Mandorla: The Space Between


The Space Between is a 2021 American coming-of-age comedy film from Rachel Winter in her directorial debut. The film stars Kelsey Grammer, Jackson White, and Paris Jackson, and follows a musician named Micky Adams (Grammer) who becomes friends with Charlie Porter (White), a man sent to remove Adams from a record label contract in Los Angeles. Paramount Pictures theatrically released the film in the United States on April 23, 2021, with a digital release set for June 15.

Set in the 90s Los Angeles, Micky Adams, an eccentric has-been rock musician, loses his grip on reality all while his record label is looking to drop him and his newly created “unique” albums. In hopes of breaking out of the record-label mailroom, a young Charlie Porter is tasked with traveling to the musician’s bizarre home and forcing Micky out of his contract. Micky realizes Charlie could be the key to an artistic breakthrough, and the pair’s unlikely friendship grows. Wikipedia.

There’s a lot to like about this movie. Rachel Winter directs the plot and characters with a lighthearted touch. Yet beneath the deceptive quirkiness lies a wealth of unexpressed messages that are artfully woven through the story with images of the ocean. This particular ocean off the shore of Malibu is more than a beautiful place to admire and swim in. Psychologically, the ocean is a metaphor for the unconscious sides of each of the main characters: all the painful memories and disowned suffering they’re trying their best to deny and forget. And that llama? Maybe it’s a reminder of the magical, mysterious instinctual life with which we’ve lost touch.

Charlie Porter (Jackson White) oozes youthful eagerness and ambition. But behind his over-the-top confidence lurks a suffering, self-doubting child with a father wound. The eccentric behavior of former rock star Mickey Adams (Kelsey Grammer) shields a deep depression whose cause is not immediately apparent. But whatever it is, it has cost him his fame and creative inspiration. The persona of his daughter, Julia, (Julia Goldani Telles), is a mix of anger and toughness that hides a winsome vulnerability.

Then there is Cory (Paris Jackson), a beautiful, semi-talented young singer who, for unknown reasons, has sold her soul for fame, and freely gives her body to anyone who offers her a chance at it. A Hollywood cliche’ to be sure, but one that reveals the materialistic, soulless, shadow side of the drive for power and success that permeates contemporary Western societies. Another casualty of the same drive is the bizarre Donny Rumson (played masterfully by the veteran actor William Fichtner), who delights in rudely dismissing anyone who doesn’t immediately fulfill his every command.

On the surface of this enjoyable and satisfying film, the theme appears to be the aforementioned obsession for power and success and the consequences of achieving or losing it. But beneath that, other archetypal themes run through like deep ocean currents from beginning to end. The primal need for healthy parental nurturance. The universal search for love and pleasure. Finding the freedom to be authentic that comes when we face our demons and are released from our ego’s delusions. Deepest of all is the struggle to maintain a lasting connection to our creative Source that enables us to find our soul’s calling and answer it with a meaning-filled life.

All humanity is furnished with a deep hunger to fulfill the same archetypal goals.  But too often, we are unaware of the subtle messages from the unconscious ocean beneath our ordinary lives that would help us attain them. They come to us every day in the form of meaningful memories, symbols, emotions, intuitions, problematic experiences, conflicts in our work and relationships, synchronicities, and dreams. If we choose to stay aware of them and take them seriously, we can develop an ongoing connection between our ego and our creative Source.

My favorite symbol for this inner dialogue is the mandorla, the almond-shaped space created by two overlapping circles. Each circle on its own represents two separate entities, like two people who are not engaged in an honest and intimate dialogue, or two conflicting parts of yourself that both want to be seen and expressed, like a conflict you’re having about your religious beliefs, or two political parties. But when you allow the circles to meet and merge in that overlapping space where you can carry on a dialogue between both sides, freedom, creativity, inspiration, love, and inner union are born.

Watch the opening of The Space Between carefully.  See if you can see the mandorla, the space between the two characters who are swimming out into the ocean. This is a foreshadowing of the last scene which comes about because these characters listened to the messages coming from their souls and began to care for and communicate honestly with each other. As I see it, the question this film poses to viewers is: Are you listening to the messages your soul is sending?

