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Three Thousand Years of Longing | The Essential Explanation

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Reader Interactions


  1. A beautiful review of an amazing movie, thank you.

    • Thank you, Taylor!

  2. Best review I’ve read about this ethereal movie! Thank you:)

    • Thank you for reading it!

  3. Thanks a lot for that Chris. I just came home from the film, thinking about all the different meanings and metaphors, your blog put a smile on my face.

    You write beautiful, understandable and enjoyable. Keep going! Thanks

    • Thanks, Martijn!

  4. I was in tears reading your review. I just finished the movie and what I felt I took from it, I couldn’t put into words; you did just that. Such a fantastic movie, it’s forever ingrained, probably because I relate! Thank you so much.

    • That’s very kind of you to say! It’s funny, because I hadn’t checked comments for a few days. Then talked to my therapist about stuff and she asked what validation I get from doing this work. And I mentioned how uplifting and validating the comments can be and how rewarding that is. When we got off the call, I thought to check comments and yours was the first I saw. Thank you. What part of the movie was your favorite?

  5. Brilliant review and format.

    Kudos and best of luck!

    • Thanks, Gershon!

  6. Surprised you didn’t touch on the creative muse theme. That’s what I got from the Djinn’s presence–that he was her muse, returned to her after she cast him away as a child. There’s a line he speaks, something along the lines of “and yet, here I am” in response to her describing how she burned her notebooks describing her childhood imaginary love. His purpose in her life was to inspire her creativity and this was fulfilled when she wrote her book. Creativity doesn’t thrive in a modern world with all its tech intrusions, so his gradual decline in modern London tracks with this interpretation. People can’t stay in a quasi-religious state of creative inspiration their entire lives but must also “chop wood, carry water” and attend to the practical details. However, if we remain psychologically available, our muse will visit us and inspire us periodically, when circumstances permit.

    • The creative muse theme is nice! I’ll add a section about this and be sure to credit your comment!

      • Hi everyone,

        Such a good review Chris, and nice comments from the audience. Thanks all.

        I ve seen this movie for the third time now. First about 4-5 months ago, second on 13th June (my bday 😋) and third on 14th June (yeah. that is two days in a row…)

        I second the creative muse perspective. She first had Enzo as a child back at the school… the second time Enzo comes in is during her marriage in the form of a pregnancy, third time Djinn is the muse.

        I d like to explore the second Enzo a bit deeper as I think it explains why Djinn comes into her life. What I gather is that Alithea’s marriage to Jack starts falling apart after her pregnancy prematurely ends (the first and last image of Enzo, seen in the diary right below the pregnancy test…) and following pages of the marriage diary are completely blank. Perhaps she was the one who was less understood, but Jack thought “she was incapable of reading feelings” to which she replies “… of his feelings”. This is accompanied by the scene where we see Jack moving on from the trauma (of the loss of Enzo) by having a romance with another woman, while Alithea is still (likely) stuck in her life… this is how her muse disappears for the second time. And yet the Djinn is there again “and yet here I am”, when she is ready to move on with her life… so her muse reappears for the third time, only his name is not Enzo this time.

        Number “three” is also important here I think, as referenced in the movie directly “a number of power…” remember where the djinn says “but this is our story and we can write it in any way we like” encouraging Alithea to hold on strong to her faith (and to her scholarly mind) that she can have a different ending to their ‘third’ story.

        I could also grasp this movie from another angle of ‘re-creation’ / ‘reincarnation’. Alithea recreates herself in the shape of all these women:

        – Shiba with her scholarly mind
        – Gülten losing a loved one and a child (because of another woman, Hurrem – like she lost Jack to another woman)
        – Zefir with her solitude and creative power (natural artist, unseen potential, with powers to dream awake like a djinn referring to power of imagination). In a way she remembers (or imagines) her prior reincarnations… Zefir s method of fast reading (same of that of Alithea) is a direct reference to this reincarnation imo. Zefir also has a collection of glass…
        – When the djinn finishes talking about his love for Zefir, Alithea reacts the same way Sheba reacts to Solomon’s music.

        In this version we can also see her reincarnating, doing the same mistake over and over again (not being able to wish the three wishes in a way that makes her fully content and sets the djinn free). Finally she manages to strike that balance between her solitude and her faith in love, while also granting the djinn his full freedom in her 4th reincarnation.

        This has been a rather long review – and is typed on iPhone so please excuse all spelling mistakes and possible lack of coherence at times.

        • Hey Porto!

          Appreciate the kind words. Belated happy birthday!

          And I appreciate the thoughts! I wrote this after seeing the movie in theaters, so going back to it after another viewing is definitely in order as some of the nuance you’re describing does need fleshed out!

          I really really really like the connection between Alithea and the other three women.

          And your post didn’t have spelling mistakes that I saw and was perfectly coherent. It was wonderful, thank you!

          Any other movies you’d like to see us write about?

  7. THANK YOU so much for this meaningful take on such a thought-provoking movie. My earlier post was unceremoniously deleted, but maybe the universe thought it was too lengthy. Anyway, I’ll just quickly say that you filled in a few blanks for me. I did wonder if there was some connection between Enzo/the journal she kept in childhood, and Djinn/the journal she had at the end of the movie. Something to ponder on rewatch.

    • Hey Pamela! Sorry your comment was deleted. Not sure what happened there! There’s definitely a connection between Enzo/journal and Djinn/journal. I thought I mentioned that somewhere in the article? Another commenter made mention that both Enzo and the Djinn served as creative inspirations for her. As both got her writing and dreaming and in touch with that poetic and romantic part of herself that she often kept locked away. It’s through these figures that she’s able to drift and dream and connect to something both inside of her and greater than her.

      George Miller definitely wanted audiences to see that connection between Enzo/Djinn so it’s great you picked up on it!

  8. I think the movie is about how powerful imagination and story is, to the point that it lives out in real life; often unseen by others. Her imaginary friend is what she named her child-to-be on the ultrasound picture (shown in the binder of her past life with her husband). At the end, someone says, “Mom” and she turns for a second. I never saw a mother in the shot (maybe I missed it). The “imaginary friend” (her unborn child) that she said was gone forever still lives with her. I think the relationship with the Djinn only lives on in heartfelt story and imagination, the same way as her unborn child.

    • That is a very lovely connection!

  9. Thank you for your review Chris.
    I often find myself searching the internet for someone to share sentiments about films that truly touch me, and your article has done just that.
    It kind of goes along with the theme of the film, when we feel the most alive we often want to share it, and that can be very hard for introverts who live most of their lives in their minds. The longing in the film resonated with the longing I’ve felt in my own life, so it was really a pleasure to read your take on it, of which my feelings mirror. Thank you for putting into words my thoughts and feelings that were stirring around like vapor in the air. I hope you continue to find love in stories like these like I have.

    • Thanks, Cam! I’m happy to hear that. If you haven’t watched Past Lives, you might really enjoy Past Lives!

  10. Thank you so much for your insightful views about this movie. They really helped me to grasp the possible meanings much more fully, and therefore made the movie experience more enjoyable for me. I am amazed at all that you got out of it and were able to share.

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