A friend and I were recently having a good old ‘chin-wag’ about things that upset or moved us in an emotional way. After covering recent news events we moved on to films and had a memory fest of ‘those that had moved us to tears of either sorrow or happiness.
One of my other friends says that he cannot watch a film that doesn’t have a happy ending. I’m not quite as bad as that I really enjoyed the film ‘ThisYear’s Love’ but he didn’t because of the ending and I felt bad for recommending it to him. Ditto ‘Truly, Madly, Deeply’, I can start weeping from the first moments, without producing quite so much mucus as Juliet Stevenson, but it does have a ‘bitter sweet’ ending. I always sniff a bit at the end of ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ too. Old films invariably bring on the waterworks, ‘Mrs Miniver’, ‘Mr Blandings Builds his Dream House’ and ‘Brief Encounter’ to name just a few. Who can forget that heart wrenching moment in ‘The Railway Children’ when Jenny Agutter runs down the steam swathed station platform crying ‘Daddy, my Daddy’ or when Ingrid Bergman as Gladys Aylward leads the Chinese children into town singing ‘This Old Man’ – hankies out at the ready.
I find sometimes though, that I care about the animals even more that the people in films, is this wrong of me? Does this sound like some defect in my character? Whilst watching ‘The Shooting Party’ I only cared that the boy’s pet duck should escape the guns, blow the gamekeeper breathing his last on the forest floor. I was so upset in ‘Cold Mountain’ when the old woman slit the throat of her favourite goat to feed Jude Law’s hungry soldier. I was upset at the end too, who wouldn’t be, but – oh, that goat! I could never watch ‘Ring of Bright Water’ again, and why did they save that spade incident until near the end? Even ‘pretend’ characters can get to me. In particular, I always weep when ET’s heart starts up again when the little boy cries over him and don’t get me started on the Tiny Tim scene at the end of ‘The Muppet’s Christmas Carol.’
The last film I saw moved me deeply, I hit the highs and lows and highs again. ‘A Very Long Engagement’ is a wonderful film. We bought it for R for his birthday (he’d loved Amelie) and assured him that he would like it and that, yes, it did have a happy ending, well a resolved ending anyway. He rang a few days later to say what a wonderful film it was. It is too.