Let me preface this by saying (again) that I have problems with movies because I don’t seem to have the boundary between me and the characters that I should. I am completely unable to watch some movies due to the sheer inhumanity inherent in some stories. This is probably why I prefer animation for the most part.
Last night I saw Message In A Bottle for the first time. I had not read the book. I had never discussed the movie with anyone. I had looked at the movie description and wasn’t interested. “Sappy sappy love story” was how it looked to me. I read enough Harlequin Romances in my tween years to satisfy a lifetime’s worth of stupid, sappy, unrealistic romance stories. But, my husband was flipping through the channels and stopped there as it was JUST beginning. “Here’s a Sandi movie”. I didn’t bother to correct him because i was playing my game anyway, so i didn’t have to pay attention.
First, I idly watched while playing my game online. Initial opinion: substitute Meg Ryan for Robin Wright Penn and I’d have Sleepless In Seattle. Which I love, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t need to see this to know it’s going to be goopy and sweet.
Second, I was caught by Robin Wright Penn’s acting. Subtle, real, interesting. How Sean Penn went from Madonna to Robin is an interesting question. Clearly he was moving up in the world. She’s classy.
Third, I was struck by Kevin Costner’s acting. I know. I’ll say it again, I was struck by Kevin Costner’s acting. It was…. good. Nuanced. Interesting. Still Kevin Costner, but more like Dancing With Wolves and less like Waterworld. Vulnerable. They both were vulnerable.
Fourth, Paul Newman was a little over the top, but in a good way. He provides some much-needed levity. A fine acting job, but saying Paul Newman has given a fine acting job is like saying I had food for lunch. Well, …. yeah. Duh?
Fifth, I got caught up in the story. I became nervous for Robin’s character… her secret would surely have to be revealed and then what? Kevin’s character became engrossing as well. I cared what happened to these people.
Sixth, I decided this was my new favorite movie. I was sort of embarrassed, but there you are. I was in love with these characters and the way they were falling in love. The hesitance of letting go of the past, the scary future, the redemption involved therein. I could understand these things.
Seventh, the ending. I won’t say what happens, but I went from wanting to go buy this movie so i could see it whenever i wanted, to thinking I might never watch it again.
Throughout the movie I laughed and I cried. A good movie will usually provide that. But some movies are tear jerkers. Say, City of Angels, Terms of Endearment, Steel Magnolias. All wonderful movies, but oh how I cried. Message In A Bottle goes on the list.
I was distraught when the movie ended. I felt broken. I had to go to bed because I couldn’t see how I could continue to interact with my husband or hear the television prattling on.
Today it is in my mind, coloring my day. I am sad for no reason other than a mourning for the characters in the movie. It’s not a big deal, but it’s there.
And one further comment… Most romantic movies portray men to be so sickeningly wonderful that the real men in our lives could never possibly measure up. I emerge from those movies angry at my husband for not being as romantic as that. What’s that about!?! That’s horrible! And what must they be thinking about us after seeing movies with “perfect” or “sexy” women in them? I can’t possibly be like Ashley Judd or Drew Barrymore…. sweet and sexy and perfect all at once. I emerge from those movies feeling self-conscious, knowing I could never be like that. Stupid Hollywood!