Cassavetes was a deeply spiritual filmmaker. From Shadows to Love Streams his theme is spiritual growth and renewal-which in his work, to some extent, always involves personal upheaval and disruption. Growth is painful because it asks us to leave old definitions of ourselves behind. In Cassavetes' view, throughout our lives we build emotional cocoons that shield us from truth. The cocoon can be anything that lets us coast through experience: a job we take our identity from, a comfortable economic status, a marriage-any complacency are the enemies of truth. The master narrative of all of Cassavetes films is to characters to shed their old skins. The events and interactions are battering rams to splinter the emotional and intellectual walls characters immure themselves within.