The Most Confusing Moments In Jake Johnson’s Self Reliance Explained

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Written By Sedoso Feb

Despite Johnson’s insistence that the game in the film is very real, there are still plenty who think the game is something he made up in his head. After all, even after winning, his family still doesn’t believe him when he talks about the experience. Johnson explained that regardless of what the film says, the audience can interpret it however they like, because accessing art can be a personal experience. As he said:

“Look, here’s what I really believe. I might not be the majority, but when I consume something, it’s f***ing mine. My interpretation is right. For example, I loved ‘The Sopranos.’ I don’t care what David Chase says about the ending, because when I watch it alone, my ending is the right answer. Maybe that’s because I’m an egomaniac, but it belongs to me … For a long time in press, I was like, ‘I don’t want to say my take on it, because who cares?’ But to me — and mind you, I’m the guy playing Tommy — I have to play it like it is real. I had to shoot those scenes like they are real.”

It is fascinating that Johnson threw in the little reminder at the end that in addition to writing and directing, he was also starring in the film … meaning he would also have to also approach the project from the character of Tommy’s perspective. Is the game real because Tommy needs it to be real, or is it actually real because Johnson says so as the author? “The truth of the matter is, if you want to believe it’s not real, there’s enough to believe that it’s not real,” said Johnson. Perhaps the true meaning of the film exists in the title — to figure it out, you’ll have to rely on yourself.

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