I was first introduced to The Butterfly Circus by my sister in 2009. She and I have for years periodically exchanged YouTube links with each other, but they have always been totally random, silly, funny videos. This short film is none of those. At first, I recall that I felt a bit put-upon by her providing the link. The video wasn’t some 1 to 3-minute goofy clip, but rather a 20-minute short film. I remember that it took me perhaps a week to even get to the link and watch it. I somewhat dreaded it, in fact, because I do not like dramas or the typical Hollywood inspirational films. But eventually, I did in fact watch it. And in watching it, I believe my life changed some.
The summary you will find on IMDB goes like so:
At the height of the Great Depression, the showman of a renowned circus leads his troupe through the devastated American landscape, lifting the spirits of audiences along the way. During their travels they discover a man without limbs at a carnival sideshow. However, after an intriguing encounter with the showman he becomes driven to hope against everything he has ever believed.
Since my initial contact with this movie, I have watched it again every few months or so whenever I need a spiritual recharge. The entire premise of the movie appeals to my Buddhist side – compassion and kindness, patience and positivity because of — NOT “in spite of” — the personal trials and pains that each character faced prior to joining the Butterfly Circus.
But Jala, I thought you said that you dislike dramas and inspirational films? — I did, but I specified “Hollywood inspirational films.” You know, the ones where the cat and two dogs have to traverse through the wild to get home or the one where the kid has to improve and hit a home run to win the game and that sort of nonsense. This film is entirely different because it is very visceral. It appeals to the little seed of negativity that each person harbors within, the feeling of abandoning hope…and then rediscovering it due to something as simple as a little belief from another. The challenges that each character overcame (or is overcoming during the film) are hard, real world instances of true pain. And yet…
If you could only see the beauty that can come from ashes…
The era of my life when I first watched this film was rife with personal challenges, and has been again throughout 2011. This made my watching The Butterfly Circus very poignant. It struck hard, and fast, and directly at my heart. I cried the whole time I watched it. Even now, every single time I watch it, I cry. This movie is a catharsis for me. It releases my pain and allows me to make that transformation when I feel myself losing strength. More than just that alone, it strengthens my resolve to act in accordance with the Noble Eightfold Path; to express kindness and patience to others; to learn from my pain and use that to grow wiser and stronger; and to help others. It has served as a good reminder of what my goals should be, and how I should conduct myself.
The cast is perfect for the film. The director is amazing. The score only serves to strengthen all of the emotions you will feel while watching it. It has been seen by over 10,000,000 viewers worldwide, and is being made into a feature-length film.
Are you ready? Watch it:
If you loved it as much as I did, please help support the wonderful talent who created this work and purchase a copy for only $12.99 on Amazon. If you love the score, it is available on iTunes. I know that sounds like a sales pitch, but I urge you sincerely as someone whose life became a little bit better thanks to this short film.