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13 Conversations About One Thing (2001)

Set in New York city, this film narrates the every day aspirations and heart aches of four people: a young, brash prosecutor, an aging middle manager at an insurance company, a physics professor at Columbia, and a young cleaning girl. Director Jill Sprecher walks a thin line and teases out the tension between two world views. On the one hand, these characters feel the apparent futility and despair that despite what choices they make, or wish they could make, they really have no control over their lives, and so life feels very random and fickle. Still, as the film has it, the lives of these four characters do in fact intersect, such that a bigger picture of purpose is intimated. Clearly, all the characters in this film long to embrace the notion that there is a larger, benign Purpose directing what appear to be little more than accidental events. In a final scene, even the mere gesture of waving to someone as the subway train pulls away suggests that there is meaning in all we do. Christians will enjoy this film as an excellent commentary on the notion of divine Providence in which a loving God superintends our lives. He is no magician or puppeteer, and all our human choices matter, but we are never beyond the pale of His care or the presence of mystery in all we experience.

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