"You'll live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to."
This quote, said by the only character with any real life in them, made me comment to Adele what a good line that was. Then I looked at the cigarette in my hand, the thing that caused my father's death less than a week ago, and the glass of red wine in my other hand, and realized what a hedonist I was, how obviously, I would nod my head in agreement at that line. But I don't see why that is a problem. I mean, obviously the smoking is going to end soon but this line was said in reference to eating another slice of cheesecake, and that I am all for, enjoying all these senses we have, and throwing caution to the wind, dancing and not caring that you are dancing by yourself, and not caring that you broke a vase loaded with symbolism doing so.
Granted, it is directed by Woody Allen and it deals with death, cheating, jealousy, and love, themes he comes back to again and again. There are, of course, characters who are writers and the plot focuses on three sisters, much as in Hannah and Her Sisters, but aside from that, this is not a Woody Allen movie. It is his homage to Bergman and has no real laughs in the whole movie. And this movie allows me to see the magic that is a Woody Allen movie, how this movie lacks all those aspects, that it is all about tone. This movie in fact circles back to the conversation the two writers have in Melinda and Melinda, about how after hearing the same story of a friend, one could retell it as a tragedy and one could retell it as a comedy. This is Allen taking what he would normally use as fodder for comedy and instead using it in a tragic way. But, I haven't been able to take tragedy seriously lately, ever since I became really annoyed with Lars von Trier and how admired he is, how it seems so silly, so fake to hold this stiff lip and pretend everything is so awful and so meaningful.
There were too many points in this movie where I rolled my eyes, that nothing is this serious, that there is a mix to it all, that there is bad, that there is good and there are laughs and music along the way. It wasn't until over an hour into this movie that the first music was heard, and that was striking because normally Allen movies are buoyed by jazz soundtracks throughout the movie. There was a silence to the scenes that was unnatural, that people have radios and records playing around the house, that there is all this noise we fill up our lives with but yet you couldn't show that and still have it be a tragedy. It was good and there are obivously lots of people who like this movie, but lots of people tend to like things that seem serious, as if that means they have serious tastes.
That question of what a life is really struck me, that yes, you can live and live and live and be a hundred, but does that mean anything if it is so restrained, that all that matters are these joys, these pleasures, and there is no need to take them in moderation. One of the character's called this one, the one who made this quote cited at the top that I loved so much, "a vulgarian."