The power of movies
I’m no movie snob. Give me “American Pie” or “40-Year-Old Virgin” or a light, romantic comedy any day. I’ll chuckle. I’ll tear up. I’ll get all into it. As long as it’s entertaining, I’ll be happy.
But, every once and a while, I do need a movie that really means something.
Luckily, the last time that hankering hit, I was in Aspen with a couple of hours to kill. So, I paid my $10 and slipped into “Rachel Getting Married.” As I watched Anne Hathaway brilliantly play a tortured, burnt out woman, something I’d thought many times before suddenly hit me with this new power.
Good movies really matter. They mean so much.
And I’m not talking about “Forest Gump” or “Saving Private Ryan” or “Knocked Up.” While those films are great, there’s something special about movies that are a little obscure, ones that won’t come to your average multi-plex or maybe even the whole state of Colorado. My favorite movies are those that have such a small perceived audience that they’re able to take real risks.
I’m thinking about “Off the Map,” that rich story of family living off the land in rural New Mexico and “All About my Mother,” a Spanish film that features Penelope Cruz as a pregnant nun. In “Me and You and Everyone We Know,” the main character is a lonely performance artist who gently, delicately falls for an equally lonesome shoe salesman. Some of their scenes together are so sweet and raw that they’ve made me laugh and cry ” at once.
With all these films, there are problems. Some drag. Some of them have slightly unnatural dialogue or an air of pretension or a bit of over-the-top artiness. And I don’t care. I’m just happy there are people willing to make something meaty, gutsy, of substance.
Perhaps, as you read this, you might be a little disbelieving, not understanding how a subject like movies would provoke such a huge emotional response. The thing is, when I see a great piece of cinema, someone’s complex labor of love, I am elated. It gives me hope.
And I don’t care what kind of vehicle brings me that.
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