Grief and catharsis in JJ Abrams’ Super 8

With The Force Awakens out this week, we revisit the Star Wars director’s wondrous 2011 blockbuster.

Adam Cook

@AdamCook

In JJ Abrams 2011 film, Super 8, Joe’s (Joel Courtney) crush, Alice (Elle Fanning), shows up at his bedroom window during a power outage. Their intimate exchange seemingly revs up Joe’s projector, resurrecting images of his mother, who died on a shift at the local mill while filling in for Alice’s drunk father.

In Abrams’ homage to Spielberg – which is also a tribute to the love of making movies – images take on an extra dimension as an intermediary, bringing the characters together in a shared catharsis, as Joe expels his grief and Alice expels her guilt – the projector whirring until the reel reaches its end.

Published 14 Dec 2015

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