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.
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.
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.