Part documentary part drama, Māui’s Hook follows a group of families who lost loved ones to suicide while dramatizing a story of a young man’s acceptance of the irreversible path he has chose.
I wanted to see this movie because my life was impacted by suicide this past year. I wanted to see how this movie approached the topic, if it would bring any new perspective, and it did. Māui’s Hook is set in New Zealand, home to the highest youth suicide rate in the world. The families travel from Parihaka to Te Rerenga Wairua to say goodbye to their loved ones. The haka always gives me chills, and knowing the grieving emotion behind these performers made it sobering.
I thought this movie had several very beautiful moments. In one scene a woman is sitting on the couch looking out her window alone and she tries to cut herself. It was as if the woman wanted to join the peacefulness right outside her window and the only way is through death. I thought the way they portrayed the sweet allure of wanting to kill yourself was truthful and empathetic. I don’t think its like that for everyone, but it was like that for me once.
The best part of the movie in my opinion was how they allowed the survivors own their guilt. The first words out of most people’s mouth when talking to someone after a suicide, benevolently intended, is usually, “it wasn’t your fault.” We all bare guilt of how we treat each other, with some people you will never know to what extent you hurt them until it is too late. I think part of a survivor’s healing process is to say you are sorry and acknowledge the impact you both have had on each other’s lives.
With suicide rates climbing, Māui’s Hook is a conversation provoking film that reminds us to love one another. Even if someone doesn’t think they are loved, or capable of being loved, never give up on them. Remind them of the good times, and if they say those times are past, remind them that this time will pass too. Māui’s Hook reminds those that are watching that death is a permanent solution to temporary problems.