Last night we had to drop off Kim in the city where she was meeting her camp friends. It was such a nice night, Dan and I decided to go see a movie. Dan wanted to see, “There will be Blood.” I, on the other hand, didn’t want to see a movie with the word blood in it. I wanted to see something pretty and uplifting.
“Let’s go see ‘The Diving Bell and the Butterfly’ instead,” I suggested, just as he was about to pay for the tickets.
“Instead of ‘There will be Blood’?”
“Yeah, I heard the Butterfly movie is great.”
“I heard the same thing, but I don’t think it’s great in the way you’re thinking.”
“Well, it’s got to be better than a movie about blood.”
“The Butterfly movie is playing all the way downtown, and I don’t even know what time. We’re here now, let’s just see this one.”
“Yeah okay. . .no. I can’t deal with the whole blood thing. Not while I’m on a diet. Let’s take a chance that we can still make the other movie.”
We arrived at the Angelika at 6:50 and low and behold the Butterfly movie was playing at seven.
We ordered two coffees and walked into the theater. As a person with a very short attention span, I prefer trailers to actual movies, and was so excited that we actually got there on time for the previews, I hastily took a seat behind a couple that was making out. Other people kissing disgusts me in a way that I can’t possibly explain. I’d rather watch two people go to the bathroom or eat worms.
So there I am, trying not to look at the people in front of me and still see the screen, when the coming attractions start. For some reason, none of the movies they were promoting seemed to have any sort of plot. There was one about a girl who used caramel to wax eyebrows, and two others that were equally mysterious. I was beginning to worry that perhaps I was too old and confused for the art film world.
And then came the butterfly movie. I don’t want to ruin it for you, but suffice to say it wasn’t uplifting in the traditional sense. The part that wasn’t uplifting began when we were forced to watch the main character’s eye get sewn up. The way the director succeeded in putting you inside the character’s body was to actually put the camera in the guy’s eye. I know that sounds odd but it was quite spectacular. Imagine watching your eye get sewn up. Not while looking in a mirror, but rather by seeing the tiny sliver of light through the part that hasn’t been stitched up yet. Slowly your vision disappears as you watch the stitches appear, one after the other, closing your eye.
Next you hear him say, “No! Please! Please don’t sew up my eye.” And you realize, of course, that no one can hear him. He’s perfectly lucid despite the fact that he’s mute and paralyzed from head to toe. The only thing he can do is see out of one eye, think and hear. He can’t talk or move a muscle. Remember that. Because here comes the tricky part. The guy writes a book in this condition. If you can figure out how such a thing could be done and have no interest in how the human mind can miraculously free itself under the most locked up condition, don’t bother to go see it. You’ll be bored to death. But, if you’re like me, and can’t even function if you get a paper cut, then you should see it –if only to know that there is always the possibility to achieve greatness, to discover beauty in ways I promise you’ve never imagined and to experience the kind of profound love that most people no longer believe in—even if your mouth is hanging to one side. But you know, whatever. It’s totally up to you. There are other movies to see. Like the blood one. I heard that’s very good too.