Worth | Third Space


Sun 5 Sep 2021
What is life worth?

4 out of 5 stars

With COVID running rampant worldwide, natural disasters hitting every continent, and the tragic scenes coming out of Afghanistan, it can be hard to remember the events surrounding 11 September. As we come upon the 20th anniversary of this tragic event, many can still look back and remind themselves where they were on this fateful day. Along with these memories, it is necessary to think of all the individuals who were impacted directly by these attacks.

There have been films that depict the various stories of people impacted by these terrorist actions. Still, few may have thought to make a film about the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. Based on the book, What is Life Worth? by attorney and renowned mediator Kenneth Feinberg (Michael Keaton) where he tries to share the details of distributing funds to those left behind afterward. Director Sara Colangelo (The Kindergarten Teacher) attempts to bring his story to the big screen as a means of keeping their stories alive after two decades.

Everything was chaotic after the events of September 11th. All involved were trying to figure out how to address this situation in a timely and effective manner. The airlines, the government, and the leaders within the cities were affected by the terrorist actions. They needed to work out how to compensate the families of those who died in the World Trade Centers and at the Pentagon. The US government hired Kenneth Feinberg and his law firm to determine how they would distribute the funds earmarked to assist these households during their bereavement.

Opposed to being a docudrama, Worth becomes an emotional and respectful retelling of this necessary aspect of this time in history. It shows that most individuals were not looking for a hand out, but merely wanted to ensure their loved ones were remembered makes for a compelling narrative. Feinberg’s story gives us a fresh biographical perspective on these lives and how we need to remember them. Michael Keaton, Stanley Tucci, Amy Ryan and the rest of the cast manage to embody everyone involved to honour this problematic series of transactions.

These terrorist actions caused the very thing they intended by leading to complete chaos. Everything about these events became messy. No solution would be satisfactory to make up for the loss that so many people experienced. Yet, it did show how human ingenuity and determination can make a difference. Suppose the actions of these terrorists caused anyone to lose faith in humanity. In that case, those involved in this story should help many have hope in mankind. This film will open old wounds, but does provide a salve that may help ease the pain of remembering the past.

Reel Dialogue: What is life worth?

One other aspect of this film that stood out was how God played a factor in many conversations. Many of the interviews dealt with people’s faith and how these events shook them to the core. While Feinberg’s book tries to put a number on the query of a human’s worth, the question does open a more profound philosophical and theological consideration. Does God value our lives and during events like this, does he care?

Even though it is beyond a film review to address the reason behind the events of 11 September. There are so many questions that come from these things that impact the world and reverberate throughout history. Addressing the value of humanity in God's eyes can begin with reading keywords from the book that shares his thoughts on all men and women.

We can know from reading the words of the Bible that God has a love for his creation and humanity has a value that begins before we are even born. He knows us, loves us and cares for our lives in the present and throughout eternity. His extensive love is depicted in the sacrifice of his Son, Jesus. Regardless of what we have done with the gift of life, he has provided a means of knowing this value. So, what is life worth? The answer can be found in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God sees your life as priceless and he continues to show this in the words of the Bible.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. - Psalm 139:13-16

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. - Matthew 10:29-31

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5:8

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