worth watching: Lars and the Real Girl (2007)

It’s pretty much expected that a film in which a socially awkward grown man orders a sex doll from the internet and pretends she’s his girlfriend would be a bit on the weird side. But  what’s unexpected, is how much of a gem that film has the potential to be – and is realized in Lars and the Real Girl. Lars is 27, and lives in the garage of his older brother Guy (Paul Schneider) and his pregnant wife, Karin (Emily Mortimer). He’s hopelessly reclusive. The backdrop is a small conservative town in northern Minnesota, which is portrayed so well in the film. (There’s no hustle and bustle, but plenty of ugly sweaters.)

I will admit, I was skeptical at first, especially when Lars first brought the Bianca in to meet his brother and Karin. It was uncomfortable and weird. There are hardly any sexual references in this film – and those that are made, aren’t made by Lars towards Bianca – his “real” girl. It isn’t about that. The film at first centers around Lars’ brother and sister in-law getting him “help” to treat his delusion. He begins visiting the family doctor/psychologist on a weekly basis, who is the first to “humor” Lars in his relationship and acknowledging Bianca as real. With a few raised eyebrows, Bianca begins to settle into life in Minnesota. She makes friends, volunteers at the hospital, and begins to “assert her independence,” all the while, unwittingly helping Lars into the world as well, helping him to feel things and to connect in ways that he never was able to without her. It’s just a movie you have to see to really get; explaining it doesn’t do it any justice.

It’s a film about kindness, love, acceptance, and what can happen when we choose those things over fear and judgment. No cheap shots, here. It has an understated tone and quiet humor. It was touching and incredibly subtle, and in the end, heartbreaking…then hopeful. So worth watching.

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lessons in letting go

Once I heard that your spiritual growth is like a class. Only if you keep failing the class, you keep repeating it over and over again until you pass. LETTING GO is what I’m doomed to repeat, it seems. Over and over. I fought to hold on to someone for years who I should have released immediately. Sometimes I’m certain we should never have been together, at least not as long as we were. It was damaged and hideous at the end. Life is such a balancing act. We fight to hold on to the people and things that matter to us, and we also fight to let them go. “Never letting go” is a painful and constrictive promise. The wise would know when to fight harder, and when to let go.

Recent times have presented me with another circumstance in which my heart is being pulled. It wants to hold on. It wants to make this person important. It wants to plant roses at his feet. On the contrary, this other man seems mired in his own pain/madness/sorrow/shackles. Far too much so to see me standing at the other end with my arms and heart wide open. And even though he said he didn’t want to disappear…that’s precisely what he did. My awakened self, the Spirit Junkie inside me says – be cool. Be okay that this is not part of the Universe’s plan right now for you. Marvel that you have the capacity to admire and care for someone that much. And then let him go.

Letting go is powerful. Liberating. Divine. If you can get there. 

“You probably think, in general, you could have done more. It was never about your doing more, it was always about trusting that it was out of your hands.”
— From Blue Jelly by Debby Bull

If he’s stupid enough to walk away, be smart enough to let him go.

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about something like this. And it definitely won’t be the last. But it’s important for me to do. Every time I practice this I get a little stronger. A little better. A little closer to really, truly letting go.

meditation Monday: be your own bestie

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Sometimes someone else says it better than I could. From a post @ The Daily Love by Agapi Stassinopolous.

There are two things that perpetuate a lot of hurt in our lives: judgments and expectations. We expect that people are going to act a certain way. Usually, this looks like we expect people to act in exactly the way we want them to. When people inevitably fail to act the way we want them to or the way we think they should, we experience hurt. This is when we have an opportunity to shift our perspectives. We can realize that people are going to behave and act according to their own rules, and commit to just love and support ourselves regardless. Let’s be our own best friends! If, on some rare occasion, others act in a way that fulfills our expectations, then hurray for us! If they don’t, then so be it. If we give ourselves the latitude to realize that each person we encounter has a whole other movie going on inside of their heads and their own script they are following, we can accept that we have no clue about what their reality is like, what is present and important at that time for them, and not make assumptions about their motives. We are the authors and the stars of our own movie – not anyone else’s.

Beautiful.

cinematic, razor sharp


You’re cinematic, razor sharp
A welcome arrow through the heart
Under your skin feels like home
Electric shocks on aching bones


How rich in contrast
Love can be
Sometimes I’m quite amused
To see it twist and turn
To taste both sweet and dry
These vintage years
Lovers you consume, my friend
As others their wine


I’m broken open
Fragile heart, tapered kiss
I hate missing you
Wondering what you’re doing
All the while correctly suspecting
That you don’t give a fuck.

