Saturday, December 1, 2012

i feel it in my fingers

There are few movies I watch over and over and over again. I'm too enchanted by the tantalizing amount of new movies in this world to watch to have the patience to go back and re-watch a story I already know.

Christmas-y movies are definitely the exception to that. Who could ever tire of watching George Bailey shriek, "Merry Christmas, Bedford Falls!" or Vera Ellen and Danny Kaye hoof away to "The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing" or visit the Island of Misfit Toys with Rudolph and Cornelius, (and Hermie the wanna-be-Dentist elf!)? And the crowing glory of exceptions in this category of exceptions is 
Love Actually.

Which is not strictly a Christmas movie (which is great, because if you get a craving for it in July, there's nothing holding you back from watching it)! But it's Christmas-y to the max.
There are two things I love about it (there are many things I love about it, but here are two):

The interconnectedness of all the stories. All our lives are so interconnected: we pass someone on the street, we're casual acquaintances with someone, we attend the same wedding, work the same job. But rarely do we get to see their stories. Love Actually lets us see the stories of co-workers and family members and friends, even when the other figures in their life don't get to. It's a privilege I relish and delight in. It's so easy to forget that the person across the metro car from us has a life and a family and an unrequited love or two. If we forget that, it's easy to forget the magic of being two human beings in the same room. This movie is full of that magic--the magic of other people.

In a movie starting Hugh Grant and Colin Firth, obviously there will be wicked smart, swoon-worthy romances. And there are. But the story that so many often cite as their favorite is the storyline of the little boy who is completely love sick for the belle of his middle school class. His father coaxes the truth out of him, and then sets out to help him win, if not the hand of the fair maiden, at least the consolation that she knows his name. The storyline climaxes with a haphazardly romantic dash to declare his feelings to his true love as she's boarding her plane for America. (spoiler alert. Kind of. But don't worry. there are 500 other story lines I haven't ruined the ending of.) And while that moment is precious and adorable, and heart-warming, that's not the point of that story. 
That story is all about the father's love for his son, and the son's love for his father. And how their love lifts them both out of the gloom and sorrow of the mother's death. When they should both be lost in hopelessness and sadness, their love brings hope and joy into the coldest of seasons. It's a story about a love that saves.
How very Christmas-y.

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