By Janice K. Neal-Vincent
When you watch the 2016 movie “Tinker,” written by Casey Dillard and directed by Glenn Payne, what you find is love. The story places Leonard in a dilemma to find financial security in what he loves to do: invent.
Leonard falls short of pursuing his goal of invention and wrestles with uneasiness. He is rejected in the midst of obstructing justice. He resents a Girl Scout’s cookie sales success. He languishes on thoughts of a deceased father who was blind sighted to his craft. He fails to visit his dying mother. Leonard strives to impress a sister and brother-in-law with the knowledge that he created good projects for sale.
The film’s storytelling, backed with excellent, moving sound effects and visual effects, captures the mind and moves it into the direction of responsibility and accountability. This comes clearly through outward places such as parking lots, a shop for inventions, and a home that welcomes loved ones.
Additionally, lurking voices and nonverbal expressions of a child’s behavior, an officer’s reminders of obstruction of justice, and a sister’s repeated appeals for relief regarding a mother’s need for care come into play. The producers skillfully attempt to drive Leonard from dreadful thoughts of a deceased father’s inner voice of ridicule by pushing him to a mother who is in need and longs for his presence.
After several visits from Karen and her husband, Leonard’s conscience begins to speak to him. He shows up at some point at his mother’s home and finds her asleep in a chair. When he gently touches her, she awakes with a blush. Her demeanor, tone of voice, hugs, and encouraging words are essentials that Leonard needs for confirmation that his inventions are worthy of pursuit. The on-screen chemistry between son and mother is remarkable, thereby demonstrating instant gratification, self-respect and care.
The eyes of the camera and the soft music are the inviting links needed to send this message of empathy home. Different intersections of our lives creep in from time to time and provide the ammunition we need to get fired up. Leonard’s consolation from the pat-on-the back session with his mother was what he was missing throughout his invention struggles. It was that one visit that caused him to have a change of heart that moved him into a different direction.
As the mother slept, he thought about the Girl Scout he repeatedly disrespected. He found a child’s sneaker he had made and returned to the cookie table site with a new face. Rather than hostility, he showed kindness by placing the sneaker under the imbalanced cookie table.
As I watched the two of them, I thought about the cliché “You can kill a person with kindness.” Pulling the viewer into that most significant thought was a clear revelation of love that human beings have within. Dillard and Payne are to be commended for their skillful portrayal of this element. Other visual effects were special for this timely film. The imbalanced table at the cookie site reflected our internal struggles and the missing elements needed for healing.
The Girl Scout who followed the law and persisted in cookie sales demonstrated that adults can be shamed into doing what is right. The numerous gadgets needing to be purchased showed the need for an inventor to recognize he was equipped with a special gift to make unique products and to help others along the way.
This film is a perfect matchmaker for human nature. In it rests intent to exercise freewill, forgiveness and compassion. It never wavers from one’s inner voice to do what is right. Tinker invites us to come as we are, despite flaws and blemishes. It lives and breathes empathy, that element of identification that speaks to us all when we step out of our comfort zones and psychologically take on the mind of another.
Therein lies the values of honesty, integrity and respect.