Life can be summed up as a series of journeys. Each experience takes us down a new road that helps to shape who we are. However, sometimes we can get lost on once familiar paths and loose sight of ourselves in the process.
This was the case for Megan Murphy who, after a recent breakup, found herself back in her childhood home. Still attempting to come to terms with the lingering grief left by her parents’ passing, Murphy stumbles across her father’s journal which was long believed to be lost in a fire. It was in reading about his solo biker trip through Ireland in 1973 that Murphy found an unexpected source of inspiration.
Restoring her father’s original bicycle, and using his journal as a guide, Murphy sets out to retrace her father’s steps in hopes of gaining a better understanding of her ancestry. It is only when Murphy begins cycling on the same roads her father travelled that her own path in life begins to come clear.
Much of Murphy’s Law consists of observing the director as she cycles through Ireland visiting key spots in her father’s journey. Voice-over readings of the journal provide the aura of her father’s spirit being along with her every step of the way.
Murphy’s film manages to walk a delicate line, never drifting into being a mere travelogue or piece of artifice. While the viewer is always aware of the presence of the camera, it is Murphy herself, and not her father, that proves to be the most intriguing character. With each new summit her bicycle overcomes, and each historical spot she visits, the audience gets to see the gradual change within her.
Murphy’s Law may start off as a tale about understanding the past, but it ultimately revels itself to be a charming journey towards empowering oneself.
Sunday, June 4, 3:30 PM, Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema