this morning i watched woody allen’s deconstructing harry. the film’s genius lies in its ability to easily slip between the actual occurrences in the protagonist harry block’s life and the wonderfully embellished imaginings of these same events. allen has a knack for condensing our most intangible and widespread fears into witty, one-line kernels of wisdom and clear, physical illustrations. one particularly striking example of this talent in deconstructing harry was the condition of characters literally being out of focus.
this specific state of being out of focus is only perceptible visually, though the fuzzy way the character appears to us onscreen reveals a lot about the character’s personality that can’t be seen. allen uses this visual affliction to demonstrate his character’s selfish disconnect from everyone around him. instead of trying to sharpen his appearance, the character actually makes his family wear these absurd glasses in order to see him clearly.
i just thought this was such a poignant representation of what it feels like to be lonely. to be out of focus is to be not only different from everyone around you, but actually imperceptible to them. such a withdrawn person is unlovable; their true essence is not even available to be loved. the real tragedy though, is the way this malady makes harry block hurt the people around him so that they can access him even on the most superficial, visual level. his insecurities and depression have made him be cruel to the people he actually loves. which in turn makes him even more undeserving of their love.