Have you ever wanted to be God? Have you ever wanted to have almighty powers? When things do not work out, how nice would it be to make a world that works the way you want? Everyone must have chased rainbows at least once. In the movie “Bruce Almighty (2003),” dreams become reality. It tells the story of a man who really becomes God for seven days.
“I’m pushing 40, and what have I got to show for it? I’ve hit some kind of a ceiling here.”
The main character, Bruce Nolan, is a television field reporter for Eyewitness News in Buffalo who always desires to be the news anchorman. He covers the daily lives of his simple neighbors and entertains people with funny stories, but he is always dissatisfied with the little news he is given. His dream is to replace the soon-to-retire anchor, or at least convey the scene of a dramatic incident. Bruce is jealous of his fellow Evan Baxter, who monopolizes the serious news. On the other hand, Bruce’s girlfriend, Grace Connelly, who runs the nursery, is satisfied with her life. Grace has a warm heart to help the world in little ways every day. Grace always encourages Bruce to be a reporter who entertains others.
Bruce “I’ll never be an anchorman, not with this. The job is right there, but I cannot reach it. This is my luck. This is my luck!”
“Like the great falls, is the bedrock of my life eroding beneath me?”
Then one day, a chance comes for Bruce. His boss assigns Bruce to cover the news live on the 23rd anniversary of the famous “Maid of the Mist” at Niagara Falls. Since live news is a must to become an anchor, he is happy that his promotion is just around the corner. He’s excited that his life will be on track now. But while he is out covering live news, the studio announces that the next anchor will be his rival, Evan. He feels the injustice and hurls abuses in front of millions of viewers on live television. Eventually, Bruce is kicked out of the broadcasting station.
Bruce “Some people are drenched, freezing on a stupid boat in a stupid hat while others are in a comfy news studio, sucking up the glory.”
Bruce’s adversity is described comically, but these scenes in real life are not so pleasant. That’s because we also encounter troublesome situations several times a day when things are not working out as we anticipated, and we rail at our fate like Bruce. To make matters worse, Bruce is hit by gangsters, his car is wrecked, he quarrels with his girlfriend, and his bad luck only continues. Just before he explodes in anger, he shakes his finger at the sky and blames God for his misfortune. He complains to God about his life from A to Z. At that moment, Bruce’s pager is beeping, but he ignores the strange signal coming from an odd number.
Bruce “God is ignoring me completely. God is a mean kid with a magnifying glass, and I’m the ant. He could fix my life if he wanted, but he’d rather burn off my feelers and watch me squirm. I’m not okay with a mediocre life!”
“When you leave this building, you will be endowed with all my powers.”
After ignoring the page from the unknown number several times, Bruce makes a call to the mysterious number. Beyond the phone, a voice guides the way for him, and Bruce arrives at a strange old building called “Omni Presents.” He meets an unidentified cleaner there. The cleaner surprisingly introduces himself to Bruce as God. God, who appeared in response to Bruce’s grudges, gives him almighty power. He comes to change Bruce’s pessimistic view that misfortunes never cease to occur to him.
Is it a dream or reality? Bruce is now an omnipotent being who can do anything at will. Bruce has been busy using his ability to fulfill his dreams rather than listening to people’s prayers. He makes Evan get the chop, and as he has long wished, Bruce becomes an anchor. However, his carelessness destroys urban order and makes peaceful city turn into a quagmire, triggering riots. Even Grace leaves Bruce, exhausted by his petty pride. He goes to God to obtain help, and God reveals to Bruce one big truth: even though all people have the ability to create miracles themselves, they always want God to do it instead of them. Of course, God is right. Everyone would have countless times prayed to God before making enough effort to achieve something on their own.
God “Parting your soup is not a miracle; it’s a magic trick. A single mom who’ s working two jobs and still finds time to take her kid to soccer practice, that’s a miracle. A teenager who says no to drugs and yes to an education, that’s a miracle. People want me to do everything for them. But what they don’t realize is they have the power. You wanna see a miracle? Be the miracle.”
“You win. I’m done. I don’t wanna be God.”
Can Bruce find what is most precious to him? Bruce hands over the anchor position to Evan again and goes back to being a reporter, but he still has something to solve. There is one thing that cannot be solved by Bruce’s power. It is the free will of man. Bruce realizes that miracles are not grandiose, but that someone who is dear to him is to keep his side. In the end, God listens to Bruce’s prayer for Grace to be returned, and Bruce goes back to the life he had before becoming God. Something has changed, though; he is now content with the role of a reporter who delivers light news and loves Grace with all his heart. Bruce now no longer takes for granted Grace who is always supportive of him. Furthermore, every time he finishes the news, he shouts:
Bruce “I’m Bruce Nolan for Eyewitness News with all the folks reminding you to be the miracle!”
“What kind of miracle would I make if I had superpowers?” It is a question that everyone would have thought about jokingly or seriously. However, a miracle is different from a magic trick. Unlike magic, which requires special spells, a miracle requires only our effort. A miracle is not a great thing. Nothing is more miraculous than doing one’s best in a given situation. So be the miracle!
By Kim Min-ji
Associate Editor of Culture Section