Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Stirred up for Slumdog

I watched the movie "Slumdog Millionaire" last night, finally, after a ton of amazing reviews from friends and of course, the Oscar wins.

It totally held my attention and like any good movie, made me think.

There were so many different issues going on that I was trying to process and think about for hours afterwards. Of course there were the images of the extreme poverty, the child exploitation, the cruelty and heartlessness.

But there was also a beautiful, heartbreaking love story. And it turns out that I've discovered I'm a sucker for a good romantic tale.

Most of the my life I would have said, and wholly believed, that I was the least romantic person out there. I was brought up in an environment of two divorces and well, let's just say, less than fairy tale romance conditions. Looking around me, I didn't see a lot of love stories that came true. So, cynically, I grew to loathe the whole "believing in everlasting, soul mate, love." I would have said I was more realistic than that. More pragmatic.

Well, as time marches on, I've learned that not only do I love seeing that kind of human devotion played out in books and on the big screen, I seek it out! But maybe that's also because of that internal cynicism. If it doesn't exist in real life, than what better way to experience it than to immerse myself in it for a few hours at least. It's the whole "living it vicariously" that is the draw.

The love story between Jamal and Latika is a purely unconditional one. Both characters sacrifice for the other in one way or another, to ensure the other is safe or just survives. And yet, throughout their lifetimes, they continue to seek each other out and remain constant in their care and concern and love for each other. That, to me, is to truly be loved wholly. They cannot seem to be ripped apart, their feelings cannot be abased, even in horrible situations and conditions. They never "give up" on each other.

In real life, and I'm referring to cushy, easy circumstances, many marriages and love stories fall apart in a matter of days, weeks, months, years. And these are lived without really ever being tested. You just rarely hear about the "great love" that has lasted throughout eternity. And maybe that's why we are drawn to such epic tales from the beginning of time forward.

I was in tears at the end of Slumdog. It's the classic "happily ever after" ending. I was touched by the courage and conviction of Jamal's character. I was touched by the lifetime love between he and Latika. It fulfilled my "true love conquers all" inner psychological needs. And yet the cynic in me lives on.

Only in the movies.

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