so, I've now seen the eternal sunshine of the spotless mind 3 times.
and each time I've cried like a baby or come awfully close
(i really should learn to watch this particular flick in private, i guess)
and it's not like the movie is a tearjerker. at least not in same the vein as... say...terms of endearment or bambi or something
so, i've tried to figure out what it is that upsets me so much about this movie..that haunts me in such an overwhelming way that the tears flow so freely, that my nostalgia is suddenly cleanly released
now, anyone who reads this blog knows i think about memory a lot. hell, for your reading enjoyment and edification, simply scroll down ONE post if you don't believe
so it's fair to assume that the movie's focus, with memory being such a thematic core, is part of the reason i personally take it so close to home
but last night i realized there is something more in there
something that hits the core of my fears and hopes
(hell, there must be or i wouldn't be referencing it twice in my blog in three months)
a friend of mine commented as the movie ended "well, that was a perfect date movie" and my initial reaction was...hell! it's kind of a downer for that, don't you think
but he followed it up with a comment that made me realize what it was that's hit me each time "well yeah, but it doesn't exactly make you want to be alone, does it"
and then i thought about the ending: not a sad ending really, you could even call it a happy, hopeful ending one almost impossible for a movie of such frustration, that expresses what is so harrying and wonderful about relationships and so infuriating about the simple ways we manage to sabotage them
and then i realized what it is: there is a sense within the film of the ominous flaws we carry around with us that serve to intersect true connection and that lay dormant waiting to threaten the core of what we do manage to build
and unlike so many other films that paint the demise of relationships as so black and white (you know, movies where someone cheats, or was a jerk or a tease, underneath, all along..) or show love overcoming unreasonable odds, this movie portrays a fantastic and flawed relationship in which even the deepest connection and real love are not enough to make it work, to overcome the egos and self sabotage and petty differences
but more importantly, within the sudden hope at the end it seems to carry a more important message: that those flaws are part of it all. the shits gonna fly even if you are the nicest people with the best intentions. and that's sad and fucked but also okay and not as important as the good stuff. and that maybe the fatal flaw to true intimacy is trying to find news ways to make it too easy
see, love is not enough.
it's true. you can love someone desperately and find that there is just too much to get over or get through to be with them, in the end. there are endless systems of circumstance and intent that are just as influential, in the end
knowing this is one of the ugliest lessons, i think, that adults raised on romance like candy, eventually learn
but understanding that the anger and frustrations are inherent in intimacy, seeing how much more gratifying, in the end , it can be to make it happen and invest and work, despite the flaws...acknowledging that even though you might end up a pile of rubbery raw motions in the end, that you WILL, at some points, feel worse than you ever imagined and sometimes for the silliest thing...and that you'd do it all over again anyway, is the very core of what makes it worth it and what makes things work, i think
so maybe it is the perfect date movie, because it makes you want it...but the real it, it makes you want to find something worth that kind of frustration. it makes you want real love and intimacy and interaction, not this holywood extension fo the first date that so many movies try to sell us
it makes you want love, not romance
see, i think somewhere along the way something has taught us that it will be easy. that if it's right, it will work...almost seamlessly...the deserving honest people find love without serious compromise and that someone that we love would never hurt us
for some lucky people this is, no doubt, true
but i think about all the couples i know who seem right for each other, who are finding happiness with each other, and i think about all these couples in my family who were together 20, 30, 50 years, and the truth of it is, many of them have waded through unimaginable crap while doing it
people they love have hurt them horribly, often without intent or even their own awareness
some of them came out together, some didn't...and yes, some will implode, some will persevere, but it wasn't and wont always be easy
the people you love the most will hurt you
even if they dont want to, even if they can't imagine how they could do it or they would DID do it...and that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to fix the things that cause this pain, or that everyone should wade through agony for love...it just means that that silly flawed creature have silly flawed relationships with the occasional big ugly bruise
it might in fact, be much much easier to be alone, in the end...but that doesn't make you want to be, does it?