In Fighting With My Family, Saraya (Florence Pugh) scolds her pouting brother Zak (Jack Lowden). His dreams of becoming a big-time professional wrestler are gone, and he can't cope.
What she says to him affected me so much that I spontaneously reevaluated my life, which seems like a ridiculous thing to write since I'm 63 years old. But what she says to him was just what this retired teacher and aspiring writer needed to hear.
What Saraya said to Zak is the kind of thing film characters say that makes movies (still) important, valuable and relevant. What Saraya said to Zak might compel you to reevaluate your life, too. Or maybe reconsider your aspirations.
What Saraya said to Zak was:
Just 'cause millions of people aren't cheering when you do it...
it doesn't mean it's not important.
What was he doing?
Zak, you're teaching a blind kid how to wrestle.
How is that even possible?
Which was special and wonderful, but the specifics of what Zak was doing aren't as significant as recognizing that countless people are doing important work without millions of people cheering.
Certified nursing assistants, caregivers to the elderly, child care providers, custodians, restaurant servers, fruit and vegetable pickers, occupational therapists and special education teacher aides (not to mention special education teachers) are a few of the many who toil in obscurity. But, as Saraya says, that doesn't mean what they're doing isn't important. Their work may not get applause, fans, followers or likes, but their work is vital.
I confess that I wanted all of those because I considered my work vital. I wanted my lessons to go viral. I wanted my books on best seller lists. I wanted my words heard around the world.
The irony of this post is I want it to reach millions. I want everyone to appreciate work that matters, even if it helps only a few (or just one blind kid). But if only you read this - if only you and I are affected by what Saraya said to Zak - I can live with it.
(Note: Stephen Merchant's script is based on a true story.)