Saturday, August 20, 2011

Viewing A Single Man

Tonight I actually watched the entire movie, A Single Man.  I'm glad I spent time with it because it highlighted  truths about the human condition that I'd failed to notice in my first view of the film. I believe I failed to focus on these truths or true to me experiences the first time because as often is the case distractions entered my mind while viewing the film for the first time. I engaged with many other things to truly appreciate the themes of the movie.

Although the story is about a man who has lost his partner of 16 years, the grief, the sense of loneliness, the need of human contact are true of us all. I do not need to be a homosexual male to see the grief that overtakes a person at the loss of a truly loving partner. It is hard to suddenly realize that you must continue on your own. Interestingly, in his final day, George visits an old female friend, whom he's known for many years, is propositioned by a handsome Spaniard at a liquor store ---George was buying Tanqueray Gin for Charlotte--and later George spends a good night with one of his students talking about being born alone and dying alone and in fact spending the rest of our lives alone locked in our bodies. I would say locked in our minds. By the end of the film, George has his moment of revelation that fits with his student's statement about the importance of living in the moment and relishing the joy of life whenever it comes. Connections to other humans on a deep level wind up being the things that truly matter in a human life.

I liked the movie because it shows character development throughout it. As an avid reader and movie watcher of long standing I really enjoy those films where focus is on character first and plot second. I could envision this movie with a different ending. Why because the young student becomes a possible person with whom George could begin a new chapter in his life. Yet the end is perfect because what he had with Jim was perfect. Anything else would not be better it would be survival. And in my estimation survival can be a heavy thing in one's life.

I know this because in my life I have survived to find myself alone and very much involved with thinking. Like Charlotte in the film, I no longer have a regular job. I work on line and I miss the face to face interactions with my students. Unlike Charlotte, I don't think I have the energy to deal with teaching full time again.

I see it more profoundly now that connecting deeply with friends and sharing thoughts and times that are important to them as well as to me are those nuggets of time we treasure and in fact define part of our purposes in living.
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