Wednesday 8 February 2012

Peas & Carrots

"I knew it the very first time I touched her. It was like coming home... only to no home I'd ever known... I was just taking her hand to help her out of a car and I knew. It was like... magic."
-Sam Baldwin, 'Sleepless In Seattle'

Isn't it the most beautiful thing ever? Two people going off into the crazy world and always finding their way home. I don't even mean Greenbow, Alabama. I mean, finding their way home.. to each other. Forrest found Jenny in a seedy club singing Bob Dylan songs. Jenny found Forrest in Washington, D.C., during a rally.

Something always led them home.

The promise of films is an enticing one. It gives everything meaning. Our lives are often less poetic. We'd love to travel across the country to meet up with Andy Dufresne, to marvel in how meaningful life is -- but real life is rarely painted as magically.

I still find it strange how 'Forrest Gump' and 'Shawshank Redemption' were made in the same year. Reminds me of that beautiful TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert, when she talks about how old cultures would chant "God" and "Allah" when they saw something magic.

"In Spain, when a performer has done something impossible and magic, (they would shout) "Allah, ole, ole, Allah, magnificent, bravo," incomprehensible, there it is -- a glimpse of God. Which is great, because we need that."
-Elizabeth Gilbert

I think those two movies embody that. And sure, there will be people reading this who hate those films, or think they're overrated, or whatever; and that's fine -- but the fact is, those films were a phenomenon. Every year they try to make the latest films sound like they've changed the world. Remember the hype for 'The King's Speech' last year? Now nobody gives a shit.

'Forrest Gump' and 'Shawshank Redemption' are in people's hearts. They're the reason why people love the cinema. Deep down we like to see our lives as meaning something, as leading in a certain direction, that there's an essence within us that is guiding us along. Did we think this before movies existed? I don't know. Either way; after a few illnesses, deaths, divorces and shattered dreams -- we lose that spark. Forrest and Jenny, Red and Andy, Rick and Ilsa, we look towards them, not because of how they reflect life, but because how they make up for everything it lacks.

What do we do in real life? How do we make it meaningful? The thing about life is that when you think you've met a Fran Kubelik, they often turn out to be an Elle Driver.

Just like when you think your best friend is Elwood P. Dowd and they turn out to be Frank Costello.

Me, I'm a movie guy. Can't help it. I'm not sure there's a magical essence pointing me through life -- but I do think we have the power, as people, to live the lives we want, to make it meaningful.

Care to share?


  1. I believe in magical essence. And those movies.
    We follow our hearts. We must.

  2. It's funny how you can watch so many movies and so very very few of them make a real impact on your life. I guess that's why it's called the entertainment industry and not the life changing inspiration industry. That's what makes the few movies that really do touch something deep inside even more special. We do need to find magic wherever we can though, it exists far too little in our lives in general. Seven Pounds did that for me. Touched my life in a way it's hard to explain. A different way I'll admit, but magical nonetheless.

  3. DONNA! Read this! :)

  4. I would tend to agree with you that shawshank is the bestest movie ever made. I was a bit reluctant to watch a slow movie drama but once i did it grabbed attention and i watched it several times after that. I still remember the words "Hope is a good thing and good thing never dies". I would say its a classic movie!

  5. Another fantastic post that I am nodding my head in agreement to. Some films just stay with me, always, and I don't even wonder why. That is just the way true art is, like a song you love,a painting seen once, thirty years ago, and can see it without even having to close your eyes. That's the magic of art.