In Which I Fill my Free Time with Books and Movies

I went to the library on Monday. First of all, I walked there, and that’s about a one mile walk downhill. (Which means the way back is one mile uphill. Oof.) Second of all, it means I fixed my PIN and can now hold and reserve books, and that makes me happy on many different levels. Free books! Yay! I have a book on hold that I need to pick up before the 1st. Hoping to get there today at some point. Anyway…

I checked out The Red and the Black by Stendhal, as well as The Strangeness of Beauty by Lydia Minatoya. Began reading Stendhal, which is fun because it was part of a customized recommendation list that the Super Ninja put together. It’s a nice little push to get some extensive summer reading done. Like I’ve mentioned before, this “lazy-smart” thing has got to go; I have a lot of reading to catch my nerdy self up on. Not to mention that since probably high school, 99% of my reading has been purely academic. That probably explains why I have a hard time referencing anything other than personal experience or textbook answers for questions Teh Ninja has asked.

Additionally, with all this spare time, I’ve decided to get some movie-watching in. So far, I’ve conquered Forrest Gump, Flannel Pajamas, and Star Wars Episode IV. Forrest Gump was great, and I’m glad I can no longer say, “I’ve never seen it before.” However, I already wrote about that movie, so… y’know.

Flannel Pajamas was interesting. It was basically a movie that says, “Here. Watch this relationship develop from the day these two kiddos meet.” It’s quite honest, and as another reviewer said, the director never seems to judge his characters for what they do. There aren’t any frills in the movie, a few nude scenes, but it’s quite bare (no pun intended). Even the background music is sparse. It forces you to focus on the relational development between the lead characters.

SPOILER ALERT: I will tell you what happens in just a few lines.

That said, here are some of my take-away comments on the movie.

I understand that the movie is trying to show the other side of “happily ever after.” Most movies would only follow from the meeting until the happy wedding day. The wedding in this movie happens about an hour into the film, so I could tell that, obviously, more things were going to happen. Also, I was warned ahead of time that it dealt with the unpleasant sides of relationships.

Well, in the end, the lead characters separate. Not a surprise to me.

Why?

They don’t communicate.

In the beginning, there is a scene where Nicole and Stuart are trying to be absurdly honest with each other. I actually do the same thing. But, throughout the movie, they rarely seem to go deep into conversation until it’s too late, until their relationship has already stagnated and begun to deteriorate. They don’t talk about their pasts or their baggage; they are blind to the person behind the facade.

Instead of recognizing what’s going on and remedying it, Nicole shuts herself off from Stuart. He does everything in his power to demonstrate he loves her– but he doesn’t communicate. Nicole calls him out and says he never listens, which implies he only talks. And that’s not communication.

Of course that relationship won’t work. If the information exchange isn’t working (or in this case, pretty much nonexistent), how will their feelings  grow or develop positively? I know that for me, I need to constantly be learning about someone, by sharing thoughts, or going out and doing something new and different, in order to see sides of that person I’ve never seen before. However, I can’t say that I haven’t been in relationships with bad communication and bad sharing; sure, they were wonderful in the beginning, but without development, they stagnated, and they eventually ended.

I guess the communication student in me was bothered the most. Communication isn’t a magic remedy for every relationship, but it’s a huge factor for me in my love life. So naturally, I’d pick that out in the movie.

On the plus side, the movie never showed the couple looking for love (or lust) outside the marriage. I appreciated that. People in troubled relationships don’t automatically rush off to cheat on each other, I think. It’s sensational, after all, which means it makes good television or theater.

So what do I take away from this, after picking apart what went wrong? Well, I can tell you that it reaffirmed my already-existing beliefs. Successful couples fall in love over and over again, with the persons they each become. It takes effort and determination for a relationship to work, too.

And for Pete’s sake, it takes communication.

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3 thoughts on “In Which I Fill my Free Time with Books and Movies

  1. fictionandsanity says:

    Honestly it’s like we talked about earlier. Communication and Determination are the keys to making a relationship work. If you have those two things its *almost* impossible to not succeed.

    I am jealous of your library card and all of your book reading fun times. I’ve been making an attempt at more intelligent reading lately, and would love some suggestions.

    • Ardith says:

      There are, of course, other factors, but for us those two are definitely the stand-out qualities. However, it would be unfair to say that I’m always an outstanding communicator. Being a communication student is much different than actually trying to practice what I preach, ha ha.

      Well, off the top of my head, I would actually suggest _Dreams from My Father_ by Barack Obama, and _Unaccustomed Earth_ by Jhumpa Lahiri. I own the latter so I could bring that over when I’m home this weekend; it’s a collection of several short stories and a not-so-short story. I could also lend you _Jitterbug Perfume_ by Tom Robbins; Super Ninja suggested that book to me, and it’s pretty fun.

      • fictionandsanity says:

        All your books are belong to me.

        It’s not to say that communication is easy. It isn’t. I think as long as you work at it… The husband and I had to learn an entirely new form of communication differently than how we communicated with our friends and family. We came from two very different backgrounds. We still have trouble, but we work at it.

        Most of it is me. lol. I’m bossy.

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