Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Traumas: Out of Time

"Anxiety, nightmares, and a nervous breakdown.  There's only so many traumas a person a can withstand before they take to the streets and start screaming."  

When the similarities between your life and onscreen portrayals of heartache combined with mental illness wax too familiar you begin to ask what's going on.  Personally, I did a double take and reassessed just what type of film I'm living in here: A Painful/Enlightening Romance Comedy (Silver Linings Playbook) or a Tragedy (Blue Jasmine).  Now, that is an important distinction, my Friends.  Believe me. Because here's the deal, Guys: David Russell's Tiffany Maxwell, a character who ends up happy and in love in Silver Linings Playbook, is not norm.  No, that isn't what usually happens to people with fucked up personal lives and a severe mood disorder.  Instead, the reality is much closer to Woody Allen's ending of Blue Jasmine, a film in which Cate Blanchett, Jasmine, is out of options.  In the final scene, she sits alone on a street corner talking to herself.  She is officially out of time both literally and figuratively.  Nothing is going to work her.  She ruined or squandered all her options.  The scene harkens back to Elia Kazan's final scenes  of Streetcar  Named Desire when a physically and mentally broken Vivien Leigh admits: "I've always had to depend on the kindness of strangers."  So what film am I in? I dunno.  Let's be realistic.  We don't live in films.  Our lives are not that poetic.  We live and die and the world spins on.  But I can admit that Russell, Allen, and Kazan's films bring me both comfort and heartache.  Comfort because I see a similarity in experience I am often bereft of otherwise.  And heartache because if I'm honest I look at my happy, well adjusted friends with their happy well adjusted relationships and want to cry.  I think I'm out of time...and "for some reason, my Xanax isn't working."

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