Who had the worst day, Glass or Watney?

We went to see The Revenant last night (small spoiler alert for below).  It was the third movie in a row we’ve been to that was packed, so we ended up having to sit in the first few rows.  A few weeks ago we saw the recent Star Wars film in similar conditions and a few weeks before that we saw The Martian in a packed house, although we did see that on opening night and knew it would be full so we showed up early and got pretty good seats.
The Revenant is a beautiful and disgusting movie all at the same time.  We all left the theater saying to each other “if I ever say I’m having a bad day, ask me if it was bad enough that I would eat raw Buffalo or cut open a horse to sleep in to keep from freezing to death.”  The story is quite simple and probably pretty well known by now, but the message will take some time for me to unpack.  I do know that this is a special film that will be watched and studied for years to come.
About two thirds of the way through the movie, I couldn’t help but make a mental comparison between Matt Damon’s character in The Martian and Leonardo Dicaprio’s character in The Revenant.  I honestly do think that Mr. Glass had a worse time of it on earth that Mark Watney had on Mars.  The suffering, both physical and mental, that Glass endured is unbelievable.  While The Revenant and The Martian are both fiction, they are both plausible.  In the case of The Revenant, I am sure that everything that happened in the film actually happened on the frontier, just not to the same person.  In the case of The Martian, while set in the future, it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine humans one day landing on Mars, and if you can get there, the rest of the story is simple tragedy and redemption.
It’s amazing to me to think about how far we have come in a few hundred years and how far we could go in the next couple centuries that being stranded alone on another planet would be an easier day than being alone in the wilderness on our own planet.






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