Regret in the Form of Motion Pictures
By Stevan Crary
Is there a point in your life that you would relive in a heartbeat? A birthday, a moment to say goodbye to a loved one once again, a day before the masked empire, a high school hangout, to eat that overpriced cake again, or a time that you proved to the world your awe-inspiring awesomeness? This is a fun question to ponder, but would you genuinely relive this event with the existence of your retrospection?
“Joseph’s Reel” is a beautiful short film showcased on Omeleto on YouTube that wrestles with this idea. It’s about an elderly man named Joseph who can relive his proposal to his girlfriend before he dies. He learns that he will be prematurely terminated if he doesn’t stick to the script of the “memory.” Unfortunately, Joseph discovers that there are things he would do differently for the sake of love. 
Joseph’s journey presented an interesting observation of human behavior. We might want to relive any moment or life, but we are different people than we were at that point in time. Experiences shape our retrospection and our behavior. If given this opportunity, we probably wouldn’t follow the script. As one of the YouTube comments put it: “We would throw in extra “I love you-s” that never happened, extra kisses, tears, that break the script.” 
According to a 2011 study, 270 nationally represented Americans were asked to describe one significant life regret. The most common regrets was romance (19.3%), family (16.9%), education (14%), career (13.8%), finance (9.9%), and parenting (9%).  These different areas of life regrets can be described as lost opportunities that can only be seen in hindsight. In the context of the film, Joseph wished he went about his romantic life differently to (spoiler alert) save her life.
“Joseph’s Reel” allows viewers to consider the decisions of our daily lives. Are we living to the fullest or swindling possible opportunities? One will never honestly know because it isn’t like we are born with psychic abilities. It is still an important question to consider. Would you go back to eat that cake again?
- Lavers, M. (Director). (2019). Joseph’s Reel [Motion picture]. Forty Foot Pictures.
- Morrison, M., & Roese, N. J. (2011). Regrets of the Typical American: Findings From a Nationally Representative Sample. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2(6), 576–583. https://doi.org/10.1177/1948550611401756