June 6, 2023
  • 4:23 pm Bailey County Jail Records – May 5-18
  • 4:22 pm Muleshoe’s Dalton Kasel ties for 16th in 2023 World Championship
  • 4:21 pm Muleshoe celebrates Class of 2023
  • 4:13 pm Lubbock Police need public’s help in searching for murder suspect
  • 4:11 pm Muleshoe kindergarten graduates celebrate with special ceremony

High school anthologies used to feature a terrifying little story titled “The Monkey’s Paw,” written by W.W. Jacobs and published in 1902. In the story a couple wishes three times on a dissevered monkey’s paw. The first wish is granted, but the couple’s son loses his life in order for them to gain their wishes. The second and third wishes – well, mercifully, we’re not sure whether those come true or not.

Dr. Alithea Binton in “Three Thousand Years of Longing” is well aware of stories like “The Monkey’s Paw,” cautionary tales that warn you not to tempt fate with wishes. Alithea is a narratologist, someone who studies and looks for common threads in the folklore of different cultures. She, of course, doesn’t believe in The Djinn and thinks that science and technology are diminishing their importance as part of the human narrative.

However, the evidence of her senses is beginning to contradict her scientific knowledge. On a lecture trip to Istanbul, a grey-bearded figure in white keeps showing up in the audience. Suddenly, the figure opens its mouth and appears to swallow her, the first of many great special effects in the film. She faints dead away on the stage.

Later, she is attracted to a blue-and-white striped bottle in a bargain bin. When she washes the bottle in her hotel sink, The Djinn appears and expands to gargantuan proportions, filling her hotel room. Fortunately, The Djinn, played by Idris Elba, can scale himself down, and the two of them, dressed in white hotel bathrobes, begin a conversation about wishes.

Through centuries of longing, The Djinn has been unable to set himself free by fulfilling three wishes for anyone. Every tale he tells seems to prove Alithea’s point – throughout the narratives, wishes turn out badly. She professes to be content with herself, her career and her status as a happily divorced woman with no children. She is free and wishes to remain so.

At one point she threatens to simply ignore The Djinn. He is anguished at the thought. The worst thing that anyone can do is make another being disappear by denying their existence. And while wishing may cause trouble in someone’s life, not wishing can be even more destructive.

Finally, Alithea makes a wish. Like nearly everyone, she wants to be loved, and The Djinn does his best to grant her wish. However, Alithea’s world of constant electronic bombardment from television, cell phones and microwaves, threatens to overpower the ancient Djinn.

The film is amusing and well-paced, but not entirely lighthearted. It takes a certain number of years, somewhat short of 3000, to be able to appreciate this thoughtful treatment of life, love and wishes. To borrow a phrase from AARP magazine, it’s a movie for grownups.

Directed by George Miller, “Three Thousand Years of Longing” stars Tilda Swinton as Dr. Alithea Binton and Idris Elba as The Djinn. Run time is one hour and 48 minutes.

Gail M. Williams

Muleshoe Journal Correspondent


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: