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Re Porter - Friend break ups
bethany porter

I watched a movie over the weekend as a part of my Oscars preparation and was shocked how much I enjoyed it. I watched the “Banshees of Inisherin” and it made me think a lot about friendships. Warning, there are spoilers ahead for this movie. 

This movie is all about two friends, Colm and Padraic. One day Colm just decides he doesn’t want to be friends with Padraic anymore. Padraic, is nice to a fault and tries to figure out what he did to upset Colm. He apologizes for whatever he said to offend Colm, but Colm just tells him he doesn’t like him anymore. 

This made me realize there is not really a socially acceptable way to “break up” with friends. Usually when people stop being friends, they just go their separate ways and never discuss the reasons they don’t want to be around each other anymore. Rightfully so, because this movie is brutal.

There is a certain grief that comes with any kind of break up regardless of if it is a friend or relationship. It is different than the grief we feel when someone passes away because we know it’s impossible to be with them again because they are no longer with us. It hurts, but our brains cope with that somehow. When two people “break up” it is a different kind of grief because they willingly decide they do not want to be around you anymore. I think it is harder to cope with that sometimes and I think that is what causes Padraic to act the way he does. By the way, I am in no way saying a break up is worse than death. That would be crazy. 

In the movie, Colm is trying to write a song and decided that Padraic is getting in the way of his progress. He tells him that he cannot bear to engage in pointless chitchat with him anymore and calls Padraic dull. Padraic loves his friend and is ridiculously nice, so he doesn’t give up on Colm. Colm is so determined to end things with Padraic that he tells him if he doesn’t leave him alone he will cut off his own finger with gardening sheers and give it to him and continue doing so until he gets the message. Doing so would hinder Colm’s music writing (the very reason for ending the friendship), but he is determined to end things. 

Padraic does not get the message and gets a finger thrown at his door. He attempts to go return the finger and his sister intervenes and says, “are you (freaking) stupid?” All these events turn Padraic mean. Colm’s decision to abruptly end a lifelong friendship eventually destroys Padraic. 

The remaining four fingers get thrown at Padraic’s door by the end of the movie. Unfortunately Padraic’s only remaining friend in the world, a miniature donkey, chokes on them and dies. This is the breaking point for Padraic. He tells Colm what happened and informs him he will be burning down his house at 2 p.m. Sunday and will not be checking to see if he is inside. 

So much was lost because one man decided to be cruelly mean to his friend. Sometimes meaningless chitchat is a small price to pay. This movie was great and is on HBO Max if anyone wants to check it out. 

Standard reporter Bethany Porter can be reached at (931) 473-2191.