I don’t know what to think about this movie, Jim & Andy and the Great Beyond. I feel like this movie is confused, but that confusion is because it shows just how confused I would say Jim Carrey is. I don’t think the movie is trying to say anything, but yet it is saying something.
It’s a Netflix original documentary, a behind the scenes look at the making of the movie, The Man in the Moon, in which Jim Carrey is playing Andy Kaufman … and he loses it; he really loses it. This could be a documentary about an artist losing it, going way too far into his art and really losing himself and never coming back. From the interviews you hear from him now and the way he’s talking, he doesn’t seem to have stabilized. He stopped being Andy Kaufman, but he still talks about that experience as if it was Andy doing this or Andy doing that. He doesn’t acknowledge that he was playing Andy in those scenes. He pushed himself aside and let Andy take control, as if he was channeling Andy rather than acting. And, at no point did he snap back and say that was me being Andy, he still says that was Andy. He doesn’t seem to realize that it was really him, really dealing with his own issues, he was just doing it through Andy.
And, yes, this would be true of other actors in other movies … depending on the actor they all do that to varying degrees. In acting school they don’t just teach you how to act, they teach you how to turn it on and how to turn it off. The whole point is that you have to know who you are because you’re not being yourself. Jim Carrey talks about coming back to his life and that he had moments when he didn’t know who he was and had to relearn who he was, but that’s a real dissociative moment.
I wonder if Jim Carrey is a trained actor. I can see where this a danger in going into the movie business without good training. You can find yourself becoming famous for the roles that you play, rather than for who you are, and feeling that you aren’t “enough” and I’m hearing Jim Carrey talk about that a lot in this movie. He talks about feeling free because he wasn’t being himself and you see everyone around him indulging him … even Andy’s family members … treating him as if he was Andy. This movie was hard for me to watch because you’re watching someone living in a fantasy and everybody’s going along with it. For his family it was probably for their own reasons. It may have been like therapy for them to have someone who resembled Andy doing what Andy did and to have a moment of connection with this Andy.
Jim Carrey talks about some philosophical ideas: the nature of existence, how it’s all kind of meaningless. So now what?
Jim Carrey has had an experience that caused him to examine his life; buy Examined Life, a DVD that might help you along in your journey to examine yours.
Read Matthew Becklo’s article: Jim Carrey’s Christ Consciousness on Bishop Barron’s Word on Fire blog.