In lieu of my newfound dedication to living life to it’s fullest, one day at a time…
I woke up last Sunday morning a little late (ten o’clock). It’s actually significantly later than I usually get up. I felt rejuvenated. I spent some time “reflecting” with a very kind soul, and then got up out of bed… Stumbling to the kitchen I pulled the left over Thai food from the fridge and sat down at the kitchen table with my two roommates.
What did I WANT to do? Not what did I have to do, or what did I need to do. When I closed my eyes and pictured the perfect day, what did it entail? After a moment, I realized whatever I did I wanted the roommates there. I genuinely like spending time with them. Of course one is my best friend, and the other her girlfriend, but even if they weren’t together I would still genuinely enjoy both of their company. They’re both extremely intelligent, and while sarcastic, significantly enjoyable to be around.
So over leftovers, and a Sunday morning conversation I asked them “what should we do today guys?”
After a long pause of no ideas I said “Let’s go see a movie!”
We looked up what all was on, and realized we had two options that we couldn’t choose between. They were “The Odd Life of Timothy Greene” and “Hope Springs”. You read that right. One Disney movie about a young boy who sprouts from the garden of a lonely young couple, and another about an older couple who struggles to rekindle the romance and sexual intimacy in their 31 year long marriage.
Initially those might seem like the two most insanely opposite films we could have chosen. In a lot of ways they were. When we got to “Timothy Greene” the first thing I noticed was the audience that was preparing to watch it with me. It was a mixed crowd. A lot of families, with children. Younger to middle aged women, and throughout the room their husbands and boyfriends decorated their arms… Hesitant to be seen at a Disney film.
The film starts, and the main couple walks slowly into an elevator. They’re devastated. Another woman walks into the elevator with her small child. The couples discomfort with the mom and son foreshadows the storyline ahead. After trying to conceive, and failing the couple felt they had no option other than to give up on becoming parents. The two of them return home and attempt to put their pain into a box full of notes describing their perfect child. From the box grows a young boy in the garden like a plant. The only things noticeably different about him are the leaves growing from his ankles, and his truly unique adult perspective.
He is exactly what they thought that they would want in a child, however a series of events reveal that you can’t always predict life, and what would a film be without a significant problem standing in the way of their happiness? Long story short, it may or may not end how you want it to.
The movie overall, is adorable. Is it my favorite? No. Would I recommend it on a rainy day with a bowl of soup and a cozy blanket? Absolutely. It was interesting to look around and see the smiles, and tears of joy (and some sadness) on the other movie-goers. In that moment, I felt exactly like them. I knew the feeling in their hearts. I could see it on their faces. I felt it. I could relate so intimately to people just like me. Many that was my age. It was comforting.
I thought to myself as the tears rolled off my cheeks “I really hope I keep it together for the next one.” Yeah. Didn’t happen.
The next film was “Hope Springs”. Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones join Steve Carell in a heartwarming film about an older couple, Kay and Arnold (Streep and Jones) who decide to travel to Maine in search of the romance that has neglected their 31 year relationship. The film was outside of each of their comfort zones, and I found it to be incredible not only in content, but also their ability to portray characters. Apparently Tommy Lee Jones referred to the film as an actor’s catnip. Enticing for them to accept.
Streep, who has often played strong, harsh female characters (The Iron Lady, Devil Wears Prada), finds her femininity in a role where she craves the warmth and attention of her over-worked, too-cold husband (Jones). Jones has often played that type of character. In No Country for Old Men and Men In Black, you see the harsh, hard silence that fits him so well. I will admit in the beginning of the film, I hated him with every fiber of my being.
Kay initiates the change by booking them both a ticket to see Dr. Feld (Carell). She says simply that she wants to feel wanted again. She wants to feel “married”. Naturally, disconnected from the world, Arnold is confused by this statement, but for the sake of not being alone he follows her hesitantly.
He shows no effort to work with Kay or the doctor. The first break through is when the two of them try to find intimacy again. Having not had sex in five years, they are more than out of practice. Multiple times during the film they try to regain that, and unfortunately FAIL epically in most cases. What’s interesting though, is despite the age difference between them and myself, I didn’t find it to be awkward to watch (only when it was supposed to be). They both did a phenomenal job.
Now let me pause and say, I don’t find myself to be an overly physical person. I don’t HAVE TO HAVE physical interaction, and I rarely ever CRAVE that type of activity, however when I am in a relationship, I am rarely ever deprived of it either. Watching this film I was baffled by the lack of touch and intimacy. Kay would wait patiently for a kiss goodbye, and Arnold would briskly kiss her across the forehead. He could have been more intimate with a high-five or a slap to the face with a flaming chair. When she went to him offering herself for something more, and he turned her away like a stranger, I cringed. How could he be so heartless? How could he be that cruel, to make his wife feel so unwanted? This couldn’t be real.
However when I looked around at all of the “over 50” women in the theatre with me, I quickly realized my assumption was naïve and immature. The tears on their cheeks, and the wads of tissues grasped tightly in their hands told me I was very wrong. Could this be? Do couples reach a time where commitment forgets love, and convenience replaces passion?
I look at my own parents and peel back the blind layers that cover my eyes. My father kisses my mother goodbye most days, but the last time I saw any passion between them was a brief dance to “their song” at my sister’s wedding. I saw a brief glimmer of romance in their eyes. A sparkle of what had once been. My parents love each other, but thirty something kids, and 17 years later I don’t know if they’re in love.
This scares me. To watch someone stay in a relationship long after that yearning is gone… That must be miserable.
I know what that passion feels like. I know what it’s like to get butterflies for the one you love, and long for their kiss. I know what it’s like to fall madly and hopelessly in love, but will I too one day reach the place where convenience takes over?
I’m making a promise to myself today, to do everything in my power to keep that from happening. To love the one I’m with day in and day out in a way that she will never forget, but also in a way that she will always remember. It’s one thing to never be forgotten. It means you made a great impact. But to be remembered, is something in itself. That means that they want to reflect upon you without reason. Nothing has to spark their memory, it just happens.
I encourage you, if you’re in a relationship to look at the one you’re with and ask yourself, “Does she know? Does she know how she makes me feel, or what I would do for her?” If there is any question, than tell her. Better yet, show her. (Or him.)
The best way to keep the one you love, is to love her the way you did when you got her. Don’t wait five years without intimacy and cost yourself two thousand dollars in therapy to fix something that never should have broken.
The movie was incredible. It opened my eyes beyond belief to my own behavior, but also what lies ahead. I encourage you to watch it. The ending might surprise you. I wanted to stand at the door when people walked at, and hug every single “over 50, teary eyed woman” that passed. They are beautiful. You are beautiful.
Love someone today. Love someone tomorrow. Love someone for the rest of your life… That concept alone is truly incredible. Are you up for the challenge?
It's beautiful really…
How two films can bring you so close to those around you, without ever having to say a word. How they can affect you. Your emotions. Your mentality. That's why i'm going back to Los Angeles. That's why i'm pursuing writing in film. I want to make that difference in someone's life. I want to make their Sunday memorable…