My sister and I watched Argo yesterday. There is no doubt, this is a good movie. It was well acted and tense, a very human story without the need for special effects to sell it. Stuff like this makes me almost forget that Ben Affleck was in one of my least favorite movies ever, Daredevil. Almost.
Something really weird happened though as I was watching the movie. As Argo progressed, I was feeling increasingly uncomfortable.
I know this was based on a true story and the hostage crisis in Iran was a very real thing that happened in 1979. Personally, I can’t believe that it lasted as long as it did and I’m glad that there was an effort made to get those 6 Americans that got out of the embassy out of Iran.
That’s cool. Really, don’t get me wrong on any of that.
The images depicted in the movie consistently showed an angry mob of people protesting in Iran, shouting out against America, burning the United States flag… y’know, the usual protest stuff. The issue is that some of these people on the screen looked like me, headscarved and all.
At one point when something happened (being vague as to not spoil the movie), someone in the theater yelled out “YEAH!” and clapped. I couldn’t help but take her victory cry as one of “Take that you foreigners!”
The people in the theater loved the movie and clapped when it was over. The credits started and included images from the movie compared to actual images from back in the day, like the fake ID card of one of the 6 Americans shown in the movie next to the actual ID card. I’m sure these scenes were interesting but my thought was that everyone was distracted and it would be best if my sister and I got out in this cover of darkness lest we catch the eye of some movie-goers who wouldn’t be able to separate us from the people on the screen.
My sister and I were walking out when my sister stopped for a second to look at the changing images on the screen while I hovered closer to the exit door. She turned around a moment later and continued to walk out with me.
“Are you sure you didn’t want to stay?” I asked. “I hear Samuel L. Jackson shows up at the end of the credits.”
“No, let’s leave before the crowd turns on us,” was her reply.
Apparently they had just shown a picture on the screen of the scene in the movie where an Iranian was burning the flag right next to the actual image from back in the day.
Yeah, time for us to get out.
It struck me as pretty funny that both my sister and I felt the same way.
I’m pretty sure though that some folks don’t understand why we even felt the way we did.
In the movie, they showed scenes from news reports from the time period of the Crisis- people in the U.S. were beating up Persians that had come to the States as students. One guy on the news said that we (the U.S.) should just shoot some of these Persian students so Iran would take notice. That’s insane but goes to show that no one is above getting caught up in the emotion of a situation.
I highly doubt that the folks in the movie theater would actually do anything but I didn’t want to deal with any “Looks” either. All I know is that when the lights came up, I didn’t want to still be sitting there.
Weird, I know, I know.
I highly recommended watching Argo though!
Here’s another post where I explore sort of the same issue – Ramifications and All That