Books and Movies Reviews

Smoke Signals

The movie Smoke Signals gave me a good insight on what life is like on an Indian reservation in modern times. Since this movie is made by Indians, it gives a very accurate portrayal of the Coeur d’Alene Indian;s lifestyle. It shows a few of the struggles that many Indians go through. Before watching this movie, I never really thought much about Indians in today;s culture.
Indians are portrayed very badly in American culture. They are seen as poor alcoholics that like to gamble. Although I have read about the modern day troubles of Indians, I always put the thoughts at the back of my mind. These thoughts resurfaced while watching Smoke Signals. Arnold is portrayed as a stereotypical Indian. He is a large man that enjoys drinking beer throughout the day. When he is denied alcohol, he decides to leave his family. I did not associate his leaving with Indian culture as much as I did with American culture in general. Many families are broken up each year because of an alcoholic parent. In the movie, Arnold was only doing what he thought was right. He knew he was hurting his family by drinking; he thought that by leaving his family, not only would a burden be lifted off of their backs, but his also. Arnold lived with the guilt of knowing that he killed Thomas;s parents. He knew he had to stay around his family long enough for Victor to grow up, so he turned to alcohol to help him cope with his guilt. When Victor was old enough, Arnold left and went to Arizona where he stopped drinking.
The main thing that I have learned from this movie is that living with guilt is a horrible thing. I;m guessing that Arnold would have felt much better had he told someone about what he did, but he probably did not want to go to jail and hurt his family. Because of this, he turned to alcohol to cope with his stress. I know that alcohol is a powerful thing and it can take control of someone;s life and this movie makes a very lifel…


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