This Valentine’s Day, go for something deeper than the classic rom-com!
The 1988 film “Jeweller’s Shop” is based on the play of the same title written by Karol Wojtyla. Wojtyla, who later became Pope Saint John Paul II, offers a beautiful reflection on the meaning of marriage and human love. A perfect choice for a thought-provoking movie date night!
The plot follows the lives of two couples who meet in their youth in Poland. After World War II, their lives take dramatically different paths that resonate through the generations as their respective children grow up and begin looking for love of their own. The film brings up questions on the motivation for marriage and the different ways that sacrificial love can and should be lived out.
Viewers may find it to be a fruitful opportunity to reflect on their own preconceptions of what marriage is and the ways that their family of origin has impacted them. Amidst a culture dominated by hookups and divorce, this film challenges us to grapple with the real weightiness of marriage.
In the central scene of the film, the two young lovers visit the jeweler to purchase wedding rings. In a deeply philosophical monologue, the jeweler speaks the following words:
“The weight of these gold rings is not the weight of metal, but the proper weight of man. Man’s own weight. Yes, the proper weight of man. It’s the weight of constant gravity, riveted to a short flight. Freedom and frenzy trapped in a tangle. And in that tangle, in that weight which at the same time is heavy and intangible, there is love – love which springs from freedom, like water from a rift in the earth.
So tell me, my young friend, what is the proper weight of man? …Man is not transparent. He’s not monumental. He’s certainly not simple. As a matter of fact, he’s rather poor. Now, that’s alright for one man, maybe two. But what about four or six, or a hundred or a million? If we took everyone on Earth and multiplied their weakness by their greatness, we’d have the product of humanity, of human life.”
The weight of a wedding ring is the weight of man and, indeed, the weight of humanity. The Jeweller goes on to weigh the individual rings that the couple has chosen and informs them that separately the rings weigh nothing, but together they constitute the “proper weight of man.”
- What does it mean to me that the weight of my vocation has bearing on humanity as a whole? How does my individual devotion to my vocation reflect that truth?
- What are some ways that I can see the reality that ‘the two shall become one”(Ephesians 5:31) in marriage?
- Which character do I resonate with the most? What virtue (or lack thereof) do they possess and how does that impact the trajectory of their life?
- Which scene of the film stood out to me the most?
- What does “sacrifice” mean to me? What does it mean to each of the characters? What happens when you have sacrifice separated from love? Or love separate from sacrifice?
- The priest in the film, Father Adam, plays a pivotal role in the early formation of the couples. How do the sacraments of Marriage and Holy Orders support each other?