Since You've Gone I've Been Lost Without A Trace, I Dream At Night I Can Only See Your Face, I Look Around But It's You I Can't Replace
I was watching 50 First Dates tonight on my own. In fact, today was pretty much spent all by my lonesome. After being surrounded by friends and family all yesterday, it was nice to get a chance to recover without feeling hampered by having to be anywhere specific to meet any specific people. Plus, I've always liked 50 First Dates, but it's never been very high on anyone else's list of must-see movies. Say what you will, but there's something insanely sweet about the entire concept behind that movie. I always appreciate the opportunity to watch it in its entirety.
The aspect of the movie I identify with is the concept of romance. The entire movie is basically centered around the question of whether or not one person can romance the same person if the circumstances change. It's basically a long experiment regarding whether circumstances and environment play more of a part in whether two people fall in love than actual chemistry. From the first time I saw it I absolutely adore the notion that, despite everything, if you get the same two people together sparks are going to fly. Maybe it's the romantic in me. Maybe it's the idea that I can belay the concept of destiny in all things save love that speaks to me. All I know is that when I see Henry continually chase after Lucy day after day, having to romance her all over again when she wakes up with no memory of him, I empathize. That's the part of chasing after someone that's always puzzled me the most, the one that I've spent the most time trying to work out for myself. I know what attracts me to someone else and what keeps me interested in them. For the most part, I know what other people find best about me. But the facet that's always stumped is what keeps me and someone else together, what is that mystical connection that cements us together. I've always thought it has to go beyond attraction. That only lasts so long. I've always believed in the concept of soul mates.
I'm telling you right now--I don't know if I could do what Henry does. I don't know if I'd have the strength to continually make someone fall in love with me. I've always found the chase exhausting. The part I cherish the most is just after the chase, when the bond starts to become more solid. To me to know that somebody could reject me depending on the day or depending my approach would dishearten me to no end. I'm very easily discouraged. Like most, when I put out the effort and when I put myself on the line to acknowledge my feelings to a young woman, I want to know that it yielded favorable results. I don't want my efforts to have been in vain. Hearing someone I liked and I know liked me only the day before reject me would have the effect of crushing me. It would point to the signs that we aren't soul mates. In a perfect world, under those circumstances, soul mates would still be batting a hundred percent. It would destroy any faith I had that true love exists.
That's why I like 50 First Dates; it allows me to believe that someone I might end up with could love me no matter what occurs or how we meet or what I happen to say to her. There's a reassurance in movies like this, where the guy ends up with the girl in the end despite all obstacles.
I also like the fact that it explores the concept of the totality of one's emotions. Lucy speaks in the film of not wanting to hold Henry back from his life when she breaks up with him. To this, Henry responds in the film's climax something to the effect that his life can only continue with her in it. He doesn't say that she is his life. He doesn't say that he'll die without her. He says that he can't imagine the rest of his life without her. I like that distinction. I like that idea that he feels sorely compelled to include her in with the plans he's already made for himself rather than building his plans around what she wants to do. Yes, love takes compromise to a certain extent, but to another extent it also means building a life for yourself while at the same time making provisions should the right person come along.
It's just like the video game this movie reminds me of, Final Fantasy X. In that film the main couple, Yuna and Tidus, also endure an almost passionate relationship that is derailed by an almost impossible situation. After seeing and listening to the moving gradual courtship between the couple for almost forty hours of game time, the player is almost devastated to find out near the game's end that what he or she is witnessing is not a happy ending fairy tale. What the player comes to find out is that he or she is watching one of the saddest and most tragic love stories every imagined. What the player finds out is that Tidus isn't even real. Taking a page from stories like Cinderella and A Little Mermaid, Tidus' time as the person who Yuna thinks he is is limited. However, it's even more tragic because Tidus is the preserved memory of a town that was on the brink of destruction of almost fifty years before Yuna was even born. To save the town from an evil, a wizard preserved the town and all of its inhabitants in an almost suspended animation. Tidus walked and lived for those intervening fifty years without realizing he wasn't getting older or changing or even that he could never his town. Then one day he did and met Yuna. Ultimately, when that evil is defeated after many months of questing (and falling in love with Yuna), Tidus discovers that without the evil the reason for the spell is broken. He and Yuna come to find out that his destiny is to fade away into the nothing since he's only a memory of the real Tidus that would've died long ago.
Their farewell is probably one of the saddest good-byes in cinema history, live action or animated:
I admit it--I'm a sucker for a good unrequited love story. I enjoy hearing about two people who are meant for one another that are kept apart, who finally make it through in the end. But what really gets to me are stories like 50 First Dates and Final Fantasy X, where two people find each other and ultimately lose each other through no fault of their own. It's why I like Eponine's story too. I enjoy tragic love stories because it reinforces that when two people find each other that that's the most beautiful thing in the world. Whether or not they stay together is secondary. Whether or not they eventually reconnect is secondary. Whether or not they can never be together again is secondary.
It's the finding of one another that is beautiful. It's the proof that there's one person out there that you're meant to be with that is beautiful. That's where the real romance is, in the connecting.
That's what love is to me.