After a long arduous, and often tedious, as well as thankless day of work, I usually try to get my sweat on by strapping on my always eager-beaver, running shoes, or I try and plan to attend a hybrid Spin class of some sort. If excercise isn’t possible, because some nights I just get home too late, or the weather is bad, and as as awful as that fact is, there are some nights when a good, healthy-sweaty just isn’t possible. If excercise isn’t possible, I don’t surrender to my couch, channel changer at my finger tips; television blaring – noooo, that actually winds me up, not down. Instead, I spend some time with all the felines in my life, while somthing delicious simmers to perfection in the kitchen.
Dishes done, and the evening seems to get quieter. You’ll find me slipping into the pages of a book, or writing something; anything just so I’m stoking the creative mind juices. On nights when my eyes are simply too tired, and my brain is fried, then I hear the seductive song of film speaking a hair louder than the radio in the kitchen that is constantly in an NPR mood. Film’s song beckons me to watch something that hasn’t already been viewed, critiqued and analyzed.
This week, the film siren lured me to watch, The Door in the Floor, which stars Jeff Bridges, Kim Bassinger, and Jon Foster. Jeff Bridges performance is nothing less than outstanding. This film is based on the novel, A Widow for a Year, which was written by John Irving.
The Irving book, which I’ve ordered, and plan to sink into once it gets here, was quite a terrific movie. So, not only had I never read the book (tsk-tsk), but somehow I’d missed the film too. There aren’t too many films, or books for that matter, that get by me. I did a little google searching of this film when I awoke the next morning, still dusting off the remants of its powerful emotional residue. And that for me is a good indicator of a very good film. I have to give Netflix credit here too, because it was their recommendation, based on my film watching habits that provided me with this must see film. The Door in the Floor was a gem.
Compelled as to why this film snuck under my film watching radar, I did a little google search, and learned that the highest probably reason I never saw this flick before now, is because it was up-staged by one of my all-time favorite films, Sideways. Both Paul Giamatti and Jeff Bridges were nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for best male lead, and Paul won. So, this is why this film fell through my radar. I was simpl in love with the film Sideways - this may not make any sense to anyone else, but it makes perfect sense to me. I somehow feel justified.
The Door in the Floor portrays how one couple deals with, or probably more accurately, doesn’t deal with a tragedy, and the continued pain that ensues their lives, and the lives of those that get close to them. I don’t want to give too much away here about the film, but I do want to mention that it reminded me of a book I read some 15+ years ago called, Ladder of Years, by Anne Tyler.
I was in a book club, and Ladder of Years was the read of the month. To quickly summarize, this book is about a woman that one day packs a suitcase and walks away from her husband and their two teen-age children. This wasn’t a story about abuse; more like neglect. The woman in the story does say that she’s grown tired of feeling unappreciated. And I remember having difficulty empathizing with the main character when reading this story - “she’s leaving because of that?”
I also remember the response from most of the women in the book club when it came to discussing the book. And at that time, they were older than me, and settled into marriages that provided them with a great deal of financial security, even if their marriages weren’t hearts and flowers. They all empathized with the character and said, “sometimes you just want to walk away for awhile, but come back.” I scratched my head, and still couldn’t quite comprehend why someone that had a family, and a beautiful home would just walk out of it. And can you really just walk away, and expect to saunter back…later? I worred about what this woman’s life would be like if she did return to the life she walked out on. Maybe my lack of empathy came from the fact that I was recently divorce; coming out of a really bad marriage, and working so hard everyday – maybe I was a bit envious of this woman’s life, and thought..hell, what’s a little neglect…she doesn’t have to struggle financially. I suppose at that time, I felt that I had the weight of the world on my 3o-something, year-old shoulders.
It wasn’t until some years later that I had an epiphany, of sorts, and finally understood why the woman in this story packed up and left her life. You see, I kept inserting my circumstances into her life, instead of really empathizing with who she was; her plight; her troubles. Part of the reason this story sticks with me after all these years is because I marinated in my reaction to it, and the response of the others readers in our book club. I think this is when I learned the fine art of telling your mind to shut-up, and stop questioning, or finding fault with something, or someone else because it rubs your fur a different way. It’s okay to just be, so you can be more open to other experiences.
The reason I mention Ladder of Years to you, is because the film, The Door in the Floor is that kinda movie: you simply must have an open mind, so your heart can fully appreciate the film’s value. Be open; go rent it, and let me know your reaction.