I’ve actually revealed this neurosis of mine before, but I need to hash it out some more. When I see a movie I really, really like, I usually need to stay for most, if not all, of the credits. I’m not like my aunt Terry who has to stay for all of the credits of every movie. Certainly not! In fact, I really can’t imagine stomaching staying through all of the credits of a movie like, say, The Reader. Pukeasaurus Rex. But when I think a movie’s really good, there are several reasons why I want to stay: (1) I want to give every name involved a little of my time in a small effort to show my respect and admiration and gratitude; (2) I often want to check who played whom and who did the music; and (3), and this is usually the biggest reason, I need time to collect myself before moving on with my life. And this third one is the one that gets me in real trouble. I LOVE seeing movies in the theater. I love the grandeur, the shared experience, the sound, everything. I just love, love, love, love, love it. But there is little that I hate more in this world than the end-of-a-great-movie experience in which I am sitting paralyzed with emotion, trying to absorb what I have just seen and been through and listening to the final song of the film (sometimes the most important song, like in Gran Torino & The Wrestler) when people all around me just start talking and — the worst — laughing and moving on with their lives at a rate I can’t contemplate. It makes me so annoyed and angry and then I’m left not being able to soak in the whole experience and irked with myself for letting it get to me. The thing is, I know I’ve probably pissed someone else off in the same way folks have done for me. I think it’s probably a safe (though disturbing) bet that someone was moved by The Reader and I couldn’t get out of the theater fast enough and I’m sure I let out an inappropriate chuckle. Ugh. So, I know there’s no real solution to this problem. If I want the movie theater experience, I just need to understand that this is going to happen. Again and again. As it did tonight.
Tonight we saw a truly lovely, moving portrait of a 30-something couple trying to navigate through life and figure out where they belong. In Away We Go, Burt & Verona are a couple who are very much in love and about to have a baby. They don’t, however, know quite where they should live. They want to live in a city with family or friends or both. They want to feel rooted. So, they travel North America — Phoenix, Tucson, Madison (!!! though it’s not really Madison, but it is very pretty), Montreal & Miami — in an effort to find out what city fits them. Along the way, we are introduced to a bunch of characters from their past: In Phoenix is Verona’s ex-boss; in Madison is Burt’s childhood family friend; in Montreal, the couple’s college friends. Some of the people they visit are totally bonkers (Maggie Gyllenhall plays so insane and is part of one of the best scenes in the movie: John Krasinski + stroller = madcap comedy. Who knew?), and some are incredibly sympathetic and stirring. But it’s Burt and Verona that make the film. Their effort to make it as a couple, as a family, in a tough, unfair world moved me to tears. It is one of those precious, rare films that makes us remember that just being here, just loving someone is really beautiful. And it’s enough.