Monday, 25 January 2010

Help yourself

I heard this song, recently, in a film called Up in the Air. You may have heard of it. It stars George Clooney and has received an awful lot of pre-Oscar hype.

I must admit to being a little disenchanted with the film. It felt confused as to the sort of message it wanted to convey. At times it seemed to fetishise the lifestyle of the travelling batchelor; at others, critique it. Parts of the film felt dreary and overstretched. Sometimes it sagged to reveal a big concaving nothingness.

But then there were moments of hope; of light; of sweetness. Some might find those bits the worst bits of the film - I know the film critic, Mark Kermode, did.

But I couldn't help but get drawn into those parts the most. The wedding scene, when George Clooney's character dances with his female friend... I won't divulge plot spoilers, but there was so much aching, hesitancy, so much fear of 'letting go' and showing a side of himself he had hitherto hidden. A straining for intimacy, a foraging for connection - despite one's best efforts. It underpinned the entire passage, and left me with a lump in my throat.

All this is done with no dialogue. Just the sound of the music and a few askance glances, a few fumblings of hands.

I think I find the song beautiful because I find ascension beautiful; triumph beautiful. We've all been there. Feeling lonely and vulnerable and scared to expose ourselves. Can there be anything more beautiful than showing a secret part of ourselves and then finding it accepted?

As the song goes..."We believe in everything that you can do / If you could only lay down your mind".

It may be cheesy, but I adore it. Take it away, Sad Brad Smith:

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