While I spend a lot of time seeing plays, I spend very little time seeing movies. In fact, I’m usually sadly behind the rest of the world (or so it seems) when it comes to contemporary movies. Oscar night for me can sometimes be best enjoyed as an opportunity to make a list of everything I should see. Sometimes, that’s really more feasible if I look at it as adding to that list. On the rare occasion when I clean out my desk, I often come across little pieces of scrap paper and post-it notes, with various movie titles scribbled on them. Some thoughts scratched down during some awards show.
Last night I finally saw Slumdog Millionaire. You know how after you’ve heard all about something, how great it is, how wonderful it is, how deserving it is to have won all those awards, you go in to the experience with certain expectations and preconceived notions. Slumdog wasn’t at all what I thought it would be. I’m not sure what I expected, but it had a plot that was more complicated, more intricate, than I thought it would.
In my book, I’m not sure it was “best picture” worthy. That’s a category for movies that should either be something so well done and so powerful in some aspect or be something which reveals in some unique or new way an element of a universal element— something about that old human condition.
Slumdog isn’t that. It’s an interesting, intriguing story. It’s well done and beautifully acted. (Especially those kids!) But it didn’t put it all over the top for me. Sure there’s the thematic elements of enduring love or of family ties. Perhaps the whole right and wrong. What it did do so well (in addition to those things I just mentioned) was creating an empathetic character. You couldn’t help but care about and root for Jamal. Looking back on it, I kind of wish Jamal was a little more flawed. He was almost too nice and pure.
But that factor in the film is what made it moving. That was the reason that the subway scene and dance was made me feel warm and fuzzy, and giggle just a bit.
There are things to learn here. Not sure what or how, but there’s a way to apply this.
I’ll start by hanging out at the train station tomorrow.