Aside from the fact that every single time Pierce Brosnan sang the woman behind me burst into laughter and other than the fact that I was completely mesmerized with Pierce Brosnan's tongue when he sang--staring at its little stumpiness--I liked Mamma Mia. I wasn't planning on it. This was my second "girl group" movie adventure of the summer. I went with five friends to see Sex and the City and last night, a different group of six went to see Mamma Mia. Despite the movie, I went because it was a chance to be with these good friends and I went because of the chance to see Meryl Streep, but I didn't go because I thought I would be in movie "moveness." You know, that place where you suddenly feel something, the movie taking you into emotion you weren't really expecting to land in. I love being moved like that, transported into some feeling of my own, something in the movie pulling something out of me. Actually, I don't really care if its sadness or joy. It's always a surprise and a wonder that a movie can do that at all, and more surprising when it's not a great movie or even a good movie. Or a bad movie, at that.
Once it happened during the movie Deep Impact. Yes, Deep Impact. The movie about the asteroid hurtling toward earth, Robert Duvall and crew saving human life as we know it. But it wasn't that part, the part with the spaceship. It was the embrace the characters played by Tea Leoni and Maximilian Schell had at the end of the movie, estranged father and daughter hugging on the soon to be destroyed beach front. This scene might have been at sunset. Or sunrise. But it was sort of this amazing reconciliation just before the asteroid hit. they have the chance to acknowledge their love for each other despite their differences.
Wham! I was weeping. I missed my father. I had no reconciliation hug in front of me. Who knew a space adventure film's title was more than something to bring in the crowds. Deep impact, indeed. Really, I think I cried for a half hour, my boys sitting in quiet in the backseat of the car as it all came out.
Last night at Mamma Mia wasn't so intense, and it wasn't really about me. There is a scene in the film where the mother and daughter connect. It's silly and saccharin, but the daughter is sitting on her mother's lap, and they are being what I always imagined it would be like had I had a daughter. I looked around at my five friends, all of whom have daughters. And my friend closest to me was taking off her glasses and wiping her eyes. So I was right, I thought, the tears welling in me for the daughter I didn't have. Meryl sang about her daughter growing up and how she didn't pay attention to the moments that they had, and suddenly, it was about me. It was about children growing up and going away before we even recognize that we have to say goodbye.
Wham! the tears came.
The good news is that Pierce started to sing again very shortly after that, and the woman behind me was like Laughing Sal, and before long, I and all my friends were laughing hysterically, staring at Pierce's stumpy tongue.
There is so much to feel all the time, and it's counterproductive to feel it on a daily basis. We have to get to the store and sell cars and write and clean the bathrooms. But the movies are this place that crack us open a little bit, let us feel the things we might have pushed down in order to go on. And we can't know what movie will push what button, and it's always a surprise and it's always a little miracle.
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org