Forgiveness and relationships in 'Begin Again'
In Begin Again, one of the questions (which like the trinity is really three questions as one) confronted by the two main characters is how much to forgive, under what circumstances and when.
Spoilers ahead: Stop reading now if you plan on seeing this beautiful film.
Two characters are cheated on by their significant others. In many relationships as portrayed on television, this is the ultimate deal breaker. There is no going back from a destroying of trust of this magnitude. Life often imitates art, but there are couples who are able to recover after one spouse cheats on the other.
How much do we forgive? Forgiveness is often considered the panacea of relationship woes. If a partner hurts his or her partner and is forgiven, the incident is supposed to be done with. The problem is that it is difficult to really forgive someone who has caused grievous injury, and sometimes the offended person waits for the offender to ask for forgiveness. The longer that it takes for the offender to ask, the more the offended broods and stews. People who want to be healthy forgive others without the other asking.
The circumstances: Clearly the circumstances surrounding the situation make a difference. In a relationship where the stakes are low and the commitment near zero, there are several offensives that could end the relationship. Infidelity will destroy a budding monogamous relationship like the wind blowing down a house of cards. In a committed relationship, both partners will have made mistakes in one form or other. It will be the commitment to each other that will dictate whether or not the relationship survives.
When? Forgiveness takes time. Even if a person says that the other is forgiven, it is generally not the case. The offender needs to be repentant and not continuing the activity, but the offended needs to figure out how to deal with his or her own imagination and feelings of anger, guilt and frustration. Forgiveness can come and a stronger relationship can emerge from the ashes. It won’t happen all at once, and it will take work on the part of both people. Whether or not the relationship is worth the work is up to the people who are in it.