Art Imitates Life

22 Aug

Disclaimer: This post includes plot details from the movie Like Crazy. Enjoy.

A couple of days ago I was reading a Refinery29 article about Netflix hidden gems. I felt proud of myself for having watched some of them and having had several others already on my queue. The funny thing was when I got to the suggestion of “Ira & Abby”, one of the first movies I added (I admit I joined Neflix very late in the game, as in this summer). It stars Chris Messina (already a winner) and Jennifer Westfeldt, who also wrote the movie. Now, Jennifer Westfeldt is a smart writer, and happened to have made one of my favorite movies of the past couple of years, Friends With Kids. If you haven’t seen that movie, go do it as soon as you finish reading this because it’s perfect. The poster and synopsis for “Ira & Abby” reads like a generic romantic comedy, but being by Westfeldt I knew it would be smartly written one. Apparently, that was also the impression Tara Rasmus, the assistant beauty editor got. I’ll let her explain it.

“I think my husband and I are both still scarred from the time we watched Ira & Abby, which seemed to be a smart, NYC-centric flick in the Neflix rom-com section (it’s written by Jennifer Westfeldt, which is awesome). Instead of a breakup-fall-back-in-love story, it ended up being an extremely painful realistic tale of how marriages can go sour. Needless to say, it made both of us really stressed out, and we almost didn’t make it through the entire movie. That being said, it was also kind of awesome (girl-writer-power!), and I think everyone should see it. But only once. Now it’s an inside joke whenever we’re trolling the internet for a movie. ‘Remember Ira & Abby, and how it made us feel too many feelings?'”

Now, I realized two things from this entry. One: Jennifer Westfeldt really likes misdirection. Anyone who sees the trailer for Friends With Kids and has seen the movie knows that while it presents itself as a straight up comedy, there is a lot more to it than that. Two: I think we’ve all been in a situation where a movie brings up things we’d rather not think about. In mid 2011 I saw a trailer for a movie called Like Crazy which looked amazing. Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, Jennifer Lawrence… it looked amazing. When it came out in early October critics said it captured perfectly what it was like to be that in love, where you felt like it consumed you, and praised it universally. I’d never really been in a situation where I was in love and it was reciprocated, so I’d watch it as an observant. It never came to theaters here (downside of living in a smallish island), so I bought it when it came out on DVD, in March. I often buy movies but don’t watch them until I’m in the right mood to do it. So Like Crazy went unwatched for a while. The movie features the crumbling of a relationship when distance and absence take its toll on people. A couple of months went by and something unexpected happened; I developed a long distance relationship. And I fell in love. Big time. And the movie I had been looking forward to watching before was now a ticking time bomb on my shelf. Or at least that’s how I saw it.

I remember at one point I posted on Facebook how I wanted to see the movie but couldn’t bring myself to do it, along with the link to the trailer. The responses it got were intense. People talked about sobbing and being heartbroken by it. One girl was living away from home and decided to watch it upon me posting it, then later posted again how it was a huge mistake that left her devastated. Holy crap! This movie was basically giving my friend list PTSD just by being mentioned! Needless to say, I kept it in my shelf. Months passed, and my wonderful boyfriend left for almost a year on a Marine Expeditionary Unit. As I write this, it’s been over 6 months since we’ve seen each other and we have about 3 more to go. And about two months ago I saw the movie. I remember watching it and feeling relief because the relationship was not like ours. While away, their interactions were awkward and forced. Ours are always giddy and natural. Almost every day I wake up to find a message from him in my email inbox and every single time my heart jumps a little. I’m in love and I can’t help it. So I kept watching the movie, already feeling better about myself and my relationship because my boyfriend and I weren’t like the main characters. At one point the characters break up and start seeing other people. Jacob (Yelchin) starts seeing Sam, played by everybody’s girlfriend Jennifer Lawrence. Sam is sweet, fun, and has an easygoing relationship with Jacob. At one point, out of the blue, Anna (Jones) calls Jacob and asks him to marry her. And I was watching it calmly when all of a sudden I went HOLD THE FUCK UP. See, before my boyfriend went back to North Carolina he met up with his ex girlfriend. They’d talked about getting married when they were together, but ultimately she realized she couldn’t do long distance and didn’t want to move to NC because she wanted to go to New York and find herself in the city while she pursued writing. About two months after my boyfriend had been on the ship he emailed me that he didn’t tell me anything because it had happened on the second-to-last day he was on the island and didn’t wanna ruin our last memories together, but that his ex had asked him that when he got back from deployment he MARRY HER. Say what now? My first instinct was jealousy. I mean, sure, the email also stated that he turned her down and that it wasn’t going to happen, but at some point he wanted that. My second feeling was pure, unadulterated rage. THAT BITCH. She knows I’m dating him. She had her chance. It was specially adorable that at some point during that conversation he invited my boyfriend to go to a festival so he could meet up with her mom, and mentioned I could come along too. Don’t know if that was before or after she proposed to him, but it was a nice touch. Bring the girl I want to get rid of to this beautiful reunion where she’ll feel completely uncomfortable and out of place. I didn’t get mad at my boyfriend because he was right. If I’d known about the proposal beforehand, the night would’ve been sem-ruined, and my memories of it would have been tainted. The reason I’m mentioning this is at that moment I went “wait… what if I’m the Sam character in the equation, not Anna?”.

I’d like to tell you I became paranoid and freaked out, but I didn’t. Truth is, while I don’t trust that chick (seriously, posting on his wall, asking him where he is? there’s an inbox for that), While it would probably make for a more riveting story about how I overcame my relationship insecurities, the truth is I trust my guy. He tells me he’s crazy about me every single chance he gets and demonstrates it. A lot of people ask me if I don’t worry about him being faithful, or tell me that I impress them because they would never do that. Some people ask me out of genuine curiosity, some being spiteful (trying to make me doubt my man isn’t gonna make me come running to your penis, fella). The thing is, if I didn’t trust him, I wouldn’t be doing this because a relationship without trust isn’t one worth having. The movie didn’t have a happy ending, but it didn’t matter. We can have one.

However, if you still want a story about how a movie can make you feel too many feelings I’ll tell you about the time my high school boyfriend and I watched Million Dollar Baby. I picked it out thinking it was a boxing movie. Like Rocky, I told myself. It was a very silent car ride home.

Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 5.35.23 PM

I even tweeted about it.

I even tweeted about it.

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