Wednesday, 27 February 2013

#One Week - Winter '13 - English Beauty

The other week I watched one of my favourite films, American Beauty. It doesn't matter how many times I watch this film, it always has the same impact on me. I remember, aged twenty-nine, sitting in the darkness of the Barbican theatre with my best friend, H, profoundly captivated by one of the most beautiful scenes in cinema.

It's the scene where Ricky, the compulsive film diarist, shows Janey - his new girlfriend - the most perfect thing he's ever seen; a plastic bag dancing in the wind, whirling amidst tossing leaves.

Every time I watch this moment, my soul both sings and cries. It's actually hard to describe the way this scene makes me feel, but the combination of words and music lifts me from the mundane into the very heart of truth. And there are always tears. Always.

And it's the scene where Ricky's character is transformed from superficial weirdo into poetic observer of life....


....and his words are so sublimely compelling;
"It was one of those days, when it's a minute away from snowing. And there was this electricity in the air. You could almost hear it. And this bag was just .... dancing ....with me. Like a little kid begging me to play with it. For fifteen minutes. That was the day when I realised that there was this .... entire life.... behind things. And this incredibly benevolent force who wanted me to know that there was no reason to be afraid. Ever.
Sometimes there is so much .... beauty .... in the world. It's like I can't take it. And my heart is just going to cave in."

Sometimes, I can't contain the grace that lies inside.

Sometimes, it's so unbearably beautiful, it's painful.

Do I deserve her?

The way she puckers her mouth against my cheek. The way her arms wrap around my neck like I'm the last person on earth. The way her eyes shine at my smile. How she forgives my mistakes. How she trusts everything I say and do. How she's so happy I'm her mum.

My English Beauty. Her love releases me and kills me at the same time.

Then I remember to breathe and savour every precious drop.
"Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once and it's too much. My heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst. And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold onto it. And then it flows through me, like rain. And I can't feel anything but gratitude."   
Lester Burnham's final thoughts - American Beauty. 
And here is the plastic bag scene I love so much...


This is the fourth day of the seasonal linky One Week. Until Friday, I'll be posting a photograph(s) and a few words that diarises and distills my experience of autumn'12. Take a peep at the details here. You can join in for one, two ... or the full five days. And don't forget to add #oneweek on Twitter, and comment on each others posts...


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27 comments:

  1. I love that film and that scene as well, the music is so haunting and beautiful. The way you write about little A is from so deep within it made my heartache, like I could feel your love for her. Gorgeous post. I'm feeling inspired. I might surprise you yet. xx

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    1. Thank you very much! American Beauty is so great on many levels. Oh yes! Please surprise me! X.

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  2. You deserve everything. She is wonderful and so are you - neither of you deserve no less. I haven't seen this film yet, but it is on my 'want to see one day' list. You have just bumped it up and now I'll never be able to watch it without thinking of you and Little A. Superb series Sarah, as always. Really enjoying it, thank you XX

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    1. I can't recommend American Beauty highly enough - treat yourself to a copy! A great story and really rich characters. Thank you so much. X.

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  3. Stunning post, almost lost for words!

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  4. Did you hear the radio 4 documentary on AmericanBeauty last week? It was part of a series called 'and the Oscar goes to...'

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    1. Thank you very much .... and no, I didn't hear the documentary - maybe I can try and download it!

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  5. I do love when a movie touches my soul, I have a couple that have scenes I wait for, almost as though I'm watching it for the first time.

    I love the picture of little A warming her toes at that delicious fire.

    Like you, I do ask myself if I deserve my girls, deserve the kisses, smiles, hugs and devotion they lavish upon me. You know what Sarah, we very much do deserve it, deserve them. We helped to create them and a little part of what they give to us, they got from us.

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    1. There are some films which give you such a sigh of satisfaction. The picture of Little A and the fire is lovely isn't it? Thank you for your lovely comment, and so true 'little part of what they give to us, they got from us.'

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  6. Life is so beautiful and precious. Sometimes hard to hold on to. Treasure every moment x.

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    1. Lovely comment - I will - thank you. X.

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  7. Oh you have given me goose bumps. Love this film and soundtrack. Your words of gratitude for your daughter, and for life, are so poignant. Sometimes we all need to remember to breathe, relax and just be present in the moment.

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    1. I really love this film - and I just love the character of Ricky Fitts. And I should heed my words in this post - to chill and be (with a glass of wine)!

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  8. That movie is one of my top favourites and that is also my favourite scene. A beautifully written piece treasured for the love of your daughter. How special it is to have the love of children. If you haven't seen the movie garden state, find it. It's got the most awesome scene when they're wearing plastic bag raincoats. I think you'd appreciate it too. amazing to read someone who thinks like me xx

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    1. It just so happens I have seen Garden State - thought it was a great movie, and I can remember that scene - must watch it again! Great know I have readers who appreciate the same things as me! X.

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  9. Ooh, I so know what you mean! Sometimes its just too much. Precious little people.

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    1. .... Sometimes it is too much. Very, very precious little people.

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  10. You have given me shivers... And yes you do deserve her, as perfect as she is - for without you she would be someone else x

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    1. Would you like a warm blanket? ;o) .... I had to reread your line 'for without you, she would be someone else' - it just went deeper and deeper... X

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  11. I love the little polly flinders look of your daughter, warming her toes!

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    1. She really enjoyed sitting in front of that fire - it was Christmas day!

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  12. ive only seen that film once and i think i missed a lot of it, i love that quote!

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    1. Well may I suggest you watch it again? :o) It's fab. And that quote rocks doesn't it?

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  13. Oh, this is such a beautiful post, you clever, eloquent lady x

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    1. Thank you - inspired by a really great film! X.

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  14. I've not seen the film, but after reading this I will certainly watch it.
    Wonderful post and I simply love the photo of Little A by the fire. Very evocative. x

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    1. Oh MP ... I highly recommend it. It's a lovely shot isn't it - love the expression on her face. X.

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