This was made for me
She is overcome with excitement at the beauty of the day. She runs into a particularly warm patch of sun. She stops and just basks there for a moment. That’s it. That’s the moment. That’s when I knew Whisper of the Heart was made for me.
Not all movies that I love are made for me. I love many, many movies that weren’t. I love The Godfather because it’s a damn perfect movie. But it’s not made for me. It tells a gripping story with style and humanity and an alternating sense of warmth and brutality and it’s absolutely an all-time favorite of mine… but it wasn’t made for me.
A movie being made for you isn’t a mark of quality, see. It’s more serendipity. Of a director crafting a moment that transports you into your own memories and feelings. You know you’re watching one when it feels like a movie is holding a mirror to your soul.
Whisper of the Heart knows when a sunbeam is the best feeling in the world, or when you feel a bond with someone you haven’t met over a shared love of books, or when a city at night feels cozy and warm, or when a city at day feels like a maze of doubt. I return to it every year, knowing it a bit more every time, and learning a bit more about myself along the way.
Nothing on the screen makes sense. It’s all whispered dialogue coupled with shots of the cosmos. Stars are born. Earth, the planet that contains all of human history, looks like a pinprick against the sun. And then, the movie turns to the story of a family on Earth. The this film is their story, told a stage that consists of all of history and all of the universe. Suddenly the sense of scope is overwhelming, followed by a feeling of total peace. That’s when I knew The Tree of Life was made for me.
As a child was I often overwhelmed by the scope of all things. It was very easy to feel insignificant. But then, isn’t life, and the little pocket of it we have here on Earth, an astonishing thing in itself? These are questions I long put away as I got older. To have them pulled out of me during a movie is something I never expected. But then, you never know how a movie that’s made for you will treat you. It might give you a joyous high, or a deep feeling of introspection, or even despair.
Enough with despair for now; I’ve dealt with enough sadness this year. Besides, when a movie is made for you, the relationship between the events on screen don’t necessarily correlate perfectly with how they make you feel. It’s like when you fall in love; the moment you realize you were made for each other can be surprising and unexpected.
The first time I realized a movie was made for me, I was 16 and falling in love with the movies. I thought I knew what it was to love a movie. I’d seen movies that had thrilled me, made me laugh, made me cry. But I had never seen a movie that rendered me speechless like this one. A girl is watching the sky. A dragon, visible only as a tiny sliver, shimmering in the distance, holds her attention. She stares at it in awe. I’m right there with her. The moment doesn’t stop. It holds her attention, and mine, and I’m suddenly in tears at the beauty of it. Not just at the dragon soaring in the sky. But at the realization of this feeling. This was made for me.