Cast Away is a metaphor for the break-up of relationship(s).
The first clue is that Chuck Noland (No-Land, ie marooned) works for Fed(up) EX. His relationship with Kelly was already on the rocks/washed-up before he even got onto the plane. He is a man who is work and time obsessed, who ironically does not put enough time or effort into his personal relationships. There is a scene where they slow dance to the sound of the copier in Kelly's office, symbolising that their romance is co-ordinated around work. When he gives Kelly the hand towels as a xmas gift, she says she will always think of him when "she washes her hands (of him)". Although Kelly loves Chuck, there are indications that she may have doubts about his reliability as a father due to his work priorities. Starting a family must be at the forefront of Kelly's mind after the disappointment of one failed marriage, and has set her biological clock forward as she now approaches middle age. It is established that she herself comes from a large family during the dinner scene, and would most likely want to start a family of her own very soon.
Before his time on the island, Chuck struggles to empathise on a personal level, as demonstrated in the awkward scene when his friend's wife has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Chuck suggests to arrange a meeting to "crack this thing", rather than just 'be there' for his friend, which is what his friend needed most. After the plane crash, Chuck finds a colleague washed-up on the beach, and only after he looks at the colleague's ID does he find out his full first name ("Albert, not Alan").
The packages that wash ashore symbolise a happy and balanced life and relationships; a pair of ice skates, a prom dress, a birthday card to a child; all of the things associated to a healthy loving life lived to it's fullest.
Wilson becomes not just a companion Chuck creates for the sake of his sanity, but as he is literally drawn of Chuck's blood, could be viewed as his child. Chuck certainly mourns him like his own flesh & blood. Without this experience, Chuck would not have gained a sense of parental responsibilty that Kelly suspected was missing previously. This is also in evidence when he realises that Kelly could not possibly just abandon her family for him. He has gained a perspective of the important things in life.
One of the paths at the end leads to Canada; often a route and destination used by those wishing to flee. Chuck chooses not to run away, and instead sees Bettina (and could the dog in the back of her truck represent a reincarnation of Wilson?) as his chance to redeem mistakes and choices he has made before being castaway.
It's a story of how neglect leads to loss, and how one can learn and grow from that loss. It''s arguable that Chuck would have had a much less richer life if not for his experience on the island.
Was Wilson synonymous with Wilson the soldier who finally died in the book The Naked and the Dead?
I appreciate the previous interpretations. I've been thinking about the symbolism of Wilson, specifically when Chuck chooses the raft over Wilson as he drifts away. Of course, up until that point, Wilson represents a friend and companion to Chuck as he faces down unimaginable loneliness. But when Chuck realized that Wilson is drifting away and out of reach, Chuck must either leave the raft (his best hope for survival) behind or let Wilson go. I see this as a test of his sanity, of sorts. As much as Chuck had become dependent on Wilson's companionship in his isolation, he sees that the raft, although still a risky proposition, as his best opportunity for survival now. While it is excruciating for Chuck to let Wilson go, he makes the only sane choice.
I think that Chuck's Wilson v. Raft dilemma is symbolic of the choices we sometimes make in facing changing life circumstances. What works to sustain and comfort us in some situations in our lives may actually provide a false comfort as our lives change and different options present themselves. Being dependent on something (or someone) that no longer serves us, as comforting as it may be, is a dead end. Choosing to let go of what no longer can serve you in favor of the (riskier) possibility of the future is the only choice one can make if one wants to move forward. Chuck choosing Wilson and letting the raft drift away instead would have been disastrous. Instead, Chuck chose the only possible path for his future.
I think that Chuck embodies the entire human species in this movie, and here are some reasons why.
The entire movie has a sense of harsh reality to it, as there is nearly no musical score except for during the most emotional parts of the film.
During his time on the island, he realizes that he's probably going to die, and he has very little control over how or when this will happen. Despite this, he pushes on, and tries to remain alive for reasons he doesn't fully understand.
The musical score does an amazing job of conveying this feeling of powering on, however pointless it may be.
As humans, we all know what is waiting for us at the end. It's a matter of how you decide to spend your intervening time, and what you decide to live for in a universe where nothing truly matters.
This movie is all about God and man he says he realized he was powerless and as he realized he could not even control killing himself a warm blanket came over him and after that he knew he was to keep breathing and it would all be ok. God or a higher power sent him wings sent him all he needed he gave up the conception of control and time and learned to act on gut impulse and trust his soul and he became a spiritual man of a more primitive nature. He follows his heart he relies on fate and keeps going knowing all will be provided and happen as it should ing gods time not FedEx! He learns to let go of jelly the hardest thing he could do in faith that he learned on the island. All floated to shore just as he needed it and just as the end provides the next mate love of his life. So much wonderful symbolism and proof that faith and acceptance and letting go of control will allow us to get the warm blanket gods love grace and safety. We are all getting exactly what we need when we need it but we must also do out past and struggle in the journey and fight to stay alive and God will do the rest. This is my favorite movie of all time and best acting I have ever experienced. He didn't need to talk most of the movie we read his body language and emotion to speak much louder than words! The only movie I didn't look at my watch once and wanted to follow him for many years after to see what happened but the director lets us know clearly and also a mystery as all good directors do. Best movie ever made!
