I'll be the first to tell you how much I love big cinematic masterpieces, musicals, and long drawn out romantic comedies. But the older I get the more I've come to appreciate the simpler movies. And by simpler, I mean incredibly complex.
I just watched The Lifeguard, staring Kristen Bell. Don't worry, there will be no spoilers here. It's a movie about a 29 (not 30) year old who leaves her unhappy, and seemingly dead-end life and journalism job in New York City to move back in with her parents in her small hometown. Once home she reverts back to childhood ways, hanging out with teenagers and doing all kinds of illegal things, dragging her old high school best friends down with her, and getting into a relationship with an underage boy. What I love and appreciate about this movie, is that no one has their shit together. Even the friend from high school that's now the vice principle, whose married and trying to have kids. And what would be the cookie-cutter best friend role in many movies, was a story just as moving as the main characters.
No one has everything figured out. No one in the history of the world has ever had everything figured out. And it's a relief to see that played out in a movie. A movie that few people saw, that had a (relatively) small budget, and a small opening, and a deceptively simple plot. But it is anything but simple. Every character has some quirk or fear or strength that you can relate to, that made you think and realize that you're not alone in your horrible sense of life-direction. There were no chase scenes, romantic gestures, musical numbers, or over the top happy endings, but there was honesty. No, I didn't watch this movie wishing it were my life. But I also didn't watch the movie feeling less-than which so often happens while watching some big box office hit. Don't get me wrong, I still love those movies! It's just a nice change of pace to watch something that's so heartbreakingly and heartwarmingly relatable.
I highly recommend this movie to anyone (over 18) looking, not for a happy-go-lucky movie, but for some honesty and relatability (which FYI, I just found out while writing this post, is not actually a word).
I won't spoil anything for anyone that plans on watching it, but in the last two seconds of the film theres a moment, a heartbeat long, that gave the film such a sense of closure that you were okay with the heartbreak and the lack of some grand ending. It's personal and in some ways provocative and gives you the sense that you're not alone in your imperfections.