Reminder: This Saturday, June 19, I’ll present a two-hour Zoom workshop called The Partnership Profile: A Self-Assessment of Your Feminine and Masculine Archetypes, for the Jung Center of Houston. I hope to see you on Zoom. 2:00 – 4:00 CDT. 3:00 – 5:00 EDT. (Please note the correct time for your time zone.) Register here.

After I wrote and scheduled this for publication tomorrow, I read the following email from the director of the Jung Association of Central Ohio — the organization that sponsored my first public presentation of this program last Saturday.  I hope you don’t mind a little shameless self-promotion, but it made me so happy I wanted to share it with someone.

Your program was stellar, Jean. So well-integrated and flowing with such reason and spirit. Your Lone Ranger dream was incredible. I was spellbound. How you used it to begin and end was brilliant. Sending you many blessings.

Thank you. 🙂

Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at KoboBarnes And Noble and Smashwords. Her Wilbur Award-winning book, Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Her new Nautilus Award-winning book, The Soul’s Twins, is available at Schiffer, Red Feather Mind, Body, Spirit and wherever books are sold. Subscribe to her newsletter at


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14 Responses

  1. So glad your Ohio zoom meet went well Jeanie, I was sorry to miss it. Will there ever be a link to it? The film sounds excellent portraying those ever present archetypal dynamics. I’ll look out for it. Love, susan

    1. Thank you, Susan. The Ohio Jung Society recorded my talk but not the discussion afterwards. They will make it available only for people who registered and couldn’t attend. However, if you register for the Houston event this weekend, they may make their recording available to you if you can’t attend.

      I really liked this film a lot. It’s not one of those movies that makes you anxious. It makes you laugh while it gives you a glimpse into the hidden inner life of people you end up caring for. Love, Jeanie

  2. “So well-integrated and flowing”
    It’s like a unique ability to crush all these concepts into a short presentation but all the bits and pieces have to be in order like a three dimensional chess board that leads the white or black audience to the check mate of understanding.
    Ha I was inspired by your movie review. I loved Kelsey in Frazier
    So a movie reviewer to boot? Well I’d love to read your review archives especially on the last Joker movie. It just occurred to me the crowd and riot scene reminded me of the dream I had last night.Oh my how the beat goes on!
    This social media thing allows such an instant opportunity to express the thoughts/ feeling energy the zips zags and occasional quirks.
    You’ve got my day started off like it’s going to be all down hill from here. In other words like that bush beer commercials where all the guys are around the camp fire all so freaking happy so they crack open a bussssssdshhhh beer.Then as a AA 12 stepper said -after the first beer it’s all down hill from here ie falling off /down the mountain.
    So I’ll join you next week for another exciting adventure of sea hunt with my special guest …
    Thanks 🙏🏼

  3. Thank you Mark. I’m so pleased to know you found the presentation to be “well-integrated and flowing” too! I like your analogy of a three-dimensional chess board. It was a challenge to integrate all the pieces of the puzzle that went into the Partnership Profile into a cohesive and coherent, three-dimensional whole. It’s good to know you think I succeeded.

    I have reviewed a few movies here—Avatar was one of the earliest ones. I also wrote one on “The Shape of Water.” I loved them both. But I haven’t done one on the Joker movie.

    I laughed at your analogy of the Busch beer commercial! But I do hope your day goes uphill rather than down! Or at least stays on a level plane.

    See you and your special guest this Saturday! Do register soon if you haven’t already, because they don’t get a certain number of attendees they’ll cancel it.


  4. Great
    Responses are so reaffirming –
    I’m glad you agreed with the analogy. I thought at the close wow how does she distill that lecture brew?I am watching the QUEEN’s GAMBIT on Netflix so chess was in my space .
    Have you seen the latest JOKER movie?
    Ok checking on my registration.

