critics hate, I adore: The Romantics

The Romantics is a film based on the book by Galt Niederhoffer (note to self – read!), who also directs. It boasts an awesome cast led by Josh Duhamel, Katie Holmes and Anna Paquin, who are the center characters immeshed in an ongoing love/lust triangle. The film takes place over the course of one night at the seaside wedding of Tom (Duhamel) and Lila (Paquin). The ensemble cast are all tightly-knit Yale grads, WASP-y, privileged, and beautiful. Also perhaps noteworthy are the supporting characters played by the adorable Elijah Wood and boyishly handsome Adam Brody.

I think what’s important to “get over” with this film is that it’s not a nice, neat, romantic comedy tied up in a little bow. (Although for some odd reason it’s listed as such on Netflix.) You’re maybe not supposed to especially “like” the characters or root for someone, or see the perfect ending. That’s what makes The Romantics special. It’s finely nuanced, yet I couldn’t look away. The misty oceanside setting, tight dialogue and sensitive moments make the film all worth watching. While the film is of course called “The Romantics,” there isn’t much romance going on, really – even though the central storyline is a wedding. “The Romantics” was what this bunch of friends dubbed themselves in college, and so it sticks.

It’s clearly set up from the start that Laura (Holmes) has had an ongoing thing for Tom. Yet he chose Lila to marry. And Laura’s also the maid of honor, causing even more tension. Throughout the film we see him struggle with his choice – he yearns for a wild heart like Laura’s, yet Lila’s buttoned-up, restrained, almost catatonic persona seems to be a safer decision for the long haul. Poetry bubbles up inside Tom as he succumbs to his desires on the eve of his wedding, and Laura wakes up alone. Katie Holmes is effortless in this role. You can’t hate her or blame her for her actions, however wrong they may be morally. You feel kind of bad for her but not, because clearly she’s the character with the most depth and intellectual expanse.

Plenty can go wrong with ensemble casts, but The Romantics seems to pull it off. You don’t have to know every detail, you just sort of follow along as if you were witnessing stylish night from the sidelines. You feel privileged and beautiful just watching, but you still wouldn’t want to trade places with any of them.

The Romantics is also rife with themes that resonate for me, a girl who is moving slowly into her late twenties. Regret, perhaps. Pining. Ambivalence. Omnipresent pressure to settle. Lust, naturally. The juxtaposition of being carefree and careworn all at once. These are the subtle notions that are woven throughout the movie. If you’re not keen to see the movie for what it is, much of it could easily be lost. Before finishing the film, I read on various reviews that the ending was a “rip off,” etcetera – but when the end came, I was overjoyed. No cheese, no “this is exactly what happens to these people,” you’re left to surmise and speculate, but in a pleasant way that doesn’t leave you feeling cheated.

Advertisements

an ode to heartache

What a shame, I’ve become such a fragile and broken thing
I poured myself to you and you thoughtlessly spilled
I have no respite, no recourse
The worst has happened, I’ll mend from here.

I’m a violent sensual sensitive girl.

They say that anything can be replaced
Find another girl to pass the days
She’s beautiful, she has your face
There is nothing time cannot erase…

(As Tall as Lions)

Pseudo-love.
If a person has not reached the level where she has a sense of I-ness rooted in the productive unfolding of her own powers, she tends to idolize the loved person. She is alienated from her own powers and projects them into the loved person.

The bearer of all love, all light, all bliss.

In this process she deprives herself of all sense of strength, loses herself in the loved one instead of finding herself. Since no person can live up to the expectations of her idolatrous worshiper, disappointment is bound to occur.

(From Girl in Need of a Tourniquet by Merri Lisa Johnson)

Yes, I’ll get over it eventually.
Maybe even soon.
But that doesn’t make it hurt any less right now.

fill your spiritual gas tank.

This blog concept came to me from a series of experiences in conjunction with a dream that a “spiritual running buddy” of mine had. I hate pumping gas. I mean, really hate it. Especially in the cold New Hampshire winters. I’m not a morning person so I usually forget that I need gas, and wind up with just enough to get to work. Three weeks IN A ROW I have pulled into the gas station that’s off the highway exit near my house, and just as I pull up to the pump — my “low fuel” light comes on and makes its dinging reminder. But I’m okay, because I’m there. I made it. I can fuel up and go where I need to go now, and I had just enough to get me where I needed to be, when I needed to be there.

My friend’s dream (if I remember correctly) was her driving around on empty and our mutual teacher and guru (Gabrielle Bernstein) somehow appearing with fuel at just the right moment when she was about to run out. The universe provided. I believe that if we are truly connected with spirit, we will get where we need to be. I feel so strongly connected to this message. As I pulled up to the pump today and I heard my car’s “low fuel” chime (I predicted and almost knew it would), I knew this was not a coincidence. This was a lesson that’s meant to be shared and it doesn’t just have to do with gasoline that we put in our cars…

It also has to do with how we fuel ourselves spiritually. Not everyone understands this. Many, many people in this world go from day to day, feeling burned out and depleted, not knowing how to juggle responsibilities and ambitions and families and self-care. It is a constant challenge that I face daily as well. There will constantly be times where we get tripped up, and things don’t go our way. We can very easily begin to feel drained. People say that all the time “man, I’m so drained,” or “I feel like I don’t have anything to give.” I’m there myself a lot – that’s how and why I know that self-care and “filling your spiritual gas tank” is so key to feeling like life is manageable.

So what’s your fuel? It can be ANYTHING. This video blog really inspired me – China riffs on basically the same topic and emphasizes that “if we do not make spiritual fitness a priority, we will go spiritually bankrupt.”Β True! Like China I love painting my nails to start – taking baths, shaving my legs, burning incense and/or sage, lighting candles, petting my cats, listening to guided meditations and spiritual podcasts and vlogs by other gurus and like-minded spirits. Running, cooking a healthy and delicious meal for myself, good sex, yoga, poetry, long talks with friends, free writing, tea – the list goes on. A combination of these practiced on a daily basis keep my spiritual gas tank full. What fills yours when you feel like you’re running on E?

Love and light,
V

stay at home, Sunday Girl.

Tonight is lit by yellow light bulbs and
wrapped in cream colored blankets
We spend our moments swallowed up in white silence but for
thirty second commercial breaks of kissing
All the noise gone from our hearts.


she can’t catch up with the working crowd
the weekend mood and she’s feeling proud
live in dreams, Sunday Girl β™₯

text messages/ bubbling up/ dill pickles/ blow jobs/ launched/ lost.
needed repair/ jungle sex/ four am.
feelings/ feelings/ feelings/ feelings
meeting a mirror/ finding the flesh/ scrambled eggs/ flannel/resolve

Your hands are in my hair but my heart is in your teeth baby
And it makes me want to make you near me always

(Jewel)

You have strange images of her as your sweetheart, your one and true sweetheart, and you want to go steady, want to rake leaves with her, want to give her a letter sweater, these 1950s dreams…want it to be Christmas and lights and a fireplace and cocoa and her wearing angora.

(from Landscapes by Joseph Monninger)