I recently saw a film, Jeff, Who Lives at Home, (Rated R for language including sexual references and some drug use) in which the main character goes through life looking for signs, cosmic clues as to what he should do, and he tries to follow them. This approach to life has paralyzed him as he mostly sits and waits for the next sign. Finally, someone calls his number accidentally and asks for a guy named Kevin. This is his sign: he must find Kevin. The film chronicles his meandering quest, ultimately presenting a view of life that holds “love” as paramount and finding it as a matter of watching for signs and going with your gut. Love, itself, is presented as a mostly gut-level experience: life is good as long as you feel loved or in love. This picture of love is trumped, however, in the movie’s climax, as the quest of the two main characters, Jeff and his brother, prompts them to engage in daring acts of selfless love.
The film also takes a look at the temptation to confuse friendship for romance when family relationships become emotionally unfulfilling. It does not necessarily offer a conclusion. But it does show that love is more than simply being understood. Again, love means being selfless, concerned for others, listening to and doing for them. So while Jeff and his brother both yearn to be loved, they find that what they really need is to love each other. Relational fulfillment, whether between spouses or siblings, will never come as long as they are focused on themselves. Real satisfaction can only be found in a selfless, giving love. Of course, the characters in this film may never fully learn this lesson. But as for the audience, they are at least treated to an engaging and thought-provoking 83 minutes.
Based on the opening quote “(Everyone and everything is interconnected in this universe. Stay pure of heart and you will see the signs. Follow the signs, and you will uncover your destiny.”), I suppose the intended theme of the film may be about signs. It certainly drives the plot. And although it would be an interesting discussion, I believe that being loved, the motivation of the characters, is the theme most worth exploring here. I give it four out of five stars for good writing, directing and acting.
WARNING: This film uses f-words liberally. I would not recommend it to those weak of heart, and certainly not for repeated viewings.