On ELIZABETHTOWN (2005), GOOD WILL HUNTING (1997), and grief

photo-1My storyteller Grandfather passed away suddenly this week, and somehow movies have always helped me grieve.

elizabethtown_poster1In Elizabethtown (1995), Orlando Bloom conquers grief after the death of his father with the help of ever-present, amiable Kirsten Dunst.  No, it’s not the best film ever made, it’s coated in velveeta moments and oddly flinched out lines, but it’s about family and it’s kindred . “This is your blood.”

rlwh0vf8Blooms character rides through seasons of discouragement on his road trip to freedom. Today I had to pick out an urn, but I didn’t fear that new unknown because I’d watched Bloom pick one out for his father.

In grief, I’ve noticed that time stands still, then speeds up to catch up. Isn’t that a line from the movie Big Fish (2003) ?

Good-Will-HuntingIt feels like yesterday that my friend Erin drove me to my first Rated R movie called Good Will Hunting (1997). Shocked at the vulgarity, I almost missed the point. Later, I drove home and crawled onto the top of my rusty Nissan Sentra to watch the stars and ponder the lives I’d just infiltrated for 2 hours or so. Will, his best friends, his girlfriend, his mentor. He had to go see about a girl. It wasn’t his fault. How did he like them apples? I cried then for the first time in a month since my great uncle‘s sudden passing.

goodwilllIt was odd crying so hard after a happy ending in lives I could barely relate to. But it wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t anyone’s. It wasn’t. It wasn’t. There is no pocket for death, and this cantankerous relative who lived behind us and had made my life sort of miserable through pre-teen years was gone. How can you stay mad at a dead man? How can you miss a dead man you’re mad at? I don’t know, but I was and I did.

So, I sobbed under stars and release washed over me in what many poets would call my baptism of tears.
New days do come. Tears are good. And tonight as I go to bed, I plug in Elizabethtown, a comfort film, for the third night in a row to fall asleep to scenes of goodbyes, great music, and a kindred awareness that I am not alone, even in grief.

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One Comment

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  1. Lovely post. It captures beautifully how a movie can come into your life at just the right moment to help you deal with something difficult – even a mediocre film that it seems totally unconnected. And once it’s done that it’s lodged in your mental-locker as special to you in a way you could never get anyone to completely understand.

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