The Big Chill
is one of my favorite ‘80s movies. I loved it because it was the first movie that rocked a soundtrack–real '60s music the cast of friends in the story (now in their thirties) listened to in college. I loved the dark humor and LOL one-liners from the likes of Jeff Goldblum and Mary Kay Place. If you haven’t seen TBC, the movie opens as the friends gather for the funeral of a member of the group who’s inexplicably committed suicide. All of them end up staying the weekend at the home of main characters Glenn Close and (the divine) Kevin Kline, where they come to terms with the loss of their friend and straighten out the misconceptions about their lives.
But whenever I’ve mentioned TBC to someone, I’ve heard either, “Oh, I loved that movie!” Or, “I hated it. It was the most depressing movie ever!”
Why this polarity? Because it’s natural. Though humans are wired for story, we experience an author or screenwriter’s work through the filter of our own lives. Our memories and experiences affect our feelings about a story. We either relate to the work and root for the characters or we don’t.
What book have you read most recently? Was it a positive experience? Did you relate to the characters and story, hanging on every word? Did you DNF it? (Did not finish.) Or did you plod through, wondering what everyone else thought was so great about it?
I just finished Jennifer Weiner’s That Summer. Ripped from recent headlines, it’s the story of a woman in her thirties, who as a teenager, was raped by a prep school boy on Cape Cod one summer. She still grapples with the trauma she never revealed. Then she befriends a woman whose husband played a part in what happened all those years ago, though neither woman knows it. The friends bond in revenge and turn the man’s world upside down.
I didn’t love the book. But its theme relates to the “me too” movement. The filter through which I experienced the novel was formed by some unbelievable things said to me by male colleagues in the eighties. Things I didn’t tell anyone at the time but wish I had.
When you read your next book, think about how your filter influences your experience. I’d love to hear about it.
It finally caught up with me today. Why? Only two months ago, we hadn’t considered moving from Virginia to South Carolina (just because we could.) Only one month ago, we patched, painted, then sold our house in three days. Two weeks ago, we packed, moved, rented an apartment, unpacked, and got settled. One week ago, we found the perfect house, bid just the right contract, and won it the next day.
Mirabelle at twelve has had some adjustment-to-apartment-living issues. But she’s rallying and is jumping hurdles in the parking garage! Just wait until we tell her we’re moving again. But in her whole life, she’s never been out without a leash. We’ve never had a fenced yard and she even tries to chase cars while leashed. But guess what? Our new house has a fenced yard! We’re so curious to see how she reacts and excited to watch her run around unencumbered.