The 2014 Kickstarter-inspired release, “Wish I Was Here,” starring Zach Braff and Kate Hudson, features a multifaceted narrative for middle adulthood. Braff’s character, Aidan Bloom, is a husband and father who faces obstacles regarding career choice, parenting, faith and impending loss. As the natural progression of life runs its course, new (and rather challenging and emotionally painful) experiences manifest.
Here are eight insightful quotes from this poignant film:
When I was a kid, my brother and I used to pretend we were heroes, with swords. We were the only ones who could save the day. But perhaps we set the bar a little too high. Maybe we’re just the regular people. The ones who get saved. — Aidan
Growing up, Aidan and his brother, Noah, imagined themselves as superheroes, rescuing those in need, providing safety and comfort. As an adult, Aidan begins to embrace his humanity; he’s not immune to pitfalls. He’s not excluded from all that’s bad. And that’s okay.
When tragedy strikes, we must navigate our way through the rubble. We must save ourselves. We must become our own superheroes.
Aidan: What do we do?
Gabe: What do you mean what do we do? We move forward.
Aidan’s father, Gabe, relays that his cancer came back, and this time, it’s worse. The future is uncertain but bleak — and terrifying for the family.
In a video interview with Vanity Fair, Braff discusses how personal truth echoes the “Wish I Was Here” storyline that he co-wrote with his brother. “At the heart of it is our fear of losing our father,” he said. “I think at a certain age, it starts to register in your brain, like ‘oh my god, this person I love so much will not be here forever.’”
Upon hearing such devastating news, all we can do is deal with the present. Where do we go from here? How do we continue? Human beings are resilient. We go forward.
You spoon-feed them all your fears. — Gabe
When Aidan is reticent about sending his two young kids to public school (since as a child, he was bullied), his father says that’s he’s projecting his fears onto his children.
Sometimes, parents regard their children as extensions of who they are, when in actuality, differences do exist. Just because parents may have insecurities, fears or baggage from the past, it doesn’t have to transfer over to their children, too.
Aidan: I thought you supported my dream.
Sarah: When did this relationship become solely about supporting your dream?
Aidan decided to pursue an acting career; however, he’s frequently unemployed. His wife, Sarah, works a dead-end job to support the family financially, not having the time to explore dreams of her own.
Sometimes, doing what you love and doing what’s practical isn’t one and the same. When both partners have aspirations, hopefully a middle ground, a compromise of sorts, can be reached.
Sometimes in life you can get kinda stuck, and you feel like you should’ve changed chapters by now, but you can’t. — Aidan
Aidan’s father is dying. Aidan’s acting career is floundering. He feels stagnant. Trapped.
Being immersed in life’s transitional periods can feel like a rut. It’s standing still on a bridge, not having crossed over just yet. But maybe these chapters are supposed to teach us something. Maybe we need to let them.
Tucker: Would grandpa be able to see us when he dies?
Aidan: I don’t know buddy, nobody knows what happens when you die. There’s as many opinions as there are people. Some people will tell you with absolute certainty that they know.
Grace: But they’re wrong?
Aidan: No, I’m not saying they’re wrong. Right now I feel that they’re lucky. Cause the rest of us, until we see something that makes sense, till we hear something we believe, we’re kinda left with nothing.
When Aidan’s kids ask about the afterlife and what the death of their grandpa will truly mean, Aidan is left trying to figure out what he believes.
Having faith doesn’t have to pertain to the God mentioned in religious doctrine. Faith can be any kind of spiritual connection to anything for a sense of reprieve and guidance.
Sarah: The things left unsaid stay with us forever; I wish nothing more than if I could tell my sister how much I loved her, and how I always idolized her. But we never said those things; we just weren’t like that. And suddenly, one day, she’s gone.
Gabe: Both my boys know how I feel.
Sarah: Are you sure, Gabe? Your boys will remember this time for the rest of their lives. It will shape who they are as men.
Sarah sits by Gabe’s side in the hospital, urging him to tell his sons that he’s proud of them. That he loves them in spite of their rocky moments over the years.
Life’s short. A cliche that seems to smack us awake when we’re faced with loss. Since we only live once, say how you feel. Share yourself. Be vulnerable.
Aidan: Jump in.
Grace: But I don’t know anything about swimming.
Aidan: Jump in, I’ll be there for you.
Aidan stands in the pool, ready to teach his daughter how to swim, ready to catch her when she lands in the water.
We don’t know how everything will pan out. What we do know is that, hopefully, people will be there with love and support; people will be there to catch us when we jump.
Superhero boy photo available from Shutterstock