I watched the OA based on recommendation that I would be interested in the movements within. The basics of this Netflix series is that a young woman (sometimes called the OA, previously blind) returns to her home with the ability to see and other not as clearly defined abilities. She recruits five people to help her with a secret mission whose purpose isn’t revealed for quite some time, everyone relying on good faith and hope that what she says is true. The narrator of the story is quite unreliable and at times it is difficult to tell whose perspective the audience is being given at all, tapping into the truth that most people are very eager to believe what they hear. The show attempts to grapple with many big questions, some of which are analyzed in this great article from The Vulture.
The OA believes the path to freedom, to stop being a prisoner in her own life, is performance of five movements (The Movements) with “perfect feeling”, which must be done with five other people. The movements were given in another realm or dimension, the in between of life and death, that her and the others she was held captive with are constantly pushed into by their captor.
The Movements were designed by choreographer Ryan Heffington, who is well known for his work with Sia and others. I think what the movements do, whether or not they actually heal the sick or transport into another dimension, is they they create this almost wild, charged energy in the space that feels true to the essence of the shared experience. It gives the boys and captives something to hold on to, a shred of hope and humanity. They can touch each other, create a closeness that seems to be missing in each of their lives, through their collective energies and moving their bodies in ways they’ve never moved before. Perhaps more will be explained about exactly how The Movements work in Season 2.
The Movements have received some harsh critique about their inclusion in the show, but creator and star Brit Marling believes that all the response to The Movements “is beautiful and is right and I understand it all because I had that range of response in learning them myself.” She goes on to to say, “It’s one of the most primal, immediate, ancient forms of communication, and I think this woman has this traumatic experience and whether it was all true or part true or metaphor for a deeper truth that is hard to get at with facts, she [introduces] this technology to the boys and it has a profound effect on them and it bonds them and motivates them and liberates them in some way that maybe nothing else could have.” via Hollywood Reporter