I Feel Too Young, I Can't Lie On My Bed Without Thinking I Was Wrong, But When This Feeling Calls This World Becomes Another
It's not secret that I was an admirer of Garden State when it came out. I felt I could relate to the issues brought up in the story seeing as the characters were about the same age as me at the time. I also went on in length how I thought Natalie Portman's character was the end-all be-all of greatest film girlfriends. To me, at the time, it was the perfect movie and one I believed I would hold in high esteem for a long time coming.
Lost in translation (ha) from then till now is how other movies I saw during the same approximate period I thought were good, but weren't going be pieces I would consider watching over and over again. In simpler terms, I thought Garden State would become one of my all-time classics and the rest of them would fade into obscurity. Included among these other films was a little film called Lost in Translation. At the time I thought it was good, but not great. I thought it was entertaining, dramatic at points, but ultimately something I didn't believe I could endure watching time and time again. The characters felt too distant from what I was going through. Yes, I felt isolated and lonely like them--but their sense of the feeling and how they handled it seemed miles away from my experience. The whole story just felt like it could never happen to me in that fashion. That's why I wrote it off. That's why I didn't think I'd be talking about eight years later.
I was watching Lost in Translation yesterday--well, a piece of it. It was probably the twentieth time I've seen it since that first time I saw it in the theaters. I'm here to admit that it still holds up. I still feel just as moved as I did that first time. Meanwhile, I can't even remember the last time I wanted to see Garden State. It's not that I believe it suddenly transformed into a bad movie. It's merely that all the problems that I thought I could relate to in that film seem beneath me, behind me. They all seem like concerns that I had in my twenties, my post-college days. Now it's like those kinds of questions never creep into my head, whereas the sense of being adrift in a sea of people like Bob and Charlotte never quite goes away and never is a problem anyone else has ever come up with a lasting solution to. I'm afraid to admit it, but I identify more with the sense of being held in place by life than life dealing you a bum hand. For me it's a much worse fate to be stuck in the middle than have your life seem to be all bad luck.
Maybe it's a sign I'm getting older, that bad news would almost seem preferable to no news. But I'm thinking why I seem so hung-up on Lost in Translation and not Garden State is that you can't always predict who or what can fill your heart. The people and experiences you hope will complete you are often the ones that fall considerably short. Meanwhile, the people and experience you never meant to let in, the ones you were sure weren't built to last often surprise you.
That's kind of like the movie too. Life isn't about planning who you're going to find comfort in, it's about finding comfort in the person you just happen to stumble upon. You can't predict human kindness, you can't plot emotional connections. It's kind of like Toby always says. Don't postpone joy. If you find it or if it finds you, just run with it. Don't hold out for something better. Take comfort in who or what you can when you can.
Because sometimes it's the movie you liked, but didn't love, at first can turn out to be the one that stays with you for your whole life. And sometimes the person you found annoying and clingy can turn out to be someone you still find annoying and clingy (but in a good way) some eighteen years later.