The Wednesdays

The Wednesdays

The Wednesdays is a 13 minute Irish (I think; it’s from the U.K. or Ireland, anyway) short film. I suppose it would be classified as a comedy, but it tries to make some serious points.

The police charge into an elderly couple’s apartment as a result of a misunderstanding, but while there they spy illegal drugs in plain sight. The bulk of the film then consists of the police interrogation of the old woman.

As she explains, she and her husband had settled into a routine where they had something or other that they did on six of the seven days that made them tolerable. Nothing very exciting—mostly about on the level of watching a certain TV show. It sounds like they had a pretty drab, waiting-to-die, existence. She notes, for instance, that her husband was showing signs of senility and was self-conscious about it, not wanting to leave the house or do much of anything.

So six of the days were just OK, but Wednesdays were worse. That was the day they hadn’t come up with any routine activity to distract them from their plight. It was their boring, depressing day.

But then they experimented with taking ecstasy that one day per week and it all changed. They could be goofy, affectionate, enthused, experimental, unself-conscious—all the things they had had in their youth and gradually lost.

They limited it to just Wednesdays, as an exciting novelty they could look forward to each week, presumably sensing that this new activity that had become something positive in their lives in moderation was unlikely to remain positive if done to excess.

The police and other authority figures are mostly not impressed, and stick to their anti-drug roles.

It’s a pro-drug film in a sense, and indeed it’s hard not to sympathize with these kindly old folks just wanting to make whatever little time they have left together more tolerable, and more enjoyable. One thing I was thinking, though, is, is the ecstasy really necessary? What’s stopping them from dancing, lying on their backs together in the park and looking up at the sky, laughing, talking, taking chances, making love, etc. without first using drugs? Does the change from a “we’re too old and feeble to do anything” attitude to a “young at heart” attitude have to be drug-induced, or can one who is in full control of one’s faculties choose it on its merits?

And then, to my satisfaction, that’s the direction the film goes in.

The Wednesdays is a pleasant little film with likable characters, and it gives you something to think about as far as the sadness of old age, but also how some of that baggage that old age conventionally carries with it is optional, if you have the courage to throw it off.

Interesting point of trivia: The woman in the film consistently refers to her husband as “Himself.” I thought that odd, so I Googled to see if that might be some kind of slang. It turns out it is. According to “Grammar Girl,” “In Scottish and Irish English, ‘himself’—and ‘herself’—are used to refer to someone of importance, like the lord of the castle or the master of the house.”

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