Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Gut wrenchers

Back in '82 I went to see Shoot the Moon in Endicott. Endicott was then a beautiful small town, dominated by IBM, and the movie theater on the main drag was the best in the Binghamton area. Now, Endicott is a shell, IBM long gone.

Back to the movie. I loved Albert Finney, Diane Keaton even more so. The film itself seemed innocuous enough - look at the poster. Nothing to fear here, right? But Shoot the Moon is devastating. Finney and Keaton fall apart, their marriage ending painfully. First, (I'm going from memory here) Finney is in charge - he's having an affair, life is good for him. Then Keaton finds someone and it drives Albert crazy, at times violently. I was around 20 then and had no idea of the depth of love and pain a relationship could hold, but the movie knocked me for a loop. I often wonder what chord it struck, because afterwards, behind the wheel of my Chevy Monza, I started bawling hysterically. Hmmm.

Last week I saw Revolutionary Road. Now, I'm in my mid-40's and, while Leo and Kate are much younger, I can completely relate to their marital ups and downs. Now, Karen and I have been married for almost 23 years, and all is wonderful, truly, but like all couples we've had our down points. That's in the interest of full disclosure lest someone think I'm trying to equate the Katz' with the movie couple. There are some eerie similarities. The on-screen duo fights with the desire to leave an unhappy life and start to really live. When we picked up and moved to Cooperstown almost 6 years to the date of this posting, we didn't realize, except through the reactions of our friends how brave it was.

Now, in 2009, I know the peaks and valleys a marriage can travel through, the joyous moments and the cruel things two people in love can say to each other. But I didn't cry after this one. Hmmm. I think that, older now, I know how my story has turned out - a happy ending and the guts to leave a dissatisfied life.

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