Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Sunday Thoughts: Creativity and the New Matrix Movie, Resurrections

with 4 comments

I found no way to write this without spoilers. If you have not seen Matrix Resurrections yet, proceed at your own risk.

As a writer, I am often inspired by unusual things.

I take note of all sorts of things, you see. I observe them. I think about them, sometimes only subconsciously, but I ponder them. And I wonder, often, what would have happened if I’d have chosen a much smaller life.

(I do not think that would’ve been a good idea, mind you. But let’s stay with the concept.)

This all matters to me, as a person, especially due to the fact that I’ve been creative my entire life. And as I’ve grown into midlife, there are so many different messages that have been thrown at me. “Grow up,” says one. “Stop fantasizing that your career will ever matter,” says another. “What you do as a writer…what’s the point of it? No one reads what you say, so who cares?”

And then, there are the bills. The obligations. The chores. The never-ending minutiae of life.

All of this can weigh me down. Add in health problems, as anyone who’s read this blog for a while has to have figured out, and the weight of sorrow as my life-partner has been dead now for over seventeen years, and it sometimes seems overwhelming.

“But Barb,” you say. “What about the new Matrix movie, Resurrections? You put that into your title, right? You are going to talk about it, aren’t you?”

Yes, I am. Because I think much of the commentary regarding Matrix Resurrections is flat-out wrong. They are missing the point, which is this: Just because you’re older, your love shouldn’t be trivialized. And fighting for love matters more than anything in this world.


Very few of the critics have even touched on this, and that annoys me. Even those critics who’ve enjoyed the movie have discussed more obvious themes and have pointed out that Resurrections builds heavily on what has gone before in the previous Matrix trilogy. (How it was supposed to do anything else is beyond me. But let’s not go there.)

Mind you, some of the commentary is quite interesting, as it discusses trans rights and “deadnames” — that is, the name you were given at birth is not the name you go by (such as the fate of the late Leelah Alcorn) — and some of it quite rightly points out the romance between Trinity and Neo carries the film.

But they still are missing a huge point, and I can’t help but point out the elephant in the room.

Look. It’s easy, when you get into midlife, to let those messages I delineated above overwhelm you. It’s really easy to let the weight of words, and life itself, stop you from being who you truly are.

Neo, in Matrix Resurrections, is again going by his original name, Thomas Anderson. Trinity is now a character, only, in a game Thomas supposedly created. (That the Matrix was diabolical enough to do this is another problem entirely, mind you, but often when we get to midlife, people completely misunderstand what the Hell we’re doing as creative sorts. I tend to take that as allegory, personally.) The person who’s alive and should be Trinity is now named Tiffany (going by Tiff), and she has children and a husband. And only Neo knows that “Tiffany” is really Trinity.

But how can he convince anyone of that, when he can’t convince anyone that he’s Neo, not simply Thomas Anderson? Especially when other people only see an older and broken man, someone who’s survived a suicide attempt, and who lives alone and mostly unnoticed.

Hell, he doesn’t even have a pet to take care of. He’s that isolated.

Those around him completely misunderstand what he’s about, and he’s been led to believe that the one person he’s ever loved was someone he made up himself.

I understand all of this very well.

For Neo to reclaim himself, to reclaim his life, and to free Trinity so the two of them could go on and live the lives they were born to lead is the most important part of this film. (How they get there is not relevant to this discussion, but I will say that as an editor of SF&F, it worked well for me.) That they have a true partnership, a true meeting of the minds, and a truly good relationship where both are more together than they are separately (even though they’re both interesting, separately) is extremely important, to me as a widow.

(Yes, I like vicarious wish-fulfillment, sometimes. Sue me.)

At any rate, I was deeply moved by Matrix Resurrections. I loved the new characters (Bugs in particular, a blue-haired and fierce female warrior/captain), I enjoyed the main plot, but the subtext and the emotion was what got to me.

I believe in love. I believe it matters more than anything in this world. And I believe in soul bonds that endure between one creative soul and another, that call to us despite all the noise this ultra-connected world throws at us.

I also believe that memories matter. And that no one can frame your memories except yourself.

So I urge you to check your assumptions at the door before you see Matrix Resurrections. But do see it, and then if you are in midlife — as I am — ask yourself these questions:

Does what I do matter? (Hell, yes.)

Even if no one ever reads what I write, should I continue? (Absolutely.)

Can you reclaim your life against nearly impossible odds? (I would like to think so!)

What do you think of this blog? Have you seen Matrix Resurrections, or are you going to see it? Tell me about it in the comments!

4 Responses

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  1. I haven’t seen it but what you say would not spoil it for me in the least. I see it as a review and I trust your judgment. Also, what do you mean no one reads your work? We write for more than ourselves. We write to leave a legacy and to touch people. I blog about my work rather than my feelings, but I have a newsletter where I reach out and talk to readers like they’re sitting at the table with me having coffee. My readers write back. I’ve discovered like minds, made friends, and savored the comments I get about my books and characters. Once I’m gone (which will be a very long time from now I hope) whatever I wrote will be left behind for someone else. Do you think Shakespeare maybe thought no one would read his work? What about the writer of Beowulf? We don’t know what our reach is, and we might never know. But it’s there.
    Happy New Year my friend. ❤

    Kayelle Allen

    December 26, 2021 at 7:14 pm

    • Thanks, Kayelle.

      I agree with you that we don’t really know our reach in the world. And I have kept up this blog for ten-plus years, and have met some lovely people who’ve become good friends along the way — including yourself. 🙂

      I think there were writers who didn’t have any idea their work would live beyond their lifetime. Charles Dickens, for all his obnoxiousness, was in great danger of being dropped by his publisher when he wrote A Christmas Carol. That revitalized his career, and almost certainly changed the course of his life. I seem to remember that Albert Camus and Franz Kafka wondered if anyone would read what they had to say, too.

      And some writers become far more known and influential after they pass from this Earth. No one knows why this is, either. It just happens, sometimes.

      Oh, I had another thought. The guy who created Desperate Housewives said that he’d really struggled beforehand. He was living with his mother, and was broke, and it was all he could do not to give up from what it sounded like.

      Of course, there’s the famous story about Stephen King, too. He had had so many rejections, he didn’t think he’d ever make it. (I think his wife fished his manuscript out of the trash.)

      So you are absolutely right, Kayelle.

      I will try to think better about what I’ve done. (Mostly I’m frustrated that all my stories are stalled in weird places, and I have no idea how to get unstalled. But I will keep working on it.)

      Barb Caffrey

      December 26, 2021 at 9:26 pm

  2. I couldn’t get into Matrix, though acknowledge the concept was innovative (Even so I used to ‘bend’ my son’s ear with constant references to James E Gunn’s ‘The Joy Makers’).
    To other points. Oh yes, it is important to write, blogs, stories, novels anything as long as the work does not promote Hate and Intolerance (And Conspiracies…ooops, sorry ’bout that, one of my intolerances seeping in there).
    Once it is written and once it is ‘out there’, then it ‘Belongs to the Ages’ (yes I know I stole the quote). There’s my trilogy took me about seven years, and it will not make much of a ripple, if any, but it’s mine.
    And you Barb have the Elfyverse which is all yours.
    So keep on keeping on.


    December 28, 2021 at 7:59 am

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