Have you ever eaten something that was heavenly, absolutely divine, orgasmically good? Afterwards, you didn’t want to eat or drink anything else because it would ruin the bliss that your taste buds were experiencing, the palate party happening in your mouth. That is precisely how I felt after seeing the movie ‘About Time‘ on Wednesday night, except it wasn’t my taste buds and palate I wanted to preserve, it was my perspective, the euphoric state of my brain, my sensory memories from the past two hours, and overall feelings and emotions. I didn’t want to watch a TV show, read a book, or even have a deep conversation with anyone for the rest of the night because I just wanted to sit and think about the movie, I needed to process it all. I wanted to piece together why it touched me so much, why it had me sobbing like a freshly-dumped teenage girl on my 30-minute drive home from the theater. Except I wasn’t crying sad tears, okay maybe a few sad tears, they were mostly tears due to being emotionally and mentally overwhelmed and at completely at peace, all at the same time.
In today’s fast-paced and quickly evolving society, many of us have succumbed to living in a perpetual state of existentialism, I know I often feel that way. The movie ‘About Time’ made me forget about my perpetual existential crisis. It made me remember that we, as humans, are always going, going, and going…but where are we going? The answer is nowhere, and that is okay. Every moment has the ability to become humorous, enjoyable, and momentous no matter how seemingly unimportant it is. I can read inspirational quotes and positive affirmations until I’m blue in the face, and some of them resonate within me, but nothing has come close to what this movie did for my soul, my perpetual state of existentialism. And in all honesty it feels a bit silly- a Rachel McAdams movie? Life changing? Don’t get me wrong I love Rachel McAdams, but I was expecting to walk into a chick flick and have a few chuckles here and there, roll my eyes at the predictable cheeseball romantic lines, and walk out feeling mildly pleased with the cliche happy ending love story.
I did walk out feeling pleased at the happy ending love story, even though it wasn’t all happy things that happened in the film. And it wasn’t all about a budding love story between two people as much as a love story about life, and learning how to turn your own life into a love story without relying on someone else to come along and do it for you. And that was exactly the point that I took away from the movie: life has a lot of terrible, unimaginable, difficult events to face and overcome, but it is still possible to be happy and love the life you live no matter the obstacles. At one point in the movie, the narrator recites a quote during a poignant scene from Mary Schmich’s famous piece “Wear Sunscreen”:
Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.
This quote, along with many others in the movie, resonated deep within me. Maybe it was the beautiful and perfectly timed music soundtracking the movie, the near empty theater, or my overflowing with positive energy friend sitting next to me, but it hit hard. It felt like someone was hitting me upside the head with a bag of bricks and was urging me to stop stressing about my “problems” because problems are inevitable and will happen regardless of how I mentally prepare myself (read chronic anxiety). Over and over again I experienced “aha moments” throughout the movie, and remembered how wonderfully beautiful my own life is. All by watching actors on a screen act out lines that some thoughtful, eloquent person wrote over the span of the past few years. It was a movie that was so much more than a movie, it was a reawakening for my inner belief system that happiness and peace of mind is a daily choice no matter what you’re dealing with. That way of thinking is something I work hard at making my “normal”, but it sometimes gets buried deep, deep down. Sometimes I can’t even find it, even though I know it’s there somewhere. Sometimes I just need a reminder, and as a very visual person, the movie ‘About Time’ is the best reminder I could have asked for.
I sobbed for the last 15 minutes of the movie and continued to do so on the drive home. I downloaded the movie soundtrack and sobbed while listening to it and reflecting on my own life, fully enjoying the waves of emotion washing over me. I know, it’s a bit masochistic. While I normally try and keep my emotions in check and float between a 5 or 6 on the scale of sanity, it felt good to give into them. I was deeply moved by the movie, and perhaps it’s natural for your body to physically respond to a change in perspective like that.
What a wonderful surprise, to think you are going to sit in a theater to kill time with a silly movie for two hours and instead be reminded of how easy gratitude and a simple life and mind state can be. I can’t possibly explain in words why this movie touched me the way it did, but I know I’m not alone in my experience.
Maybe we are all waiting for some idea or moment to save us from our existentialism, to remind us that why we’re here doesn’t necessarily matter, but it’s how you spend the time you are given. Only then will we begin to understand the why.