A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to see Look to the Sky, the latest documentary from Brett Culp. Batman fans will know Culp from his documentary Legends of the Knight (2013), which looked at individuals who were inspired by Batman into overcoming obstacles in their lives and communities. Legends as a film lead me on an interesting road to learning about story.
Look to the Sky is not a movie that I feel like I can review. Not to say that I have a long list of complaints about how the film was made, because I don’t (I thought it was beautifully constructed and truly inspiring), but I think when a movie or a book or whatever touches you in a certain way, that talking about it on a technical level can be reductive in how we look at story.
The film introduced me to Daniel Taylor, who’s books have been a huge part of my life the past few years. They have given me much comfort in my educational goals and my own personal life. The way he writes about stories and how our lives revolve around them has made an impact that is immeasurable.
This was why I struggled with my Wonder Woman review. That was a movie that I thought was absolutely beautiful, but there were things that happened in that movie that spoke to me on a personal level, and I felt like offering a counter-story was a more honest response at that time.
A counter-story is a term used in narrative therapy when a therapist uses a fictional or historical story to help their client reframe a difficult time that they are going through. I think we all use stories this way. Look to the Sky was no exception for me.
Look to the Sky is about the spirit of Superman. It featured the story of several young people and the adults who surround them and how they had a spirit of heroism like the Man of Steel. I could go through every story and talk about what I like, but I would much rather you experience that when you have an opportunity to see the film for yourself.
I work in a community where I am surrounded by stories of kids who are facing obstacles in between them and success. And going into this summer, I was feeling burnt out. I had come to a place where I felt like I had given everything I could and I wasn’t seeing the kind of results that I had hoped for. There is one story in Look to the Sky about Annaliese Cobb, a young girl who swam across Lake Ontario to raise money for a camp for children with cancer. And things for her didn’t really seem like they were working out at times.
During the night, Annaliese was pushed backwards by strong currents and wind. Even though she was physically pushing herself forward, the water was taking her backwards. She could have quit at that moment, but she kept swimming. And when the weather improved, she began making progress again. I think that this is where I have been, and maybe some of you are there, too.
As superhero fans, I think we all have a natural desire to see things get better, but we are often times surrounded by stories that make it seem like change is impossible. I think what our heroes teach us is that if we persevere in the midst of the worst storms and the darkest nights, we will see change happening at sunrise.
If you have an opportunity to see Look to the Sky in a theater near you, I could not recommend picking up a ticket more. I guarantee you will leave encouraged, and perhaps a bit tempted to go out and buy a red cape. The great things is though, is that Look to the Sky proves that you can be heroic both with or without one. But honestly, the cape could be a really cool look.
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