The message behind Cast Away....
The message is that you never really know how life is, or how it's going to treat you until you are at your most desperate. The message is to live each day without the assumption there will be ice in your glass. None of us will ever know who we are or who we truly will be when faced with an actual challenge until we are out there. Between fishing for fresh crab, or contemplating hanging ourselves from the weak branch, we are all alone in our souls. The best we can do is to go out there and fight for survival, and fight for life.
Chuck went above and beyond his job's requirements. He spent 4 years trapped on an island with only a voleyball as company, and he still delivered the package. Better late than never I suppose, where does FedEx find these people? I wonder what was in the package, it would be funny if it was a waterproof radio or something that would've gotten him saved immediately.
I just noticed that when the fedex guy first picks up the package from Betina at the beginning of the movie, there is an Elvis CD on the table, and an Elvis song starts to play. Elvis of course was Chucks favorite artist.
I agree that the 4 directions and he turns back the way of the angel wings lady and smiles. And he was never married to Kelly. I showed a wedding ring before he left, but he never actually proposed, and they were never married. Multiple people referred to Kelly as being his wife, when in fact, she was merely a girlfriend!
I thought about this movie yrs later and realized he never mentioned God. if this is indeed true I have to believe the writer omitted the reference purposely. After all most human beings believe in a higher power. And given his situation most of us would have to be praying at some point, right? Chuck did none of this. Chuck used the hope of getting back to his fiancée and then 'made a friend' whom he could share his daily thoughts and feelings with. In the darkest of moments or the happiest of times, these moments are always about ourselves and each other. If there is a God he is clearly about another life. Not this one.
As someone who has dealt with depression, this movie really got to me. To this day it still gets to me. I think anyone who has gone through a difficult circumstance in their life can easily see the deeper meaning that is conveyed in this movie, whether or not the director intended it to do so.
From my perspective, Tom Hank's character represents someone who has experienced something traumatic in their life and the difficulties in living with it.
Personally for me, it represents the time in my life where I was severely depressed, lost, alone, and felt like I could not go on. The angel wings on the package is a brilliantly vague item which represents the one thing that pushed him to keep going and to survive. Sometimes we don't know what that is. I am honestly not sure what kept me holding on to life, just as we don't know what is in the package.
No matter what you have experienced, it is very hard to go through change and to learn when you need to move on, which happens when Chuck leaves the island. It is very difficult to let go of the things that have held you back.
I could go on and on, but this is what I saw in the movie. To me it will always be one of the best films ever created.
To me it seems clear that Chuck saw the angel wing package as a sign of hope. Some spiritual "something" that meant he wasn't alone - he didn't open the package because he needed to have those angel wings nearby. And they were right there next to him all along - while he was shining the light on the photo of his girlfriend in the watch. He took the package with him on the raft and when he delivered it, his note said" it kept him alive" (meaning a sense of hope - a feeling that life was more important than death and not to give up) He delivered the package and realized when he met the girl in the road that it was her company logo. You see, until he got further along in his own personal story, he couldn't see that she was there with him all the time (the package) and she was where he was meant to end up in the end.
One of the above posts says that he is NOT looking in the direction of Angel Wings' home, but having reviewed it again I see he most definitely is looking in the direction she drove off in which is down the light colored gravel road. The 3 other directions are regular paved roads. And of course the slight smile makes us believe that he will go talk to her.
I feel the title says it all - Cast Away, not castaway (as in a person) but in letting go. It is a simplistic plot, yet the feelings are very deep. He had to let go of Wilson & Kelly. Finally, compare the scene of when the "wings" on the outhouse flew away while he was in the storm on the sea, he looked at the wings on the back of her truck as the same thing... letting go, and he need to keep on going, keep on breathing. I saw the end of the movie with the 4 different directions as 4 opportunities. I think he told the sculptress all that was needed in the note he left and let it go.
I agree that that package was like an achievement he has to deliver... I was really impresed with the storm effects when the plane fall... I was confused at the end, Bettina said that this specificly road has nothing, only canada so after watch when he is back at his apartment he's laid on the floor figurating like raining in the island,with the kelly's pic. I first thought that he want to be somewhere with nothing again with different circunstances of course... but after watch it again it will seem like he will be after betina due to the package meaning.
In the scene where Tom Hanks is talking to his friend about his time on the island, TH makes the following statement; "I just needed to keep breathing, because you never know what the tide will bring in" (referring to the portion of an outhouse that he used as a sail for his raft). Just as the tide brought the sail, so to had the tide (figuratively) brought this women into his life to fill the void of losing Kelly. In my mind this was confirmed when TH turns back to look in the direction of the women's house and then begins to smile. The tide had delivered again.
Part of the movie is about grasping onto things. People think their existence is real, but it's not. We are all made up of atomic particles with empty space in between, it's all illusory. Tom Hanks can't let go of the fact that he's stuck on an island - he's not working for FedEx anymore so he grasps onto that last box that he never opens in order to make believe he is. He creates Wilson to grasp onto his wife whom he may never see again. He never really let's go until the end, however, when he views the paths in front of him, a message that I think states, "it doesn't matter." We're all stuck in an endless cycle of death and rebirth until we can find a conduit towards the absolute truth of the universe.