(my own journal)


I was staring at the sky, just looking for a star
To pray on, or wish on, or something like that
I was having a sweet fix of a daydream of a boy
Whose reality I knew, was a hopeless to be had
But then the dove of hope began its downward slope
And I believed for a moment that my chances
Were approaching to be grabbed
But as it came down near, so did a weary tear
I thought it was a bird, but it was just a paper bag

Goodbye my almost lover, goodbye my hopeless dream
I’m trying not to think about you
Can’t you just let me be

So long my luckless romance, my back is turned on you
Should have known you’d bring me heartache
Almost lovers always do.

*Lyrics – in order: Snow Patrol (You’re All I Have), Radiohead (Bitter Sweet), Fiona Apple (Paper Bag), A Fine Frenzy (Almost Lover)

critics hate, I adore: Remember Me

So I’ve never (yet…) seen a Twilight movie, but now I can sort of understand the hype about Robert Pattinson. Dreamy, dreamy, dreamboat! He stars as Tyler Hawkins, a 21 year old- NYU student still a bit lost after his brother’s suicide years earlier. Ally (Emilie de Ravin) is a working-class girl from Queens who witnessed her mother’s murder as a child. With pre-9/11 New York City as the backdrop for this film, they begin to slowly unfurl an untraditional and pleasantly non-cliche love story. Supporting characters make the film – most notably, Ally’s father, played by Chris Cooper, and Tyler’s father, played by Pierce Brosnan. I also adored the scene-stealing cuteness of Ruby Jerins, who plays Tyler’s gifted little sister. Seriously amazing, authentic casting. And chemistry! Pattinson and de Ravin have plenty.

This is a film that plays off tragedy but doesn’t dwell on it. There’s a gray mood to certain parts, and raw and real moments, but the movie doesn’t have an overly dark feel. It’s playful, and at times sensual. I tend to enjoy movies that can be more than one thing at once. Like, a movie can have sad parts without necessarily being a “sad movie.” (I totally cried at the end. But that’s me, I’m a movie-crier.) Honestly, I had no intention of especially liking this movie. I hadn’t read many reviews prior and like many movies, by the time they arrive in my mailbox from Netflix, I’d forgotten why I’d put it in my queue in the first place (those recommendations)!

What struck me about this film is the complexity of the main characters, particularly of Rob’s character. He’s young and a little reckless and self-assured in that way that so many men that age are. Ally has a certain rough around the edges sweetness that I just adore. I will give a little spoiler, this movie does touch upon the 9/11 tragedy. I was worried they may somehow cheapen the event and exploit it for the sake of the film. I was pleasantly struck at the subtlety that was used in bringing such a controversial, and in a lot of ways, still fresh, event to light on film. There aren’t a lot of special effects, and you don’t see much. You don’t need to see it to know that it happened. I think I can speak for most people who were old enough to remember – exactly where they were, and every detail about what happened that clear beautiful September day.

It isn’t often I’m compelled to write my thoughts on a film, but this movie was great. It’s funny to read the scathing reviews about it (“rug-pulling, emotionally pornographic climax of tragedy-kitsch” from movies.com) but I’m pretty sure most of my favorite movies ever were ravaged by critics. Maybe I’m not highbrow enough? Oh well. And even if your only reason for watching Remember Me is the sexy/brooding Robert Pattinson? You won’t have wasted a minute.

rainy heart.

I was talking with a friend who said that his best days, with euphoric highs, are met with rather grim and lonely days the day after. I believe this to be true. There was (is?) a certain man, with whom I spent an amazing 13 straight hours with on Saturday until 4:00 am on Sunday. In the monsoon, bunkered up, then out, then in. Reminiscing, reconnecting, rediscovering, and talking talking talking… The soul-bending kind you never want to end. Never boring. Never wanted to break the spell. Maybe he didn’t either. Was this beautiful man I’ve known for almost five years a kindred spirit who I’d somehow overlooked and relegated to friend territory? Or just another pal who happens to be fun to make out with? I’m terrified to think of anything else. After flirting coyly for ten hours he asked permission. He’s polite. One word only: ELECTRIC.

You know, when Rolfe gives Leisl her first kiss. In the rain. Of course. I fucking love that feeling. Anything is possible.

Today’s the antidote to that day. I discovered that my big-time ex has a new girlfriend or something similar, and also that my ex-best friend has unfriended me on Facebook (don’t know when she did). It’s also still raining – funny how the rain can be romantic and beautiful and somber the next day. My heart is full of gloom. I’m sentimental and embarrassed. That’s me – always breaking and mending. And I’m still waiting…