Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
The Happening (2008)
Shyamalan Delivers A Cinematic Masterpiece: An Analysis of the Film; TAKE THE TIME TO READ THIS
The film starts out with the big blue eyes of Alma staring at the camera. What is she doing? She is on the telephone with a man named Joey, without her husband knowing, Elliot. She isn't cheating on him, but, as Elliot explains a few minutes later, she seems, "distant." It is their growing distance that begins the "event." The colors on the mood ring, and their symbolic meanings, are as follows: Blue: Reserved, tranquil, calm, believed to keep the bad spirits away. Yellow: Sign of hope, happiness, unpredictable. Green: Life, nature, great intelligence, seen as a lucky color.
Elliot was extremely inward in his feelings about the relationship he shares with his wife. When speaking about the absence of bees, he exclaims to his students that, "there are forces at work in nature beyond our control," and in this there is a double meaning. He can't control what his wife does, in fact he feels powerless and unable to do so. If blue represents tranquil, he certainly symbolizes one who is too reserved to speak up, which prevents him from regaining his wife's love back. This is where nature must step in.
But killing everyone around him wasn't the only factor in nature's method, it needed a vessel, a prophet if you will. Yellow represents happiness, exactly what is absent from Elliot and Alma's life; and what color does the ring turn when Elliot tells Jess puts it on in the diner? Yellow. What color are bees? Yellow, and what does Elliot say at the beginning of the film when he's in his class of students? "The disappearance of bees is an act of nature, something uncontrollable." If yellow represents happiness, he basically just stated that happiness has been absent in his life. The meaning behind the bees is double, not only is it connected with the actual science aspect of the happening, it's literally happiness that has disappeared from Elliot's relationship with Alma. When Julian decides to leave Jess with Alma and Elliot, he says to Alma, "Don't you dare take her hand unless you mean it," Alma decides then and there to comply with nature's wish, to bring them together. When they approach the isolated, old lady's house, she says, " "Why are you eying my yellow drink?" Making it clear that he is eying, or yearning for happiness. The lady invites them inside, and they're sitting at the dinner table. Shyamalan uses great lighting to make a strange plate in the middle of the table stand out to the viewers, and only if you were paying close attention to the cinematographic details would have realized it, but the plate and the cookies were more significant than you think.
If yellow represents happiness, and blue represents tranquility and protection from evil forces, then you must have realized what the plate stood for. The plate was circular, obviously, and had a blue border. In the middle sat yellow cookies, and when Jess attempts to snag one, the old lady (who is wearing a shawl which has flowers and other nature-esquire features on it, indicating that she represents nature at that point) snaps at her, saying, "you mustn't take what isn't offered to you." The old lady, nature, is guarding the plate. The lady just told them that if they want happiness they're going to have to earn it, and work for it in their relationship, so they must admit to their mistakes and stop looking for ways out of it. But if you look closer, you'd see what nature is REALLY protecting on the plate: Elliot and Alma. Alma agrees to look after Jess, by taking her hand after Julian warns her not to unless she wants to commit, like one would take another's hand in marriage. The plate symbolizes blue surrounding and shielding the yellow from the outside. Think back to when the two boys were gunned down on the porch of the isolated house, what did Elliot say to Alma? "We have to protect Jess." And when does the event finally disappear? When Elliot says he doesn't care about dying anymore, and loves her, and wants her. So he walks outside, afraid but determined, and she meets him there. They've proved their love to nature, and they walk outside and come together in the middle of the two houses. Notice that there was a telephonic-like thing communicating between the house? That represents their distance. "I can hear you like you're right here," says Alma, just like their relationship. They were both physically present in their relationship, but in reality they weren't connected like they two people in love should be.
"What color was love?" "I don't remember." Again Shyamalan effectively uses double speak, they have forgot what their pure love was actually like, but moments later they realize it emotionally remember and they risk their lives by going outside, to meet each other and die together. They've learned that their lives don't matter if they die alone, and they have found the love and happiness they had been missing the entire film. So they go to each other and break the barriers separating them, and the event stops, "randomly." Great, but what does it all mean. Well, in elementary school art class, what color formed when you were painting and you mixed blue and yellow? Green. Green, the symbol for nature, the underlying force of protection and life, was the reason the "happening" happened. Nature takes drastic measures to make apparent to Alma and Elliot find happiness together. I hope this made some sense to those of you bashing the film, because frankly it was brilliant, and deserves much more recognition and appreciation than what 99% of critics have been saying. Look deeper, there's more to it than what was supposed to be a scary movie.