Lots and Lots of Types of Days

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On Thursday night, I settled down on the sofa to watch a random film picked by my housemates called About Time. Here are some thoughts from online reviews:

‘Almost everything that is frustrating about the film is also counterbalanced by moments of thoughtfulness and insightfulness’

‘About Time may well be the two most pleasurable hours I’ve spent in the cinema all year’

‘Curtis has managed to achieve the impossible. Specifically: he has gone back to 1993 and remade Groundhog day with a ginger Hugh Grant’

The start is reminiscent of Wimbledon (2003), set in a warm, family country house in Cornwall and similar in many ways throughout (foolish, fumbling Brit meets smooth and charming American girl etc). But the big difference is that in the opening five minutes, you find out Tim (our protagonist) can time travel – a genetic gift that is passed down from father to son. I thought I wouldn’t last half an hour. I hate time travelling films.

But Domnhall Gleeson’s witty and awkward character kept me watching.

Tim travels back in time to change small things: the girl he kisses at a New Year’s party, the way he charms his sisters best friend. At the beginning, Tim’s time travelling is self centered and focused on finding himself a girlfriend. But after a few failed attempts at altering history, Tim realizes that ‘all the time travelling in the world can’t make someone fall in love with you’.

So he moves to London to become a lawyer. Where he meets Mary and falls in love, they get pregnant, and eventually get married. I mean eventually, because there is SO much time travelling that even though it’s not a particularly long film you feel like you’ve watched it twice. But there is a moment burned into my memory at the end of their wedding day (which is an absolute wash out with the wind blowing over their marquee) when Tim turns to Mary and says:

 

Tim: ‘Do you wish we’d picked another less wet day?’

Mary: ‘No. Not for the world.’

Tim: And so it begins.Lots and lots of types of days.

 

That was the start of the true meaning of the film for me. The beauty that is found in lots and lots of types of days, with mishaps and mistakes and laughter and the people you love. Tim’s Dad gives him some advice – to live each day, and then travel back and live it again almost exactly the same but this time appreciating all the tiny, hidden, wonderful things. And as Tim and Mary have children and life grows more chaotic, Tim stops travelling back in time because he learns to see the beauty in each moment as it comes.

 

How true that there are hidden graces everywhere. The blossom on the trees, the way people look at each other when they have been married 30 years and are still in love, the first sip of tea and bite of toast in the morning. Tiny hidden moments like these are all around us, undemanding, unnoticed. Together they make up the cacophony of life that overwhelms our senses. Sometimes just noticing the little things is enough to make us wonder at the life we have been given to live, and who on earth it is that gives us breath.

An Act of True Love

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November 1st, 2013 @ 20:51:56

A couple of days before I went to see Frozen with my parents and twin sister my Dad claimed that the cinemas had been told to bring the temperature of their air conditioning down by a few degrees to pull people in to the icy world Disney had created. We all thought he was joking.

I am SO glad I took a coat and scarf with me. It was a really cold night, that’s the only reason I did it. But turns out it was absolutely Baltic inside theatre screen 11 and none of us took any of our outer garments off the entire time. We should take my Dad at his word more often.

The film itself was marvelous. The researchers had done a lot of hard work (apparently visiting Wyoming, Quebec, Canada and Norway in order to properly understand and portray scenes of a winter nature) and that was evident. The thing that most impressed me was the snow on people’s clothes, especially when Kristoff first walks into the mountain shop.  Visual animators often talk about representing a world so that it’s believable rather than offering a realistic world to the viewer. But that snow was as real as my left thumb. Bravo.

The storyline itself was surprising. I was left wondering whether we would be forced to watch another ‘classic’ love triangle between Anna, Hans and Kristoff. After Twilight and the Hunger Games I feel this has been slightly overdone. Kristoff’s reaction when Anna tells him she is engaged to a man she has only just met is hilarious and broke the love triangle tension a bit – he obviously thought she was an absolute fruit loop.

But when the rock trolls pronounce that the only thing that will save Anna’s life is an act of true love I presumed we were on the one way road to feature film clichés again. As Kristoff ran hell-for-leather on a lake of ice to reach Anna before she froze I couldn’t help but not care. I presumed he would reach her, kiss her, kill Hans and generally save the day. The whole film had been building up to this point and I felt disappointed.

Thank goodness it never happened. Anna chooses to save her sister and sacrifice herself instead of feeling the pleasure of love’s first kiss. She kills herself in order to save another. And this act of true love is what ends up saving her life and saving her sister from bitter destruction as well. Disney portrayed love as an action, instead of a moment on the lips or a well choreographed catchy duet. The audience got their kiss at the end of the film as Kristoff and Anna lived happily ever after. But I left the cinema feeling hopeful that a reflection of true love had been represented pretty well for once.

‘Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends’ John 15:13