Friday, February 24, 2012

Speechless, or Without Words

It has happened twice recently.  I have sat, almost paralyzed, as the credits rolled at the end of a movie, unable or undesirous to comment or even speak.  Two different movies; two different reasons to be speechless.

Last night, in an effort to prepare myself for the upcoming Academy Awards Night, I took my girls to see The Artist.  Not a mainstream kind of movie, it was showing at the local artsy film house, Salem Cinema.  Not a mainstream kind of movie, it was a silent picture; a real throwback to the glamorous days before "talkies" and clever dialogue.  Instead, the story moved along with facial expression, body language, and an occasional word strip.

It was a lovely movie.  All were reminded of the nearly lost art of communication without speech.  With all the verbosity, loquaciousness, and self-centered dialogue commonly found in pictures today, this was delightfully refreshing.  And startling.  And stirring.

And at its surprising conclusion, I didn't want to break the spell.  There was a seemingly magic spell cast upon the audience.  We sat in silence, mesmerized by the occasional music and when it was over, it seemed almost garish and disrespectful to speak and disrupt the hush that had pervaded the theatre.

A few weeks ago, I also sat in a darkened theatre as the end credits rolled.  Again, I found myself in a silent theatre, surrounded by overwhelmed onlookers who hesitated to disrupt the movie magic that had transported us into another world.  This time, though, it was for feelings of reverence, feelings of sorrow, feelings of empathy for a little soul, so tormented by his circumstance that we all silently wept as he finally found a glimmer of joy on a swing in Central Park.

The drive home was nearly silent too.  My husband and I weren't ready to talk about the unique experience of seeing Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
And I don't think I was ready to talk about it the following morning when my daughter asked me about it. The tears began and would not stop as I finally tried to verbalize the movie's tender storyline.  My sorrow, surprisingly, was not for the nation's heartache over the dreadful events of 9-11. It was for a broken little boy.

I think I'm ready now to see something a little more boisterous and rowdy, a real laugh out loud kind of thing.  What a thrilling ride to see nearly the entire list of Best Picture nominations this year, all of them selected for their powerful, effective filmmaking.  Whether I cheered at the end.  Or not.


neffie said...

I don't want to see extremely loud/close because honestly the trailer made me cry and I don't like crying in theaters. (is that bad? LOL) But I've been dying to see The Artist and I've been meaning to get my butt down to Salem Cinema. One of these days before it leaves!

Now that you mention it all the best pictures are below the 'r' rating aren't they? (or almost all)

Laura said...

Glad to hear both of those movies are so good. Haven't seen either of them, but they're on the list.

LeAnn said...

Thanks for your thoughts on the two movies. I haven't seen either of them; but will probably at some point. I sometimes am not prepared to watch a sad movie; because I deal with so many unhappy inner city individuals and families; so I will usually pick an upbeat type movie. We did see the War Horse and loved it.