I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

If Someone's Love Can Make Us Better ...

The plot for the movie “One Day” intrigued me when I first heard it. Still does.

Emma (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter (Jim Sturgess) meet on July 15 – the day of their college graduation, and then reconnect every July 15 for twenty years to talk about where they are in life before finally realizing they should be together.

A few years ago, I went to see the play, “Same Time, Next Year,” (based on the 1978 movie of the same name) and it had the same premise (which a blog called Movie Smackdown explores). It had a fatal plot twist though in my mind since both George and Doris were married and were renewing their affair on the same day every year.

I watched “One Day” over the weekend. Unfortunately, it was a bit disjointed. But it is still the better of the two productions.

One particular scene in the movie stands out. But it’ll take a minute to set up. Stop reading here if you don’t want me to spoil the ending. Okay, you’ve been warned.

Emma is more likable than Dexter. You feel her wandering pains more. And you get the feeling that she’s just going through the motions without Dexter. She takes a job as a waitress and settles for a man (Ian) she doesn’t love.

Dexter has his own demons – all the usual suspects. And the truth is, he doesn’t show Emma the respect she deserves.

At times, it’s hard to understand what Emma sees in him, other than twenty years worth of history. With history comes familiarity though, so I can see why she pines for Dexter. He’s the only one who really knows her.

Finally, they realize they are better together, so they get married. But then, she dies. After Emma’s death, Dexter is lost. He provokes a fight in which he gets beaten severely. And he ends up at his father’s (Steven) place, where they have this conversation.

“So, is this going to be an annual festival, do you think?” Steven says. “Every year, fifteenth of July?

“Well, I hope not.”

“I don’t want a heart-to-heart. Do you?”

“No. No. I’d rather not,” Dexter says.

“Except to say that I think the best thing that you could do would be to try to live your life as if Emma were still here. Don’t you?”

“I don’t know if I can.”

“Of course you can,” Steven says. “What do you think I’ve been doing for the past ten years?” [His wife died of cancer.]

Dexter glances over at his dad who has his face buried in a bowl of soup. He nods a couple of times knowing his dad has found a way to go on.

Later, Ian visits Dexter and he is gracious. He tells Dexter that Emma made Dexter decent while Dexter made her happy. There’s a certain sadness in this admission from Ian. He knew Emma’s heart was never his, but he has moved on and found someone else.

Steven’s wisdom, combined with Ian’s observation, provide clarity.

If someone’s love can make us better, then it has the power to keep making us better ... even beyond the grave. Maybe that’s why reminders of people after they are gone help us heal, transforming our tears to smiles of recognition.


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