Guillermo del Toro is putting all his cards in on optimism in 2019, and he’s hoping people around the world decide to join him. As part of Time magazine’s second annual “The Art of Optimism” issue, guest edited by Ava DuVernay, the “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “The Shape of Water” filmmaker wrote a beautiful essay on the power of choosing optimism over despair, especially in 2019.
“Optimism is radical,” del Toro writes. “It is the hard choice, the brave choice. And it is, it seems to me, most needed now, in the face of despair — just as a car is most useful when you have a distance to close. Otherwise it is a large, unmovable object parked in the garage.”
After winning the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director with “The Shape of Water,” del Toro is currently on a hiatus from filmmaking. In the meantime, the director is continuing to produce new horror films such as Scott Cooper’s “Antlers” for Fox Searchlight and André Øvredal’s “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” for Lionsgate and CBS Films.
Read del Toro’s essay on optimism in its entirety below. Click here to read more from Time’s “The Art of Optimism” issue.
Optimism is radical. It is the hard choice, the brave choice. And it is, it seems to me, most needed now, in the face of despair — just as a car is most useful when you have a distance to close. Otherwise it is a large, unmovable object parked in the garage.
These days, the safest way for someone to appear intelligent is being skeptical by default. We seem sophisticated when we say “we don’t believe” and disingenuous when we say “we do.”
History and fable have both proven that nothing is ever entirely lost. David can take Goliath. A beach in Normandy can turn the tide of war. Bravery can topple the powerful. These facts are often seen as exceptional, but they are not. Every day, we all become the balance of our choices — choices between love and fear, belief or despair. No hope is ever too small.
Optimism is our instinct to inhale while suffocating. Our need to declare what “needs to be” in the face of what is. Optimism is not uncool; it is rebellious and daring and vital.
The American writer Theodore Sturgeon once said: ”Ninety percent of everything is crap” and I believe he was right. But surely that also means that “Ten percent of everything is worth the damn effort.”
And so it goes time after time, choice after choice, that we decide to leave behind a biography or an epitaph. Look around you now and decide between the two.
Inhale or die.