Friday, February 27, 2015

The heart of leaving

It's been almost two weeks since Valentine's Day and i wonder how much love is indeed in the air. And while i do so, let's walk through the lane that has been shaping our idea of love. For reasons bordering on utter abstraction, isn't it attached to the big screen? Of course, it's present in poetry and art as well but cinema manages to charm almost everyone. What's more interesting is that some films don't hinge on the usual they-lived-happily-ever-after theme as some stories go much beyond. Like Facebook would want us to believe, it's complicated—at times. Such films walk us through heartbreakingly beautiful moments of love without the burden of clichés. Pointing out a few of them...

Forrest Gump (1994)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Lowdown: No matter how simple-minded he was, Forrest (Tom Hanks) had his heart in the right place when it came to the girl (Robin Wright) he always loved. During their childhood, she urged him to run as fast as he can. As they grew up, she kept running away from him only to come back home. He accepts her by staying closer than ever before.

Sleepers (1996)
Director: Barry Levinson
Lowdown: In this film about how things change between friends when the going gets tough, Brad Pitt's character has always been in love with Minnie Driver's but owing to certain events that took place in his childhood, their equation has changed. So much so he wouldn't even bring himself to hug her when she knows it very well that their feelings are mutual.

The English Patient (1996)
Director: Anthony Minghella
Lowdown: He (Ralph Fiennes) betrays his nation because to him, what mattered the most was the life of his beloved (Kristin Scott Thomas). To their misfortune, it was too late before he took several drastic steps that didn't do justice to his professional standing. When the war, there were not only wounds perpetrated by hatred. Quite a few of them were gifted by love.

Titanic (1997)
Director: James Cameron
Lowdown: The water is icy cold and Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) has a choice to make. As soon as he helps Rose (Kate Winslet) onto the floating piece of furniture, that choice is made. By the end of it, Jack's frozen about-to-sink face couldn't have appeared warmer.

Good Will Hunting (1997)
Director: Gus Van Sant
Lowdown: What should a mathematical genius aspire for? A career of the highest order? An existence that justifies his brainy prowess? Or be with the girl of his dreams? Going by Matt Damon's prodigy, the last option ends up to be the most viable one. Besides, he somehow leaves everything behind and chooses to opt for his girlfriend who earlier chose her college over him.

Fight Club (1999)
Director: David Fincher
Lowdown: The protagonist (Ed Norton) has unwittingly given rise to a movement whose second name happens to be mayhem. When he acknowledges the peril associated with his personality, he turns to the only thing he cares about: his lover (Helena Bonham Carter). He requests her to run away. He loves her so much that he's willing to be separate for her safety.

The Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Director: Ang Lee
Lowdown: For a film that has ambiguity written all over the canvas, its climactic scene is as straightforward as it can possibly get. Ennis (Heath Ledger), older and wiser now compared to the time when he had a 'fling' with Jack (Jake Gyllenhaal), walks up to his closet. He takes Jack's old shirt, tucks inside his own and lets the two hang together inside.

Away From Her (2006)
Director: Sarah Polley
Lowdown: Julie Christie's Alzheimer-affected protagonist is shown cutely flirting with a fellow patient inside an institute. The person watching this is her husband and he can only be happy about it. After all, his ailing wife no longer remembers him and whatever makes her happy is bound to make him happy too. Even if this whole incident sounds remarkably bizarre.

Apocalypto (2006)
Director: Mel Gibson
Lowdown: Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood) has to protect his expectant wife (Dalia Hernández) and son while making sure he doesn't put himself in jeopardy. Running out of ideas—after running like a marathon runner—he decides to hide his family in a dry well. To make matters worse, it begins to rain and within minutes, the well begins to fill up. Her unabashed trust in her husband is tested and how. -

WALL·E (2008)
Director: Andrew Stanton
Lowdown: Don't you ever wish somebody loved you the way WALL·E loved Eve? For a major part of this film, the chemistry between the two robotic characters is as dull as it can get. But that's solely because the 'girl' doesn't reciprocate his 'feelings' for her. Nevertheless, he keeps doing what he has to. In other words, he continues to care for her well-being.

The Art of Getting By (2011)
Director: Gavin Wiesen
Lowdown: He (Freddie Highmore) is too full of himself to let his guard down and she (Emma Roberts) doesn't really have the patience to wait for him. At the same time, he has fallen in love with her; something he's not prepared to come to terms with, but he has to. And when he finally does, we get a peek into the art the film's title propagates.

Tyrannosaur (2011)
Director: Paddy Considine
Lowdown: An alcoholic (Peter Mullan) is a loner with nobody to answer for while Olivia Colman plays a harassed housewife (Olivia Colman). They both bump into each other in the unlikeliest manner and a change takes place. He begins to care for her while she grows mildly fond of him. Turns out this 'change' took place because she happened to be the first person who smiled at him without any hidden agenda!

The Artist (2011)
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Lowdown: A silent era actor (Jean Dujardin) is struggling to cope with the rise of talkies. The woman he literally handpicked to stardom (Bérénice Bejo) has become the face of a technology he can't stand. His downfall is mitigated by her persistence to mix the best of both worlds. One of the many things she does without resorting to melodrama.

Short Term 12 (2013)
Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
Lowdown: Mason (John Gallagher Jr) cherishes Grace (Brie Larson) way too much but the latter is self-confessedly so 'damaged' that there might never be a chance for the two. Regardless, he sticks around patiently waiting for that moment when she'd let him in. A reason why that particular scene—which establishes her utmost faith in him—is poignantly epic.

Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013)
Director: Abdellatif Kechiche
Lowdown: There's no denying that this film is very graphic in nature, especially given the two subjects featured are lesbians. However, that aspect doesn't come in the way of its heartwrenching finale as the two ex-lovers face off in a restaurant. The dialogues between them and the resulting ambiance reek of tragedy. At that point, one lover's indifference towards another becomes the coldest colour.

The Lunchbox (2013)
Director: Ritesh Batra
Lowdown: So the moment of confrontation is scheduled and the lady (Nimrat Kaur) arrives on time, waits for him before leaving the table. We wonder why didn't he turn up. Later, we are informed that he arrived much before she did and on taking a look at her, our retired hero realized he's way too old for her. After slyly gazing at her for an hour, he accepts the truth that he can't provide her what she needs. 

Whiplash (2014)
Director: Damien Chazelle
Lowdown: When you know precisely what you want from life—or love—you're in a far better place. Miles Teller (has anybody noticed his striking resemblance to younger Marlon Brando?) loves drumming in this mesmerizing film. In fact, he knows he's on the cusp of genius but he's a fool too. He breaks up with the very girl he eyed for months. Reason: He doesn't want her to resent him when he is fast climbing up the ladder of ingenuity!  He should have dragged instead of rushing there. 

N.B. This happens to be my last article for mid-day before i moved to Zomato. 

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