakes. I’m worried that everything I do or don’t do with have some permanent effect on him and always end up feeling guilty at the end of the night for not being a better mom. And while I worry, I see this toddler testing the waters of his own conflict. He knows not to throw his toys, but does so anyway to see how it feels, what happens when it falls, and how I react. He’s already figuring out what he can do and who he is, even at such a little age.

Watching this little boy grow and getting to know him is truly spectacular. And for both of us, it seems were are just trying to maintain a good balance. The more I think about TLJ, the more I really love the complex undertones. I think it makes a strong statement to us, the fans, as well as to the other movies from the series. Sometimes we have to push away from what we know, we have to let go of the old, to make way for something new, something just ours. And I think that’s beautiful.

Happy Holidays and May The Force Be With You!

Rielly is a part-time writer and full-time mama to an adorable autistic toddler. Her favorite hobbies include naptime, drinking coffee, and trips to Target. Follow her online @riellygrey.

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