Finally, That Paper on the Rain Scene from ‘Castaway’
Finally, after being lost at sea for nearly two decades (actually it was found in my mom’s attic in a box of my old college papers) this previously-unpublished review I wrote for my school paper, The Prattler. But now, just under the statute of limitations and in time for its 20th anniversary, a proper critique of one of cinema’s magical movie moments: the climactic rain scene when Chuck (played by Tom Hanks) finally goes to see Kelly (Helen Hunt) at her home and returns the watch that he says saved his life on the desert island. If you didn’t cry during this scene, you have needles running through your veins. I broke up with someone for not crying during this movie (and for laughing when Wilson floated away).
But fair is fair, the iconic scene had major problems that got a blind free pass when this Oscar-nominated movie was released. Closer examination reveals many examples of being tone deaf to men. Number one, the car. Who just hands the keys of a car over to someone without hours of back-and-forth over paperwork? When I sold my 2005 Saturn on Craigslist, I had to follow the buyer to the DMV, switch the plates, and we still got it wrong. The buyer was picked up by the cops within 24 hours––he was a dangerous fugitive with all false papers––and demolished the Saturn in a car chase that involved a food truck in front of a hospital.
I trust Kelly, and that’s an extreme example, but Chuck just pulls out of the driveway in the rainstorm uninsured? Not even a, “I’ll fax over that paperwork over to you Monday, Chuck.” Maybe not the most romantic detail to include but believability is needed. By the way, that’s a 1999 Cherokee. Chuck was lost in 1995. The newly styled front end first appeared in 1997 models, and the wheels were first available in 1999. The dashboard and instrument cluster are from the newer model. The front blinkers on the 1995 Cherokee were attached to the headlights, not on the front fender. Just saying.
Never mind, let’s go to Exhibit B. Chuck drives down the driveway and makes a right onto the street. Two seconds later Kelly comes running out of the garage down the long (maybe a good 75 feet) driveway into the pouring rain and screams, “Jack! Jack!” Chuck is probably about a football field away. He would have needed a dog’s superpowers to have heard these cries from that distance in the pouring rain. Instead he guns the SUV in reverse, and the Cherokee miraculously, and illogically, skids back into the frame. It’s important to note, that up until now there is no character in the movie named Jack. Two minutes later, when Kelly sits in the car Chuck, she will tell him he was the love of her life.
Let’s move on, as we learn in this famous scene, Kelly certainly did. For a couple of years, she held out for news of Chuck’s rescue, sticking to the story “I always knew you were alive” but she listened to her friends who deplored her to move on (some friends). So there was a whole big funeral for Chuck. Obviously, Kelly did some speed grieving because we now know she married Chuck’s evil dentist and already has a little girl, who is now about two, with him. Chuck was gone four years. Even if Chuck’s dentist was invited to the funeral (okay, your general physician, I can see. Your urologist maybe. But who invites the departed’s dentist?) and they hit it off there big time at ‘the love of her life’s’ funeral…Jesus Louise, even if Kelly doesn’t go to full term with her daughter, you’re still talking about just a three to six month period of courtship before a wedding. And she had a fancy wedding! We know because there are photos on the mantel over Chuck’s shoulder in the wonderful rain scene of the bride and groom in tux and gown feeding each wedding cake. If it was me, and I just-fake pretended to bury my husband, I would have taken it down a notch. Done something low-key, like a City Hall thing or Vegas drive-thru. Definitely no photographer. So essentially Kelly went from grieving widow to being on the market in a matter of minutes and this from a woman who in the beginning of the movie stated she didn’t want to move so fast when Chuck, ‘the love of her life,’ proposes to her at the airport. It would have been totally within his right for Chuck, in this famous rain scene to turn to Kelly and just say, “What the @#$&!” and really ask her to break down a timeline with him. It’s about believability. It’s needed to anchor any movie scene, especially a great one and the rain scene is indeed a great scene but I think enough time has past for us to all look back now with a clear set of eyes and to see it for what it really is, a scene that also desperately needed a fact-checker, like the airport scene in Casablanca.