Thursday, April 12, 2007

love letters, dammit

I first watched the movie Love Letters around seven years ago, more or less. I found it during one of the aimless channel-flipping exercises - the ones that end in you stopping for five minutes at something that seems mildly interesting; and then ending up being completely hooked even though you've missed the beginning and you have no idea what you've missed so far and you have to pick things up as you go along.
That happened to me with Finder's Fee, too. :) Surprises are better.

Now I never knew what the movie was called, and I had no idea who the actors were, and the movie more or less drifted away from the instant recall part of my brain. There was one scene from the movie, though, that I incorporated into my list of near-perfect celluloid moments - a scene where our (for lack of a better word) hero walks away from our (ditto) heroine, forever, you think, forever and ever no! but then, he stops at the doorway, turns around and comes right back and kisses her, oh.
I remembered that scene. I still remember it, though the background is white and the other people in the room are grey and the edges are fuzzy and our hero looks more like James Woods than Steven Weber. Laura Linney's still Laura Linney, though.

Love Letters started out as a play. A play by A.R. Gurney that was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. There's a bit of trivia for you! Put it in your pipe and smoke it. I found this out when I went to watch it. Love Letters, by Evam. Here's the synopsis, for people who care:

    The play centers on two characters, Melissa Gardner and Andrew Makepiece Ladd III. Using the epistolary form sometimes found in novels, they sit side by side at tables and read the correspondence - in which they discuss their hopes and ambitions, dreams and disappointments, and victories and defeats - that has passed between them throughout their lives. It is only at the end that they both realize they were really love letters at their core.
It was halfway through the first half that I realized that I knew this script. I knew these words, I knew this story. And Boom, like that, I remembered.
Love Letters is better as a play.
Without attendant explanation with other characters and detail and setting. Because in essence the story is about letters more than about people. A love story about Love Letters. How could I not love it?
One can see how much better it can be, though. One can imagine the actors doing less, moving less, distracting less. One of the things I loved most about the play was the expression on the face of the person reading the letter as the person who wrote it told the audience what was in it. What else is in a letter but the hope that the person on the other side reads it as you want them to read it, sees the things you've sent them, packaged in your words, your heart to theirs?
Perhaps I love the story so much because letters have always been my way of letting people into my heart.
But then who writes letters any more anyway?

(First begun 22/2/07 8:48 AM. As a letter to someone. How perfectly ironic.)

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