Saved by the Movies?

“…for delicate, sensitive flowers like me, movies can be magic.”

So I just saw another one of those movies that reduced me to the kind of tears shed by the likes of the Donald when he’s actually paying a vendor, sharing his tax returns, or watching Saturday Night Live.

And now I have “Lion” to add to my short list of films that really get to me. The other Best Weeping Von Bulow meme nominees are “Stand by me” and “Field of Dreams.”

I’ve written weekly pieces for local rags for going on twenty years but since November 8, I just haven’t had the energy. Seriously, for a while there I almost lost the will to even finish a plate of Lasagna Bolognese; I even started passively rooting for the Raiders. I knew I was getting rustier by the day but for delicate, sensitive flowers like me, movies can be magic.

And it’s also true that sometimes when I share the thought processes that are mostly all my own, people have been known scratch their head and fade away into the friendly confines of space existing just outside my field of vision. So consider yourselves forewarned.

Thing is, the three tear-jerkers above are all about loss, coping and rebirth. Two of ‘em relate to the loss of an older brother and the other about the unsaid goodbye to a father and an unlikely mystical second chance. They’re personal; each film connects with my heart and soul…especially now.

On November 8, I really did feel like someone close had died. Some of my friends were ridiculed for comparing their sense of loss and emptiness to the events of 9/11. For me, the emotions ran closer to June 5, 1968, the night RFK was assassinated, along with the sense of hope and fairness he generated and inspired. But actually, even though I’ll never forget the details of both dark days, this time felt far more personal…and I don’t think that will ever change.

I’ve always shared about my being the luckiest kid in the world, growing up with a family that remains my mentor, even though, these days, it’s just me, my co-workers, and the movies.

And maybe I’ve just been fooling myself believing America was as good as my mom, dad, older brother, and my business family away from home.

I grew up in a home that was all about accountability, fairness, love, and respect. And on November 8, of the 50% of eligible Americans who felt compelled enough to respect the sacrifices of all those who had secured our right to vote, only nearly three million more chose my family over hatred, dishonesty, ignorance, and fear. And guess what; this time the losers won.

In “Lion,” (Spoiler alert) a five-year old little Indian kid falls asleep on a train and becomes separated from his family; he is hopelessly lost. And after a harrowing series of narrow escapes from adult predators, starvation, and the elements, he’s saved. The little boy, Saroo, is finally rescued by an Australian couple who adopt to make a difference rather than raise their own children. 25 years later, having never forgotten the images of his mum, older brother, and sister, the young man rediscovers who he is…with obsessive determination, a trip, and an embrace.

I’m hoping a rediscovery can happen for us. Thank God I still see my family the way Saroo, Gordie Lachance, and Ray Kinsella saw theirs…if only in movies I find loving and therapeutic…because I do need the therapy.

Otherwise, I’m not so sure I’ll ever recover from November 8 and my having been ashamed to be an American.