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Posts Tagged ‘Sandra Bullock’

I rewatched While You Were Sleeping around Christmastime – which is when I usually watch it, since it takes place during Christmas week. I cracked up at all the best lines – “These mashed potatoes are so creamy!” “New Year’s Eve hasn’t been the same since Guy Lombardo died!” “I got Ice Capades!” – and reveled in the happy cacophony of the Callaghan family’s holiday celebrations. But this time, I was focused on a different aspect of the story: the loneliness.

When the movie opens, Lucy Moderatz (Sandra Bullock’s character) sits all day in a CTA booth taking subway tokens from strangers. She’s single, childless, without family since her dad’s passing, and her boss is asking her (again) to work on Christmas. Although she spends a lot of the movie interacting with the Callaghans (and trying to figure out how to tell them she’s not actually engaged to their comatose son), there are a number of scenes where she’s alone in her apartment, with her cat and the Christmas tree that broke the window early in the film. She’s so desperate for connection that she goes along with a lie, and nearly ends up marrying the wrong man just so she can be part of a family.

I read an article this winter about how While You Were Sleeping is the perfect movie for a pandemic: many of us, like Lucy, have spent the past year missing the communities we used to have (or wanted to have, or thought we were supposed to have). Lucy has never been part of a big family, but she’s thrilled to be welcomed into the Callaghan clan. She accepts hugs, chokes on Christmas eggnog, and cradles her wrapped present as the others tear into theirs; having spent years starved for community, she doesn’t want to miss savoring even a moment of it.

That scene made me well up: after I’ve spent so much of the past 14-ish months alone in my apartment, Lucy’s loneliness hit much closer to home. I have been grateful for every scrap of community I’ve found this year, including my online writing class, the few neighborhood friends I’ve been seeing, and in-person time with my sweet guy. But I have missed other connections: time with my family; in-person interactions with coworkers and other friends; the chance to build on new neighborhood relationships I had just started forming when the pandemic hit.

Ultimately, Lucy – and I – must make some choices about the kind of community that’s really worth pursuing. She decides, in the end, to tell the truth rather than end up married to a man she doesn’t love (and barely knows), even if that means losing the family she’s recently gained. As I continue to navigate life post-divorce (and as we all emerge slowly from the pandemic), I have to make choices, too. Which relationships are worth continuing to foster, and which ones do I need to let go? Was I hanging onto some connections – or the idea of them – long past their sell-by date? Where I can I find, or continue to seek, community that lets me be seen and loved?

After New Year’s, Lucy gets her happy ending – including a honeymoon to Florence with her beloved Jack. I’m hopeful, these days, that more connection is coming for me, too. But I think it’s worth remembering that loneliness isn’t limited to times of great isolation, and that we can all work to provide (and ask for) connections to those we love or those we encounter. (It is also, of course, worth remembering that Argentina has great beef, that Guy Lombardo didn’t play the clarinet, and that John Wayne was tall.)

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Because I love chick flicks, especially romantic comedies, and I know some of you do too. And because “comfort movies” are the BEST when life is crazy and transition is tilting every which way. In no particular order except for #1. (Note: I chose not to list any musicals, or vintage films…maybe those will be their own lists later on.)

1. You’ve Got Mail. I love everything about this film – Kathleen Kelly, her bookstore, her friends, the adorable emails, the soundtrack, Joe Fox’s gradual transformation. And SO MANY lines. “Patricia makes coffee nervous.” “Don’t you think daisies are the friendliest flower?” “I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.” “I wanted it to be you so badly.”

2. While You Were Sleeping. This is a favorite from long ago – I love the crazy, quirky family and the hilarious misunderstandings. (The little grandma is my favorite.) The family scenes are the best. “Cesar Romero was not Spanish.” “I didn’t say he was Spanish; I said he was tall.” “John Wayne was tall!” “These mashed potatoes are so creamy.” And on and on…

3. Sabrina. I actually like the remake better than the original…Harrison Ford is just so much more attractive than Humphrey Bogart. And Julia Ormond is perfect…and because of my love for Oxford I know exactly how she feels about Paris.

4. Runaway Bride. I love Julia Roberts’ laugh; I love Richard Gere’s twinkling eyes; I love the ongoing conversation about eggs and the quirky grandmother and the soundtrack. And I love that of all her grooms, Richard Gere is the only man who runs after her.

5. French Kiss. Oh, how we love Meg Ryan in my family, and oh, how we shriek with laughter at Kevin Kline’s French accent and Meg’s rumpled, wide-eyed, overwhelmed character in this movie. Brilliant.

6. The Holiday. I love everything about this movie, from the English cottage setting to Jack Black’s sassy eyebrows to Eli Wallach’s brilliant turn as an old Hollywood screenwriter. And the lines…the lines! “I also wrote one that sounds like you. I used only the good notes.” Wonderful.

7. 27 Dresses. I sympathize with put-together Jane, but I love her wacky best friend Casey…and I love how this movie is funny and frothy, but also deep.

8. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. What a gorgeous movie…beautifully shot and put together…and again, a great adaptation of a favorite story. I think the four girls were cast perfectly, especially Bridget.

9. Sleepless in Seattle. I laugh and cry every. single. time. Especially at the end. “Shall we?”

Clearly, looking at this list, I love smart, sassy women and happy endings. There are lots of other chick flicks (comedies and dramas) I really like: both Father of the Bride films, Serendipity, Mona Lisa Smile, Miss Congeniality, Music and Lyrics, Notting Hill, The Devil Wears Prada, The Princess Diaries, both versions of Pride and Prejudice, Becoming Jane, Chocolat, Julie and Julia, many movie musicals…I could go on and on. But these are the ones I watch over and over again, the ones I actually own (most of them), the ones I reach for when I really need something cozy and familiar, funny and heartwarming.

What are your faves? (If you’re a guy, you can roll your eyes now.) But seriously…I love chick flicks because they embody so much of what we (at least women) want out of life: good friends, real love and (usually) happy endings. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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