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Cost of Genius

Updated: Mar 7, 2023

[Spoiler Alert]

Excitement for Golden Globe winner “The Banshees of Inisherin” is drawn from the plot’s moral question: at what price should we strive for greatness? The ironic events of the film suggest that attempting to create masterpieces at the expense of friendship and others’ dignity is destructive and self-defeating.

The road to self-annihilation begins when Colm (Brandon Gleeson) tells Padraic (Colin Ferrell) that instead of chatting idly with Padraic at the bar as usual he would rather focus on his work, composing and playing folk music. To encourage Padraic to stay away Colm threatens to cut off a finger for every time that Padraic speaks to him. Ironically, the more fingers that Colm would cut off the more he jeopardizes his ability to play and compose music for his legacy-chasing works!

The self-defeat built into Colm’s threat would have been enough to suggest Colm’s fallacy but there’s even more to point to Colm’s worldview as silly. Padraic’s beloved donkey eats and chokes to death on one of the fingers that Colm cut off and threw at Padraic’s door. In revenge Padraic burns down Colm’s house (not cool either by the way!). Now Colm’s oath has not only harmed his own health and livelihood but killed an innocent, adorable animal and left himself homeless!

True, Padraic didn’t need to chase a friendship when the feeling wasn’t mutual but Colm didn’t actually have to go through with cutting off his fingers, causing needless damage. Pursuit of genius ideally would go hand in hand with friendship, not contrary to it. And if a friendship is ailing there are ways to restore it and, if absolutely not, there are other ways for the unhappy to distance themselves!

If you’re feeling inspired by “The Banshees of Inisherin” check out Virtue Journeys in Justice & Mercy today!


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