“We can do all of this by phone and telex”
In the 1983 film Local Hero, Mac (Macintyre) was sent to Scotland to buy a village, so that his employer, a global oil and gas company, could build an oil refinery on the ridiculously picturesque Scottish coastline. Instead, Mac fell in love with the village, the scenery, the people, the northern night skies and the lifestyle of the place. He couldn’t complete the deal as originally planned, and returned to Houston. But, the final scene suggests that he hadn’t really left the town of Ferness.
The movie didn’t make much of an impact at the box office, but its warmth, charm, and subtle messages of empathy and understanding make it a continuing favourite of many. Al Gore apparently named Local Hero as his favourite movie, perhaps because of its fit within a narrative of environmental stewardship (the oil refinery gave way to a marine institute). The real charm of Local Hero, however, is in its gentle presentation of a narrative whereby Mac realizes that there is much more to life than his Porsche 930, his watch alerting him to conference calls, and an apartment full of high-end quadrophonic audio equipment (the 80s, remember?). The movie presents a storyline whereby Mac starts mixing directly with the locals, and emerges far better for the experience. In a time when we seem to be using technology to reduce and even eliminate human contact from our daily lives, it’s a theme worth revisiting. Continue reading “Social Wellness and e-commerce – Lament for a Local Hero”