Friday, November 11, 2005

Film Review of an Oldie but Goodie

Steel Magnolias came out in 1989, so this post is certainly not meant to keep you abreast of what's up and happening in the world of celluloid nor will it send you off to the movie theater, but this film deserves special mention, especially as one of the scenes relates so poignantly to my personal experience with grief.

In the film, Shelby (played by Julia Roberts) dies at a young age due to complications related to diabetes. The scene at her funeral is incredibly powerful.

Shelby's mother stands alone at Shelby's grave. This camera shot alone started to trigger my grief over my grandmother's death in March, providing a visual to the overwhelming feeling of loneliness that buried deep in my chest at the time of her death.

One of Shelby's friends then tries to convince Shelby's mother that she should be happy for her daughter because her daughter is now in heaven. Shelby's mother snaps back something to the effect of, "I'm sorry I'm so selfish that I can't be happy for her!" This reaction mimics my feelings as well. My grandmother lived a very full and exciting life and was fortunate to live into her 90's. My family kept trying to point this fact out to me as if it should make my pain disappear. My grandmother herself had told me on more than one occasion that she didn't want me to cry when she died. And as a result, mourning over my grandmother's death, I felt very much like Shelby's mother - guilty and selfish for feeling sad.

And then finally, one of Shelby's mother's friends says something absolutely absurd in an effort to provide some humor relief to the very strained situation. And although I've watched this movie multiple times before, I laughed just as hard at this scene as I had the first time. However, this time the laughter only brought more tears.

You see, when my grandmother died, a very good friend of mine made me laugh, too. And that laughter meant the world to me. It - and he (the friend) - renewed my appreciation for life. Unfortunately, that friend and I have since become estranged. And that makes me sad now, too.

Watching this scene again, I cried for Shelby' mother; I cried for my grandmother; and I cried for lost friendships. I cried for me.

Well, this wasn't much in terms of a movie review, but if you have an interest in grief, check out this flick on DVD (even if you've already seen it before) and tell me what you think.

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