You Are Here is a wonderful roller coaster ride filled with danger, fear, tension affection and laughter.
The rolling emotions come across easily as we watch the 9/11 destruction on the twin towers in New York City. In one early scene as the towers come down we are exposed to the powerful sounds of the falling materials from the towers as they hit the air and the ground engulfed by the dust storm created by the destruction of the buildings materials.
But, unlike other 9/11 films the thrust of You Are Here takes place in a town in Newfoundland called Gander. Gender had a population of about 10,000 folks in 2001 and about 6,500 new arrivals come to town when all air traffic is halted by the U.S. The 38 planes from many different countries filled with folks from numerous foreign lands are deposited in Gander.
The folks in Gander appear to be what we might call average people like we see all over North America, nothing fancy here little glitz, just regular citizens of a providence on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. The events that occur in Gander for five or six days after 9/11 eventually reach out and become a Broadway musical in New York City.
What appears to be something out of people visiting grandma’s house the people of Gander immediately step up to the plate and provide, clothing, food and places to sleep for all the temporary visitors. One woman states she knows 101 ways to cook goulash and so she does. Each morning folks from the town got up early and cooked breakfast for the travelers who are housed in schools, churches city buildings, schools and in some private residences.
What is a tragic event for most of the World becomes a source of joy for people who are out of their element both in language and location. In one case Russians who cannot communicate because no Gander resident speaks their language are communicated through chapters in the Bible because they say the same thing in English as in Russian.
The wonder of the town lead by Mayor Claude Elliot even helps to bring entertainment to the lost souls as they wait for the powers to be opening the travel lanes again to allow them to get to their destination. One family who has a child on a make a wish vacation scheduled to end in Disney Land find the Ganders holding a party for all the kids using characters which are par of the local society. Even the make a wish kid states he is satisfied with the trip even if it does not reach Disney, he has had a great time.
The wonder of this documentary is it power to bring smiles, tears and pride in what humans can do for each other. Even the small activities like helping the animals on the flights and pressing to get more underwear for the beleaguered passengers becomes important if not paramount as time passes.
You Are Here is filled with the joy of life even as 9/11 take the lives of 3,000 plus lives and shocks the western world and that is why it is wonderful to see.