The bluebird of happiness (K-PAX movie review)

Prot (amazing Kevin Spacey) is patient in psychiatric hospital patient who claims to be from a faraway planet called K-PAX planet. Dr. Mark Powell (good creation of Jeff Bridges) is trying to prove that this is not possible, but soon begins to doubt himself…

“K-PAX”, directed by Iain Softley, is a movie that could be described as both – devastating and beautiful. The main story seems to be as much intriguing as funny. The patient is detached from the reality, but at the same time he understands human minds and souls more than anyone else. He is brilliant, calm, and intelligent, which lets him make fun of his psychiatrist and point out his limitations. Prot has come to the world to destabilize conventions and schemes, and teach people empathy and mindfulness. His story is at the same time absurd and convincing. The protagonist’s planet is a utopian place that was created from the negation of the earth rules and relations. There’s no relationships, no families. Sex is rather an obligatory than pleasure. The kids are raised up by the whole society, not by their relatives. It’s a world that protects its inhabitants from pain and regret – there’s no one to lose or to miss. Instead of emotions, one can find them since. Inhabitants of K-PAX believe in knowledge, and not in love or some kind of a god. This vision – as we realize when getting close to the end of the movie – has its second side. It was created not only as an alternative, better reality, but – above all – as a remedy for trauma. K-PAX  has replaced the memories that were too unbearable to be remembered and protected.

Prot’s presence in the hospital changes the whole structure of this institution. The patient ignores the rules and safe solutions and brings to this sad, sad place the bluebird of happiness. He is an alien in both – literal and metaphorical – meanings. On the on hand – he creates himself for being the Other, on the other hand – his otherness should be understand as a figure of difference that deconstructs the system and brings freshness and charm. He makes other patients happier and he sensitizes the doctors for what cannot be seen. He reminds Mark of what he has forgotten or has stopped appreciating. He lets the doctor to be passionate and caring again. His actions are dictated not only by empathy, but also by a strong need of giving his life a meaning.

“K-PAX” becomes a beautiful apotheosis of difference and otherness that – paradoxically – becomes more meaningful and needed that rationality and normativity. It’s a sad, but also a beautiful movie that discovers the power of broken, hurting hearts.