The 16-year-old asked me to watch American History X with him. I remembered it was a good movie, but I didn’t remember this amazing scene where Sweeney (Avery Brooks) and Derek (Edward Norton) demonstrate the power of questions.
The look on Derek’s face when Sweeney asks him, “Has anything you’ve done made your life better?” is incomparable.
But something happens before Sweeney asks this question. Before the camera moves closer and the music starts playing, Derek asks: "How the fuck do you know so much about what’s going on inside me?"
And THAT's when the real magic happens.
If Derek hadn't asked this question, he wouldn't have been affected by Sweeney's story about himself:
"There was a moment when I used to blame everything and everyone. (...) I didn’t get no answers ’cause I was asking the wrong questions."
And he wouldn't have been able to hear Sweeney's advice:
"You have to ask the right questions."
If Derek had not started asking questions himself, the personal transformation that is the focal point of the whole movie would not have happened.
That's why I think "How the fuck do you know so much about what’s going on inside me?" is the most important question in this conversation.
What do you think?