Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Chut Up! Cherita Chen Is Important?

Still movie-addled for so many reasons. While I'm on the subject: a thought on "Donnie Darko," which I just recently watched again and which has enough loose ends to keep my head busy. I have a small theory. Really, it's nothing, but it's a fun way to look at the movie.

I think Cherita Chen could be important, more so than a casual viewer might think.

In short, Cherita seems like a fairly minor character, but she happens to be present for a lot of key moments throughout the film. Sometimes she has lines, sometimes she's in the background, being all sad and dumpy. In one of the more interesting scenes — and one of the ones where she actually gets to do something — she drops the book that has the title character's name written on it. And though that might seem like the kind of thing a high school girl might do when she's suffering from the terrors of an unrequited crush, I can't help myself from wondering if it represents something more. Think about it: Cherita's shining moment is the odd abstract dance routine she performs late in the movie. It's bizarre. No one gets it. But it's creative in a way that a thoughtful first-time viewer might not have thought Cherita would have been capable of.

My theory is that the book Cherita drops isn't just a stupid book: It's the movie itself, the movie "Donnie Darko." She's this strange, creative type who happens to be around to witness bits of a story here and there. She doesn't understand what she saw — or, especially, what caused Donnie to die — but she took the pieces she knew and used them as the foundation upon which she built a creative, bizarre story that not a lot of people initially got. I mean, what better way to describe the movie, right?

Like I said, it's actually nothing, but it's nonetheless an interesting way to make Cherita Chen feel better about themselves.

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