I don’t watch much television so it was unusual for me to catch a movie a couple nights ago. I was captivated by The Green Mile, a Frank Darabont adaptation of the Stephen King novel of the same name. The tagline of the Green Mile was ‘Miracles do happen’.
The Green Mile was nominated for 4 Oscars- Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Actor in a Supporting Role and Best Sound. It won none, but in my opinion it deserves an award for the powerful message it conveys.
The Green Mile tells the story of John Coffey – a giant of a man at 6ft 8in, black, of simple mind, with inexplicable healing and empathetic abilities. The story is set in the very prejudiced 1930s in the US and although Coffey is innocent of the crime he is accused of (the murder of two young girls) he is sentenced to death via the electric chair. The movie covers the time John Coffey spends in prison prior to his execution and the healing miracles he performs. The prison guards, after recognizing his gifts and learning of his innocence, agonize over his execution and the role they will play in killing one of God’s ‘true miracles’.
I wonder about the message that Stephen King tried to convey in his novel. Was it simply a fanciful tale or was there something more powerful? I believe the latter. When John Coffey sees the night sky, he points out the constellation of Cassiopeia. Cassiopeia bears significance in many ancient religions but perhaps one of God’s ‘true miracles’ was simply pointing to the Universe, from where he and indeed all of us, came.
Is it simply a coincidence that John Coffey’s height is detailed as ‘6ft 8in’? This is a total of 80 inches and of course, the number 8 is associated with Infinity and in turn, Infinity is associated with God. Intriguingly, 6ft 8in is represented as 6.666666 ft – which brings us to the question of the true meaning of that most feared number, 666. It is thought that there has been huge misinformation around the number and it is said that the number value of 666 in Greek actually translate to both ‘Jesus’ and ‘God is Zeus’.
At the end of the movie, a prison guard who was healed by John Coffey reveals that he is 108 years old. Again, this number holds significant mathematical, astrological and astronomical importance and some religions believe ‘108’ represents one, nothing and everything – Infinity.
A mouse plays a significant role in the story and one of the spirit symbols of the mouse is that of scrutiny – seeing the details that others may miss. Perhaps Stephen King was asking us to look closely at the messages held in his story? Another line of thought sees the mouse as a kind of mediator between physical and recycling life (spirit energies in transition). The execution of John Coffey adds meaning to this interpretation.
Director Frank Darabont is quoted as saying ‘To this day, I don’t know 100% what the story means’. To me there are many poignant messages in The Green Mile: that God’s spirit exists in the simplest of things, that miracles do happen and that there are Angels on this Earth with gifts that we may not understand.
Thank you, The Green Mile, for confirming to me the messages I seek to share in this blog.