“Is That My Belt?”
The Darjeeling Limited is the fifth film by director Wes Anderson, and one of my favorites. The film follows three brothers, Francis(Owen Wilson) Jack(Jason Schwartzman), and Peter (Adrien Brody), who had not spoken in a year, attempting to reconnect by traveling together, by train, across India. In the film the brothers, not only travel weighed down with physical baggage, which was their dead fathers and has a prominent visual presence, but they also carry a great amount of emotional baggage on the trip. A large portion of the plot revolves around the brothers dealing with the emotional wounds of their father having been suddenly killed, abandonment by their mother, and a cornucopia of other problems that had left several marks and in a way divided them. For most of the The Darjeeling Limited, Francis is decorated with bandages from what you find out later in the film, is the result of an attempted suicide. After misadventure and tragedy, the brothers find their selves in the bathroom of an airport. It is here that Francis, thinking he can remove his bandages, takes them off, only to find he is not yet fully healed. His brothers then reply assuring him that he is “getting there,” and that his wounds will “add a lot of character.” This is foreshadowing as the brothers would still have to get over the obstacle of meeting their mother, who, as I stated before, abandoned them. It is after meeting her and attempting to come to some understanding about why she left the family, she flees and they are once again abandoned by her. It is at this point they climb a a mountain to do a ritual of brotherly bonding, which they had attempted and failed to do twice throughout the course of the film, finally succeeding. On top of climbing a physical mountain to do so, the brothers had climbed an emotional one also, finding healing and ultimately reconnecting. As the Whitman’s travel to meet another train, they arrive late. Attempting to catch the train, running along the platform, it becomes apparent they have to either leave their baggage behind, or miss the train. Here the film goes into slow motion, and the Kinks song Powerman plays as the Whitman brothers discard and leave behind all their baggage, making it onto their train. This is a cathartic moment, symbolizing the letting go of the brothers emotional baggage. At this point the film ends with a brief dialogue implying the brothers unity, and that they would continue together united.
(The Whitman brothers leave their baggage behind to catch a new train.)
“That’s Our Train!”
Like the Whitman brothers we have both physical and mental wounds, causing us to carry a lot of baggage. If given the time to heal, those wounds will heal, in turn adding character, but before we take off the bandages and catch a new train, we have to let our baggage go. Our baggage may not be a tragically killed father, attempted suicide, or abandonment by our mother, but we have baggage all the same. For those of us who are believers we do not need to go to India, climb a mountain, or catch a train to lose that baggage, we simply have to give it to God. Even in times that we cannot get rid of the baggage, He will hold the baggage for us.The more baggage we hold onto, the greater we will be weighed down and immobilized by it. What baggage do you have in your life, and what are you doing to deal with it? In the same way the Whitman brothers had to overcome their issues to lose their baggage, we must do likewise with ours. Do not miss the train of the present or future, by being held back by the baggage of your past.