“This above all: to thine own self be true…”
“You shouldn't let other people get your kicks for you.”
To thine own self be true. It’s an age-old turn of phrase, but what does it actually mean? To deny one’s character to one’s self, no matter how dissolute that disposition, was considered to be the greatest transgression against the Natural Order of the Universe. A crime, in Shakespeare's time, which was thought to incur the wrath of God.
Mr. Jack is a film which addresses this question in a contemporary situation. It is the story of Val Shepard, a painter with the inability to accept praise or love. Returning to New York after a self-imposed exile Val meets Jackson King, 'Mr. Jack' and by living vicariously through Mr. Jack, Val discovers what he could have accomplished had he not succumbed to his fears.
Thematically, Mr. Jack addresses questions of self-awareness and the cause and effect of denying one’s self. As the story unfolds, Val begins a manipulation of the present that he believes will undo his past. However, by not being true to essences, Val sets a series of events into motion that, in the end, will destroy all which he cherishes.