I haven't been inside a movie theater in over two years. I was just musing that, after two vaccines and two boosters, I'd maybe possibly go sometime in the indeterminate future, if the right film came along. Wilmette Bureau Chief Caren Jeskey has once again beaten me to the punch. Her Saturday report:
By Caren Jeskey
"Everything Everywhere All at Once" at the Davis Theater had me stifling sobs, just as the play "Spring Awakening" at Porchlight did last week. The first hour of the film was chaotic and jarring, absurd, bizarre and sometimes violent. It brought to light the disjointed, incomplete existence many of us are feeling.
I was tempted to walk out. I had reserved seats in the middle of the theater away from everyone else in a row all its own, and was double masked for my third movie of COVID. I was with a friend who did not seem to want to run out of the theater screaming, like I did. So I stuck it out.three of the characters are related in real life. "Schitt’s Creek" became an all time favorite.
The show turned out to be a gift to all who made it through the beginning to be rewarded with convulsing belly laughs. It was also poignant, and showed how family ties can be the strongest bond of all, despite the difficulties of maintaining a sense of oneself amongst those who know you best.
The first hour of chaos in "Everything Everywhere..." sets the stage for one of the sweetest emotional releases I’ve been led to via cinema. It gave light to the fractured parts of ourselves; the good, the bad, and the ugly. The movie is a vessel for connection. It had me feeling less alone when the characters erred and then found their ways back to themselves. It provided a visceral experience of battling with oneself and one’s family of origin with all of the ambivalence and cognitive dissonance that entails. It ultimately reminded us that we are all in this human existence together at this precarious time. The movie shows that vulnerability with those we love can provide a window into salvation.
When I say salvation, I mean the dictionary definition: “Preservation or deliverance from harm, ruin, or loss.” Being human intrinsically comes with the inevitably of being affected by each of these three things. We are harmed multiple times in our lifetimes, either physically, psychologically, or emotionally. Perhaps all three, just the perils of being human.
When the roller coaster experience ended, we stumbled out of the movie, with me wiping tears into my sleeve. We decided to have dinner at a local establishment. A young woman who was sitting at the bar paid me a compliment. “You’re so skinny.” Well, that got my attention, seeing as I concur with a 20 year old client who said to me this week, "I feel old and decrepit."I quickly realized why she approached me. She was suffering. Her two year old child had just been removed by DCFS. She told me her story, and there was nothing I could say. I hugged her, and she cried.
The next day I reached out and found three references for attorneys who specialize in such cases, and sent them to her.
In a Zoom staff meeting a few days later everything went wrong. The internet was intermittently failing for part of the time, someone was recovering from an uncomfortable medical procedure, and a colleague didn’t realize that she was making quite the ruckus into our speakers with her movings about.
It was a mess. It reminded me of the first hour of the movie. Things were falling apart, but the ultimate goal was achieved. After things settled down, in the last ten minutes we looked into each others’ faces with warm, reassuring smiles. These days the best we can do is find those moments where we can pretend everything is OK.