    1. No, i haven’t seen any of the Joker movies. Is this the same Joker as Batman’s nemesis?

      Thank you for the “wow.” Distilling that “lecture brew” took a few months of thought and writing and rewriting and rewriting, etc. etc. So did creating the powerpoint. In the latter stages I had help with that from a friend who’s a professional. It takes me a lot of time to write talks like this because I never get it right the first time. Fortunately, when I’m working intensely on a project, my unconscious gives me lots of hints in the liminal time just before fully waking in the morning. So I pay attention to what I’m thinking and imagining and worrying about, rush to my computer, and add the insights before I forget. This goes on for weeks…sometimes months. I love it!

      Loved the Queen’s Gambit!

      See you and your surprise guest Saturday.


      1. Well then all those spirits from the vat of the master brewer distill slowly but exceedingly fine.
        From Google—-
        :Forever alone in a crowd, failed comedian Arthur Fleck seeks connection as he walks the streets of Gotham City. Arthur wears two masks — the one he paints for his day job as a clown, and the guise he projects in a futile attempt to feel like he’s part of the world around him. Isolated, bullied and disregarded by society, Fleck begins a slow descent into madness as he transforms into the criminal mastermind known as the Joker. —- :
        It’s not a Batman flick trust me.
        Your liminal time sounds interesting. I’ll make a note of that for future consideration.I try to recall my dreams as I wake up. I reflect and let my response bubble up . Striking thoughts/feelings have the best chance of being scribbled out . Gathering in this time for your constructing work is a new one to me.
        Tara Singh said something like when he started to meditate/ sit in silence in the morning he would jot down all the tasks / goals that would cross his mind and that was helpful.
        My special guest was a dangling sentence (error )from thinking of old tv shows which the Lone Ranger put me in mind. Remember Sea Hunt with Loyd Bridges at the end of the episode he was bobbing on his boat where he would say JOIN US AGAIN NEXT WEEK! for another exciting adventure of SEA HUNT!

        1. Thank you for that first sentence.

          So the Joker movie is about Batman’s nemesis, but not about Batman. I do occasionally enjoy a psychological thriller. However, I tend to avoid films about criminals and crimes and wars because they depress me. I absorb the moods and emotions of the characters and find it hard to shake them off when the lights go on. That would be my strongly developed Mediatrix archetype.

          Now I understand what you meant by your special guest: “Join us again next Saturday for another exciting adventure of Sea Hunt (Ocean Hunt?) when my special guest will be…” 🙂


          1. Since you enjoyed that first sentence you know it’s from ‘ (Google )One of Longfellow’s translations was a 17th century poem, ‘Retribution,’ by Friedrich Von Logau: : Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small; : Though with patience he stands waiting, with exactness grinds he all.Mar 20, 2009
            So don’t watch the Joker you’ll feel a deep sadness which in my sparse movie experience was only matched by the The Wolfman 2010(Benicio Del Toro) when he howls at the full moon in the classic scene by the dead tree. Just saying….
            Ya the special guest quip was a mistake because unfortunately I don’t think Loyd ever announced next weeks special quest . He would cut there air hose and send them bubbling to the surface though with a “sorry”- “not sorry “.
            I have signed up for Houston.TA

    1. Saturday I was able to use my lap top and your slides added to your presentation.

      Your advice to the gentleman who ask the first question was good. It reminded me of what. J. Gary Sparks said or what I think I remember he said at a presentation in Dayton .When you make some issue conscious then somehow ,we don’t know how, the unconscious takes finds a way or resolution.
      Thanks. Even more sinks in the second time and motivates me to dig back into the book.

      1. HI Mark,
        I was glad to see you there. Thank you for coming.  I waved and said Hi, but I’m not sure you saw or heard me. I’m glad to know you were able to see the slide show. It really does add something to the whole event.

        Yes, the unconscious definitely responds when we  respond to it. It’s a two-way dialogue for sure. I’m so glad to hear that it motivates you to get back into the book.

        All best with your inner journey! 🙂

  5. I can’t enjoy movies with cochlear implant hearing, but I can enjoy and appreciate the wonderful reception you received at the Jung Association of Central Ohio. I gave my last workshop there about two years ago–perhaps my last workshop anywhere–and had a wonderful experience with this engaged group. I’m so glad you did, too, and that your work was appreciated and loved. It’s deeply satisfying when those soul connections are made. Congratulations, Jeanie.

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