Why Angelina Is One Of The Most Remarkable People

BY ANNETTE LANGE

Angelina Jolie is one of those actors who would have the ability, means and even the excuse to withdraw from any work or the public eye if she wanted. She could be satisfied with her success, after being deemed one of the most beautiful and rich women alive by the media, and having won the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

She is an extremely busy and recognised woman, and I have no idea how she manages to balance everything. But all the awards and successes don’t seem to be enough to make her slow down.

Ever since shooting Lara Croft: Tomb Raider in Cambodia and her exposure to the worldwide humanitarian crises, she hasn’t stopped being involved in humanitarian causes.

Hollywood actress and Oscar winner, Angelina Jolie, looks at an Afghan refugee making bricks at a bricks kiln in the outskirts of Islamabad

Upon receiving the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, she shared in her speech:

“[My mother] was very clear that nothing would mean anything if I didn’t live a life of use to others.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ATgxOp31oI

Sure, Jolie didn’t always have the best reputation or set a great example. She’s always been considered a bit of a wild child. She’s been divorced three times, was accused of being a homewrecker, and the list goes on…

She doesn’t deny any of this, instead she recalls:

“I came into this business, young and worried about my own experiences and my own pain. And it was only when I began to travel and look and live beyond my home that I understand my responsibilities to others.”

She has gone above and beyond to take her mother’s advice seriously. She knows at the end of the day, what matters is not how good you’ve been in what you’ve done, but how you’ve used what you had to do good and love those around you.

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It’s such a common trap for one in the entertainment business to be self-absorbed and see a powerful performance, recognition or fame as the end goal.

When talking about her past, Jolie recalls being “absolutely self-destructive.” She continues, “I think a lot of young people in this business lose their way. You don’t know what is of value. You don’t know where you are. And you know something’s wrong, because it isn’t life as it actually is. It’s like living in some warped reality.”

She’s been exposed to the ‘real world’ with its cruelty and injustice, and she’s thrown herself right in to do something about it.

Her humanitarian efforts include the fight against the refugee crisis, conservation and community development, child immigration and education as well as human and women’s rights. Rather than just donating money and raising awareness about the crises, she’s determined to go there herself, visiting the respective people groups and taking time to hear their stories and giving them a voice.

I’m fascinated by her not stopping her involvement in film entirely. Now that she’s been exposed to more pressing matters, she could have seen the film industry as less important, but no.

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She is still doing what she loves. She acts, directs (shedding light on other actors), writes, and tells stories which challenge and encourage her audience, while being dedicated to her many humanitarian efforts.

Jolie isn’t perfect. She knows this, but she’s  trying to be the best she can be. Let’s cut her some slack, and use her as a source of inspiration instead of a target of criticism.

Are you living in a warped reality? Is it possible that you’re focused in achieving something that doesn’t matter at the end of the day? What legacy are you leaving behind? Is your life/art/craft of use to others?

Even though you probably won’t have the same means and resources as her, there’s always a way to invest in the lives of others and get a shift of perspective. Use Jolie’s willpower and drive as an inspiration.

 

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WHY WE NEED HEROES

To kick off my film school experience back in 2012, all of the students and the staff of the school went to see The Dark Knight Rises at the theatre. On our way back from the theatre, we started talking about why superhero films are so popular, and it made me think why we are drawn to these larger than life characters.

 

I am sure there are many reasons people go to see caped heroes on the silver screen; escapism, fun, spectacle, identifying with characters that feel like outcasts and misfits…

 

I wanted to dig deeper than that.

 

I once watched a video of a professor giving a presentation on the significance of heroes in wild west literature. He spoke of how people seem to have a fascination with characters that take matters of doing the right thing into their own hands and save us all from evil. He then went on to explain how he believed that these characters even have inspired and shaped America as a nation.

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The western genre was the most popular genre of the first half of the 20th century much like superhero movies are today.

 

As I was watching the interview, I realized that the prominence and influence of this type of character must have carried on into comic books and superhero movies.

 

These types of characters exist in many forms of art and literature spanning hundreds even thousands of years and many cultures, not just the American.

 

In superhero movies these types of characters take center stage.

 

During The Great Depression of the 1930’s, the first superhero (as we know them) was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

 

He is an alien, brought up in the heartland of America, has godlike powers and stands up for truth and justice.

 

His name is Superman.

 

The Great Depression caused a loss of hope in the lives of many, and I believe one of the reasons why comics featuring Superman became so popular during this time was the hope this man embodies.

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He is a character that willingly uses his great power to protect the public and sacrifices himself and his desires for the greater good. Superman became the archetype on which pretty much all other superheroes were created or modeled.

 

One of my favorite quotes from a superhero movie is from Spider-Man 2. Peter Parker is passing by Aunt May’s house and sees the neighbor’s kid helping her move a few things.

 

Aunt May tells Peter that the kid wants to be like Spider-Man. This is during a time in which Peter has given up being Spider-Man and it is one of a few key moments that makes him realise that he must embrace his heroic duty once again.

“Lord knows, kids like Henry need a hero. Courageous, self-sacrificing people. Setting examples for all of us. Everybody loves a hero. People line up for them, cheer them, scream their names. And years later, they’ll tell how they stood in the rain for hours just to get a glimpse of the one who taught them how to hold on a second longer.“

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I believe one of the reasons we need heroes is because we need someone to look up to; someone who can teach us to be courageous and self-sacrificing in the face of adversity. Someone who brings us hope when we have none. Someone who can inspire us to live virtuous lives.

 

These stories, at their best, affirm, teach and inspire.

 

I also believe that we are drawn to superheroes, because there are times where we need someone to save us.

 

Some people believe that mankind is able to solve it’s problems entirely by its own prowess and will.

 

I don’t actually think mankind can save itself. I believe that we are so drawn to these selfless, god-like characters, because we need a hero.

 

Whether you agree with that statement or not, you cannot deny that there are seasons of our lives where we need others to save us to and to help us stay alive.

 

Think of the first couple of years of your life; you were a helpless being entirely dependent on your parents for your survival. It is a completely natural and unavoidable part of your life. It is by design, and I think this carries into the rest of your life, as well.

 

My point is that we are drawn to superheroes or heroic characters in general because we have a natural and innate desire to be saved and to become more like the hero who saves us.

 

In the first half of the 20th century these heroes wore boots and stetson hats, rode horses like the wind blew and knew how to use a six shooter.

 

Today they wear masks and coloured tights.

 

I don’t think we will get tired of hearing stories of caped heroes who come to our rescue any time soon, and if we do, they will just appear in a different form, in a different costume.