If you’re anything like me, you love to watch movies. You might even shape your world view and expectations around them, knowing that the real world will fall short, leaving you disappointed and disillusioned again and again. And to cope, you’ll just watch more.
It’s a cycle I’m fully aware of and entirely content participating in.
Sometimes I even try to take advice from movies, but life always gets in the way. Take Under the Tuscan Sun for example. Since 2003, Diane Lane has been convincing women that the solution to their problems is to move to Tuscany. She’s not wrong.
Okay, Diane, I’m in. Yes, I would love to move to Italy and solve all my problems by running away from them. I’ve got half of that down already.
Except, how am I supposed to afford it? Is there some sort of waiting list I need to sign up for?
In the movie (which is based on a book but doesn’t really follow the book like so many other movies based on a book), Diane’s character takes a singles trip after her marriage fails. In Italy, she decides she’s not coming home — ever. The whole time it feels like she’s taking some massively brave leap into uncertainty. But she also seems to have an endless supply of cash. With a safety net made of money, her spontaneity feels a little less risky.
I would love to be casually wealthy — you know, to the point where no one talks about how unusual it is to have so much money in the bank for no apparent reason. And I would love to just up and move to Italy and never come back.
Oh, and if I could have Diane Lane’s looks while I’m at it, that would be great. I mean, come on… the woman is gorgeous and doesn’t appear to age at all.
Unfortunately, the only remote similarity between my life and hers in Under the Tuscan Sun is a cheating ex-husband.
If I did have enough money to visit a foreign country and never come back, I would go to Ireland. And if my life were written and produced in Hollywood, I would ask to have a fairy tale ending like Amy Adams’ character in Leap Year.
Do I want to meet my soulmate in Ireland? Yes, please. Am I going to? Probably not. I’ve never even been to Ireland, and I think getting to the country in question is probably a prerequisite to meeting your soulmate there.
Life just isn’t the same in the real world versus the reel world. Go figure.
Look at Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love. Her character goes through a divorce (do you sense a theme here?) and soul searches across the world — regardless of how much money it costs.
I’ve got the divorce and the soul-searching, but I don’t think I’ll ever have the cash to find myself in Italy, India, and Indonesia. I mean, who does? Well, besides Elizabeth Gilbert, the woman who inspired the movie Eat, Pray, Love.
In the film, our heroine is seen as a brave risk-taker, but the real risk would be to try that trip without a disposable income. I’m not crazy or desperate enough to try that. At least, not yet.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against our wealthy traveling heroines — hell, if I were in their place, I’d be on a plane tomorrow and never look back.
But it’s just all so unrealistic. I guess that’s the escapism we’re drawn to when we watch movies.
Some movies, like About Time, break the illusion with outrageous elements like time travel. On a basic level, I know we all understand we’ll never be able to travel back in time, but I think it still leaves some of us wishing we could control the event in our lives.
As for most of these other movies, they leave us wishing we had more dough in our pockets. And not the brioche variety. Although now that I think about it, one can never have too much brioche.
Maybe that’s why we watch these movies in the first place. So we can live vicariously through others in a way we never could in real life.
It seems quite depressing, doesn’t it? Acknowledging that life will never be like our favorite movies is no fun. Yet we continually and willingly subject ourselves to these escapist fantasies. What the hell is that all about? Speaking of which, I think it’s time for another good romantic comedy movie binge. I’m nothing if not a glutton for punishment. It’s entertainment, after all.
Crazy Rich Asians seems like a good choice, although I’m certain I’m past the age of marrying into money. Oh, well. One can dream. And I do like to dream.
At least the characters always find their perfect happy ending, even if we don’t.