Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Relationships running parallel

This week we have watched the film again while working on our character questions. This time you've had my running commentary - I could do DVD commentary.

This film is a "romantic comedy". I was worried last Thursday when I didn't hear enough laughing. More of you seem to be getting it now. I find the way Nick and Meryl interact amusing. They are so awkward with each other. The way Meryl always says silly things makes her such an endearing character eg. when they are listing ways they used to flirt with death - unprotected sex, skiing. The sex scene is hysterical. I particularly like Meryl's image of the vomiting triplets. It amuses me how Nick flaunts sexual etiquette and does a runner and then returns and asks her to go to his mothers with him - hot first date! As both characters are in a vulnerable state, Watt has carefully selected her camera shots to ensure they are appear as isolated and alone, particularly Nick, we find ourselves willing their relationship to work. Well, this old romantic does anyway.

Running parallel to this is the relationship between Andy and ex-wife Cathy. She harps at him to look after the children properly even though Maddie breaks her arm and watches inappropriate TV while in her care - not his. The depth of Andy's anger and self-obsession is revealed but Watt carefully tempers these revelations with humour.

Running parallel to this is the train driver and his son. See how the son's dress has began to change as he identifies with his father's distress.(I am going to try and stop making derogatory comments about those revolting striped shirts). We see Julia framed by doorways and windows to show us how alone she is in her grief and Anna bombarded with patronising comments about her not having children. Phil buys a birthday present for Jasmine prompting Miriam to ask him if he having an affair. He even looks wistfully at his children's clothes on the clothesline.

And what is this all tied together with - Nick's photograph of Julia on the front of The Southern Mail. We see all the characters I've mentioned, and their friends, react to this photograph. The other thing that ties it all together is a hauntingly beautiful soundtrack.

The last two segments of the film. Lunch at Joan's and my favourite quote of the film:'It doesn't matter how life ends, it matters how it was...Everybody has to find a way to face their own death, and life.' We see Julia moving through her grief, making her own memorial and the train driver and his son moving closer together. Both Andy & Nick have confrontations with the women in their lives. Anna tells Andy "things just happen" and Meryl is understandably upset at Nick's assertion that he doesn't want to start anything. Both men are at crisis point and meet up at the train tracks. Did you pick up that Andy was following the path Rob took the day he died, just as several other characters have before him. Was he investigating Anna's theory that "things just happen" or was he contemplating suicide himself? We then have the rain, the "deluge", which works to resolve the dilemmas of our characters as they let go of their fears and anxieties. As 'Lonely Won't Leave Me Alone' draws to an end we are left with a final photomontage which is happy and life-affirming. Are you satisfied with the ending?

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