Bobby and me, throughout the years.
I recently had the pleasure of attending a screening of About Time, a film from the creator of Love Actually, Notting Hill, and Four Weddings and a Funeral (you can view the trailer here). They asked me to share my thoughts about the film, and though I’m hardly a critic, I do love to share stories and personal anecdotes (and go off on unnecessary tangents). Especially late at night, when my mind is going a mile a minute – and that’s precisely my current situation. I promise not to ruin anything with spoilers.
I don’t often find myself at the movies, but when I go, I usually go alone. I’ve quashed the idea of hanging out with friends at the movies, since time in the dark with no conversation seemed like a waste of worthy companionship. It was best saved for first dates, I told myself, to give reprieve from stumbling around awkward small talk and indulge in a much needed box of candy. And clearly, those days of first dates are over.
But really, it isn’t that I’m actually against movie nights – it’s more of an excuse to go it alone. Every once in a while, I do just that. As I walked out of About Time, mascara running down my face, I remembered why: because I’m a sobbing mess at the drop of a hat, and I’m a closet romantic who’s keen on staying that way. Sometimes a mildly misanthropic and utterly pessimistic one, but still. Romance makes me really jittery and uncomfortable – especially when I’m in social situations – but that doesn’t mean I’m not rooting for it. After all, I am in a relationship, and if that’s not a rom-com miracle, I don’t know what is. I may not be the typical female lead but I am clumsy as all get out, and if I know anything about romantic comedies, that’s half the battle.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I read that it was about a guy who used his time traveling capabilities to find love and fix any missteps, and I’m glad that I went into it without a clue. As it turns out, this wasn’t your usual saccharine, sappy, romance – and it wasn’t a campy, over the top comedy, either. It’s a feel-good story about love, yes, but it’s the love between Tim and his exceedingly charming family that had me both in stitches and tears. (Side note: when Tim introduced his little sister with the line, “She was to me, and still is, the most wonderful thing in the world,” I knew I was at my kind of movie, because I’m pretty sure I’ve said the same thing about Tessa.) In fact, if I had two words to describe About Time, it would be “absolutely charming.” And if there was one thing I took away from the movie, it’s the lesson that love doesn’t have to be over the top in grandeur, and it doesn’t have to be perfect. In the beginning, he relives everything until its perfect, but eventually learns that life is worth leaving as it is, even with all of its flaws. In fact, it’s the missteps, the imperfections, and even the tragedies that make the good things that much sweeter – and they also make the best stories.
When I look back at my past courtships, they’re rife with embarrassment that was made for the movies. I once met a guy’s family and then realized my dress was both backwards and inside out (don’t ask), walked into a pole and knocked over a trashcan in one step right in front of my high school crush, and even had a first date quite literally run away from me and leave me standing, bewildered.* I always said the wrong things, made the wrong moves, and generally made a fool of myself. At the time, they were all humiliating situations that felt like total life ruiners, but now they’re my favorite stories to tell. I wouldn’t want to relive them, mind you, but I also wouldn’t change them for the world, even if I had the gift of time travel. Without all of the palm-to-forehead moments that left me bright red and mortified, hiding under the covers, I wouldn’t have started my Open Diary, which led to LiveJournal, which led to this blog. And there would be no Bobby, the boy that many all have come to know through pictures and stories, because believe it or not, our beginning was just as awkward and bumpy as any other. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
p.s. One thing I will gladly relive (see how I brought it full circle?) is the opportunity to see About Time again, and I might even make it a group outing. It comes out on November 8th (select theaters November 1st), so let’s stock our bags with tissues and candy contraband and make a night of it.
*One day, when I’m feeling particularly nostalgic, I’ll share the full stories, and one of you will write a blockbuster script whose leading lady has an eerily similar montage of awkward encounters…and I’ll know. We’ll all know.
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