June 1st, 2005

hedwig (by radiocure)

books: sisterhood

Just finished The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants

Critique:
A little inconsistent, but wonderful. I say a little inconsistent because the thread of the novel seems to get lost when the individual stories heat up. I can see why it's being made into a movie; some of the scenes might as well be scripted the way they are written. Does it make sense to say that parts of it are written like a movie? all heavy on visual stimulus. I'm surprised by some of the character's actions, but not so much as to say that they behaved out of character. Maybe I'm just tired, but these characters seem flawlessly crafted, and I can't wait to get the next book when it comes in at the library.

Response:
The book feels inconsistent when the friendship gets lost in the details of each girl's individual story, but the more I think about it, the more I see it as an analog to life. Sometimes, I do get so caught in personal details I forget to reach out to my friends. Hell, I'm great at losing the thread of the lives of my friends, but that's a story I've already told. Each girl is amazing, with unique character traits that draw me to each of them. Carmen pulls me the most, probably because I spent most of the book identifying with her more than the other girls. In retrospect, I see myself in all of them, and I think that's the point. Each girl has a pretty strongly defined role in the book, and has to face the shadow side of her personality traits as well as the benefits provided.

You can't read this book and not think about the nature of friendship. I treasure the people that I've had this strong of a relationship with, even those who have drifted out of my life. At first, I wanted to bash the book for the parts where the girls channel the personality traits of their friends in needed situations, but then I realized that I do this all the time, just not consciously. I never say, "oh golly, why can't I be witty like Cynthia right now" or "Geez, Erin's grace under fire would sure come in handy" I just emulate worthy behavior I've witnessed, without the need for citation of original source. I'm a better person for the good friends I have and have had in my life. Sometimes I struggle with feeling weak when I imitate a friend's laudable behavior instead of finding an original solution to an unoriginal problem, and I'm going to ask Mastor Creator for help with that. A person once told me (well, it was Kim Voisin, and the jury is still out on whether she's actually human) that the best of us are borrowers and thieves, meaning that you use what works without shame. I'm going to try to believe that's true.

good night, friends. Pants may not connect us, but know that I wish for you everything that I can give you and more.
hedwig (by radiocure)

movies: sisterhood

Looked up showtimes for the movie today, and since it was possible to hit a showing without keeping me out too late or causing me to rush from work, I decided that it was fated, even though it meant going by myself. Just as the girls had to face some parts of their journey alone, I would go alone to see how their journey played out hollywood style.

Critique:
Very well done. Some pretty major plot tweaks that made for a more tightly crafted narrative. My only dissappointment was Bridget; my take on the situation is that she has been recharacterized and given a different motivation for her behavior, changing from a unique and powerful motivation (mental illness), to a familiar and bland motivation (grief). In typical fashion, scenes that I expected to be phenomenal translations from the text failed to truly impress me, their greatness eclipsed by my own expectations (I think I should just start calling this thing I do in movies the Mr Holland's Opus Effect-MHOE).

Response (which should probably actually be Reflection, but for the sake of parallelism):
Just past the exposition part of the film, I was prepared to list characterization as a whole as a weakness, as I felt that all the characters failed to shine as brightly as their inner drama painted them in the book. I then realized that this isn't a weakness of the film, it's the nature of humanity. Speaking for myself and assuming that my conclusion generalizes to the whole, I feel like a large purpose of life, possibly life's biggest purpose, is the discovering of my true inner beauty and bringing it to the surface to share it with the rest of the world. That's it, the secret of life. Forget 42. I've commented in the past about my favorite quote, by the artist/author Sabrina Ward Harrison, "If you're not yourself, who will be?" and talked about my feelings of obligation to be the truest me I can be. Here's a movie that screams that belief in every scene.

I hereby refuse to shrink from my life's purpose like I recoil from hearing my voice on a recording. I will continue to refine that voice until it accurately reflects who I am at my core, even if it takes the rest of this life, or well into the next one or one-thousand lives. There's no other purpose worth pursuing.

Who's with me?