I'm a movie buff. I'd rather see the movie than read the book.
It's a time thing. A movie is over in two hours. A book takes a week, or six months. I'm still only halfway through a John Grisham book I started in October. And it's a good book. What I can remember.
My days have many interruptions, so I'm better off viewing a story from start to finish in one chunk. I can get emotionally invested, and the story stays with me. I like that.
What is puzzling to me is that I have a fondness for heart-wrenching movies. Not that I don't enjoy positive, feel-good movies. I like those too. But, the movies I don't mind seeing repeatedly are films with tragic story lines/endings.
They make my heart ache and my eyes weep. I like that. It's weird, and I don't get it, but there you have it.
These are my three favorite heart-wrenchers.
1. Sophie's Choice
This is the most tragic of the three, because the choice Sophie is forced to make is so unfathomable. But, Meryl Streep is so brilliant as a concentration camp survivor, you can't look away. She is breath-taking, and your heart bleeds for her. Kevin Kline is equally good as a disturbed, but charming schizophrenic. This movie will stay with you forever.
2. Legends of the Fall
This is a sweeping, beautifully scenic film about three grown brothers and their love for the same woman. Julia Ormond is never more exquisite. Anthony Hopkins is, as always, commanding. As Tristan, Brad Pitt gives his best performance ever. And this is where I discovered, and fell in love with, Aidan Quinn.
3. Phantom of the Opera
Nothing is as powerful as the stage production, but the movie comes close. Because Andrew Lloyd Webber produced the film, the intrigue and the enchantment transfer well. Emmy Rossum as Christine is lovely, her voice perfect. Gerard Butler is a grittier Phantom than Michael Crawford, but stirs in me the same sympathy and terror.
My heart grieves for the Phantom. He has been so abused, and, in turn, has learned only to hate, except for Christine. Whom he will never have.
I can't stand it.
When watching these films, there is a silly part of me that thinks, maybe this time, it will end differently. What would it look like if it ended differently?
I'll never know because the outcomes are in the can; the characters are doomed to make the same choices. I know the heartache is coming.
I watch anyway, because I love the characters. I want them to know they are not alone in their suffering.
I'm right there, sniffling, on the other side of the screen.