Tuesday, August 12, 2014

SO MANY FEELS (as the kids say)

Yesterday I finished writing that bummer of a blog post, then at work I discovered that I'd possibly made a huge mistake - like potentially several hundred thousands of dollars mistake.  I thought long and hard about calling or emailing my boss to be upfront and tell him but decided to wait, check with another authority, and admit to my mistake today.

I went home, immediately took the dog on a long walk.  Then mowed the yard.  High stress situations always call for immediate physical movement.  Do you do that?  I have to work it out of my system so it's not bouncing around inside my molecules, stirring up nothing but trouble.  Stella suggested we go to the movies.  We decided on Boyhood.  In the car on the way to the movies (she drove, practicing driving her new car - a standard) I learned that Robin Williams killed himself.

I was still processing that news when we sat down for this film.  This film.  Oh...you guys.  Listen to me carefully - THIS IS A PERFECT FILM.

I am a movie fanatic and I am fascinated with filmmaking so I often say I love certain films, but I don't know if I've ever considered a film perfect.  There are many that are close, or possibly perfect (off the top of my head - Chinatown, The Conversation, Manhattan,) but none of those mentioned have the deeply personal, emotional resonance that this one has.  You probably already know the back story - Richard Linklater (long one of my favorite directors.  Did I ever tell you about the time I saw Slacker at its unofficial debut at the Dobie theater on the Drag in 1990?  Everyone in the theater had either been in the film or knew someone in the film.  What fun...) made this film over 12 years using the same actors.  Not only do we viewers watch everyone age but the seamless editing reinforces the theme that time is fleeting.  Blink of an eye.  The film opens with a seven year-old boy and ends with him going to college.  I watched it with my baby who is leaving for college in a week.  This was her last summer home.  I'm welling up right now just thinking about how quickly it passes.

Patricia Arquette is flat-out amazing in this.  Of course I am a single mother and this is a film about a single mother doing her best to raise her kids and improve their lives.  She makes bad choices.  She does her best.  The kids turn out alright.  I don't want to spoil anything if you haven't seen this yet (WHY NOT?? GO!), but there's a scene near the end where the mom has a breakdown because she realizes every milestone she had expected as a  young woman have passed already and there's not much left.  Boy howdy did that hit home, hard, for me.

I read a great interview with Linklater about the film on Roger Ebert's site.  This quote about that scene sums it all up for me:
That’s what makes that last scene with Patricia when he’s leaving kind of poignant. There’s a disconnect. He can’t understand what she’s going through because he hasn’t lived enough years. He can FEEL for her but he can’t fully know. It doesn’t make sense. You have your own emotional and experiential set points.
I have had this experience with her so many times.  I understand what she is going through but there's no way she can understand what I'm going through until she's lived more.  It's one of our single biggest sources of conflict.

Since I had Stella at 20 years old I have just thought, "If she can just go to college."  "Once she's in college, I'll know I've done something right." It was always just looking to this point, this milestone.  Well.  It's here.  It's been here for a year.  AND NOW WHAT?

No.  Seriously.  Now what?

(Oh.  PS - Today I came into work and realized I hadn't made a mistake.  I'm just a high-strung doofus who can't read government websites correctly.

But Robin Williams is still dead.  So there's that.)


Anonymous said...

Agreed. Boyhood was excellent. Life is fleeting. So glad to know you're blogging again. I'm a fan!

Dane O'Leary said...

I'd wanted to this this before, but now I'm even MORE anxious to see it. I've heard absolutely nothing but high praise for it, and your review definitely sells.