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7 Kinds of Vulnerability We Glimpse in Films

From Deewar, to Frances Ha - what vulnerabilities do films bring out?

Vulnerability is sometimes almost too much to bear - we want to hide from it, run away from it or sometimes even want to drown ourselves in it. Art allows space for this vulnerability - it helps us express our innermost feelings, but gives us a bearable distance to experience them. Sometimes, it may even provide a catharsis for the churn of pain, desire, loss and love that is vulnerability.
Here are 5 scenes from some much-loved movies that do precisely that: 
1) Is it better to speak or hold your silence? - Being vulnerable in love
Call Me By Your Name (2017)
What if your crush discovers the love letters you have secretly been writing for them? You might feel shame, or pray for your crush to suddenly experience memory loss...but in vain. You start to question yourself--do you need help?
In Elio’s case, things go a little beyond letters when he masturbates with a peach and Oliver, subsequently, tries to eat it. Imagine the embarrassment, when all you wanted was for them to know how much you loved them but here you now are...labelled a weirdo. What will be the next thing you do to end the moment of embarrassment? Break down and cry? Seek comfort in the arms of your loved one possibly?
When we start exploring love - we all face embarrassment and shame - and to recover from that moment we can either embrace it (like Oliver does, as he tries to eat the peach) or fight it (like Elio who  forces Oliver to stop). 
2) I feel guilt and shame, but I won't tell - To be vulnerable in front of one’s parents
Girls (season 1, episode 1)
How does one ask for help from one’s parents without being considered irresponsible? No one wants to be that adult struggling to deal with adulthood, but sometimes, we miss our safety nets and wish we could hold on to it for a little longer.
No matter how hard we try to convince ourselves, “they are my parents...they will help me!”, the fear and shame of being considered good for nothing, or as someone unable to find a stable job, or even as one with no control over life, whatsoever, can make our thoughts spiral.
We live in this illusion that we can decide not to be vulnerable by pretending aal izz well - yup, we are totally rocking our careers, and don’t need nobody’s help doing that (of course, deep down, only we know how much we do)! But experiencing vulnerability isn’t a choice, the only choice we have is how we respond when we are confronted with uncertainty, in the case of Hannah, braving up. 
3) Vulnerability, aaj khush toh bohot hogi tum? – Choosing not to hide anymore
Deewaar (1975) 
How much can we tolerate being misunderstood all our lives? How long can we stand silent for fear of being harmed? To resist being exposed as vulnerable, we need to begin with being vulnerable ourselves - by calling out what is wrong, and standing up for ourselves - which some might say is the most vulnerable situation a human can be in. Vulnerability is often considered a self-centred act...but shaayad this is how it becomes altruistic?
4) Jab dekha vulnerable zamaana – Taking heed of another’s vulnerability 
Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959)
How we respond to others' vulnerability says a lot about our own. What if you run into your ex one day? Instead of doing well, you find them vulnerable, sad, and depressed. How would you react? While flashbacks of old memories start to flood your head, you may try to avert your gaze or reach out to them. 
But in that very moment, we are in a position where we experience shame - Shame for once desiring them, shame for being in love with them, shame for being well when you see them in this vulnerable state, or shame for something you might have done.  The attempt to hide this shame prevents us from letting someone in. Since we are scared to acknowledge that we might be wrong, we choose to rather hide in the shadows. 
5) Inner-city life, inner-city vulnerability – being vulnerable doesn’t mean being sad all the time
Flight of the Conchords (Bret Gives Up Dreams, Season 1, Ep. 2)
Humour is one of the most common tools used to deal with vulnerability. We love to joke about how we are single but more than okay; we hate our double chins but love to advocate body positivity. But when you are poor life seems uncertain and you feel vulnerable, but how would you show it? You break into a song just like this duo. 
It’s the intention behind your behavior which makes it truly vulnerable, and the vulnerability in  humour is tender and tremulous.
6) I am human and I am vulnerable - the vulnerability of being atypical 
My Name is Khan
 A disability might mean we are always viewed as being vulnerable. When it comes to an intellectual disability like Rizwan’s - Asperger’s Syndrome - his inability to detect risk in society makes his vulnerability look normal to him. Many of us perceive vulnerability as something bad, as something which will makes us weak, ‘too’ emotional, or fragile. 
Here, it is Rizwan’s vulnerability that ends up showing people his strength; it shows us his disability is not a barrier.
7) What I want is to not be a stranger at a party - Asking for what you need
 Frances Ha (2013)
 The fear and anxiety of losing a relationship, followed by the desire to find the "perfect person" who will magically be able to read our minds can be mentally exhausting. And, often, futile.
Rather, when we finally display our desires on the table, exposing ourselves to judgements and criticism - we are vulnerable, but strong and unafraid as well. From there, we may walk out alone, but never be lonely again.
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