And while sometimes I need “a good cry” as much as the next person, I didn’t on this particular day.
Yet even with all this stacked against it, “I’ll See You in My Dreams” turned out to possess that rarest and most ephemeral of all cinematic qualities – total authenticity at the heart of a tale of fiction.
As I grow older (45 this year – wow!) I find I have less of a craving for that famous quality provided by so many films – total escapism.
I think this is because, these days, I have lots of ways to escape if I want to….and a correspondingly reduced desire to escape in general as I realize more than half my time here has likely already flown by!
So the outcome is that sometimes what I crave most in a film experience is something much less easy to come by – the affirmation of what is real.
And by this I don’t mean knowing answers to common trivia questions or being able to recollect my multiplication tables (I had a hard enough time remembering those on the first go-round!)
What I mean is the affirmation of a realness of life that is both totally messy and totally worth it.
What I mean is a map pointing towards the intersection of grief and gratitude, tears and smiles, complete with instructions for how to find it again from, well, anywhere.
What I mean is a dip into the depth of a totally worth-it life being fully and well lived…that also just happens to be BYOB and ends in approximately 120 minutes.
“I’ll See You in My Dreams” delivered all of this and more.
No one overacted (actually, in some cases, the refreshing opposite took place).
No one hogged any screen time, but shared graciously so all could be seen, heard, and experienced as themselves, each in the time they were allotted.
No one took the predictable path, but permitted the paths themselves to provide their own intriguing and unpredictable outcomes.
This was nice – each bit, and all of it together.
As I type this post, my baby tortoise, Malti, is traversing a familiar and well-worn path around the edges of our front yard fence.
Sort of like life itself (and the common end it brings to us all) this path is still essentially the same as it was yesterday when we visited, and last year when she walked it for the first time.
But in the small amounts of time between each visit, so much life transpires – most of which we can deduce only through evidence left behind for us to find – that it almost seems like a brand-new trail by the time we arrive again.
Or at least that is how we both see it, through a small and always-enthusiastic tortoise’s eyes.
This sums up what it was like for me to watch “I’ll See You in My Dreams.” There was just enough of the familiar to allow me to “tune in” to each character as they appeared and lived their personal lives on the screen in front of me.
Yet their choices were uniquely their own (i.e. not always what mine might have been in their shoes).
And the way they made their choices reminded me in no uncertain terms of life’s highest priority – showing up fully for each and every moment and making a choice to live fully in that moment, come whatever may come.
Today’s Takeaway: Have you seen “I’ll See You in My Dreams?” What was your impression of the film? If you haven’t seen this movie, can you recall another film you enjoyed (or even one you didn’t enjoy) that affected you similarly?