Saturday, August 15, 2009

All We Need is Movie Form

Lately, Ive been lucky enough to catch some great flicks. Usually, movies pretty much suck for me and I end up irritated afterwards that I wasted time and money. With 500 Days of Summer and Paper Heart--it was quite the opposite. Both movies were significantly different, but shared the basic theme of love.
500 Days of Summer followed a boy meets girl story throughout the 500 day span of their interactions. When Tom (male lead) met Summer (female lead) at his greeting card job, he was automatically smitten because she was beautiful. Outer appearance is usually the first part of attraction and connection.
Once Tom actually got a chance to speak with Summer and he learned that they shared some musical interest, Tom claimed she was the one. How many times have you met someone, had an inital interest, then they do or say something and you are convinced that this is the love of your life? I know it happens more times than not, but what this movie was set out to do was prove that just because you feel as if someone is the one--they may very well not be your one. This person may make up a significant part of your life, but that doesn't mean that this is your soul mate. I loved the reality of the movie, allowing us to follow Tom's journey of making Summer his, when she didn't want to be. It wasn't that Summer didn't give Tom the time of day she just preferred to be single and go with the flow.

You know the type, typically men are more the "no label"types, bouncing from chick to chick, not committing to any of them. In this movie, it was Summer. She never lead Tom on, but Tom had already placed her on a pedestal, which clouded his judgment in the things she did and said. Everything she did, he took as an act of love and was sadly mistaken when Summer threw him for a loop at the end of the movie. That's why this film resonated with me. It didn't do the cliche happily ever after ending, it was real and let you know what happens in relationships. Sometimes, they fail and it hurts, but it's about moving on and still believing in love enough to get up, dust off and try again.

Paper Heart, on the other hand was reality to the -enth degree. It was actually a documentary. We follow Charlene Yi as she travels the country, getting an idea of what love is from random people she conducts interviews with. Of course everyone has their own definition of love and if you ask me, there isn't one--especially since love is based on a case by case scale (in my mind). In the process of doing all her field research, Charlene meets Michael Sera (yes of Superbad/Juno fame) and it would seem that the two are totally meant to be and falling for one another, but Charlene's documentary ends up getting in the way.

She committed herself to the project and with Michael entering the picture, she couldn't very well pull out of the movie just because she wanted to hang out with him without the cameras. Their interaction was quirky, honest, sweet and unconventional. One thing I always have to deal with in dating is the person I'm dating focusing so much on the physical, that they don't take the time to get to know who I am. I loved the fact that Michael thought Charlene was interesting and wanted to get to know more about her. That sounds simple enough, but honestly people nowadays are after instant gratification, seeking physical connection before something deeper, something more substantial. Charlene is very low key, Jeanine Garafulo-esque and just is who she is, not pretending to be anything or anyone else. She's not flashy, provocative or over-the-top and Michael still saw something in her that he wanted to know more about.

She admitted that she wasn't in love with Michael and was mostly sad that he wanted her to love him. She made a potent statement that I loosely translate like this: Just because I don't love him, doesn't mean that I am ready to be without him. I agree with her on that. She mad a connection with him that neither of them can deny. Michael realized he didn't want to be in the relationship with her, but Charlene knew that there was something there that she owed it to herself to explore. So, explore it she did. Michael accepted her back and the ending was left pretty open.

Love is a very complicated thing, that may never be fully defined accurately. But one thing you can say about love is, there is no way to simplify it. We must go through the heartbreaks, struggles, confusion, frustrations, desperations, and whatever else, because we were designed by God to love. The only perfect love there is, is the love between us and God. Every other love pales in comparison and therefore is always a discrepancy between the two people in love. How much of yourself should you sacrifice for love? How much heartache should you have to tolerate from someone before you realize that this person isn't the end all be all?

I have so many questions and opinions about love. When it all comes out. I still end up asking questions. Either way, the point Live through it and learn through it, but most of all, never forget that love isn't perfect. It's laced with ups, downs and the like. It's all in how we handle those obstacles.

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