Just finished watching “Being Julia.”
I’ve had a hard time finding movies that I really like lately. Most of the acting is so bland and I found myself counting the minutes until the film is over. Not tonite, though.
Perhaps the film just struck a chord because I’m facing my own aging. That I know how Julia felt when she thought her young lover adored her. The giddy joy that came from that feeling. And then the horror of knowing that he had deceived her, had used her, didn’t love her.
I may not be an aged theater star. But tonite I felt like one. I was there with Julia when she felt the thrill of infatuation, as she glowed under the ardor of her young beau. My throat felt tight when I realized Tom’s true aims and as I ached with Julia over the same realization.
Like her, I know what it’s like to ‘act’—to play a proscribed role to satisfy others’ expectations or to manipulate the people around me in ways that will protect me from pain. Like Julia’s conversation with her son where he challenges her to step out of her ‘role’, I have had moments where my script falters—a moment of the ‘uncanny’—where I am forced into a mode more authentic [I can’t even say that word w/o thinking of Gerard in Jean de Florette. Another must-see film!].
Yet I rarely garner the sense of success that Julia experiences as she carefully crafts the dialogue of her new play—the one where she will not be the jilted lover, but rather the triumphant dame. Instead I find myself more isolated, more sure that life is not the march-of-progress story of learning life’s lessons, of each of us becoming better over time, of growing up.
In those moments I see the hazy outline of truth lying before me and I try to look away because I don’t want to acknowledge it. Learning once again that“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players.”