The One In Which I’m a Big Crybaby

I cry at movies all the time. This is a bad thing because I am usually with people (my husband and daughter) who take great pleasure in pointing out that fact with snarky glee. I just can’t help it, I’m a big softy when it comes to heartwrenching books and movies…you want to pull on someone’s heartstrings and make them cry, I’m your woman.

The movie which makes me cry the most is The Horse Whisperer, for two reasons (aside from it being a really, really good movie and book): first, Scarlett Johannson in the movie looks almost identical to my daughter at that age, down to the voice and her expressions. They look different now, but at twelve they could have been sisters. Secondly, I’ve known two people who were killed in horse-riding accidents, and one of them was a very good friend. It wasn’t a traffic accident, but rather a horse fall while riding without a helmet. Hey, we all used to ride without helmets back then – I sometimes wore one while jumping, but never while riding out.

I couldn’t find a clip of the scene in the kitchen with Robert Redford and Scarlett Johannson where he tells the story about the Indian boy who was paralysed, but that scene always tears me up. I’ve seen my daughter looking at me with exactly that expression, seen her break down and cry exactly that way. It is tough to watch. And that is the beauty of powerfully-written scripts and books, or of any art: it has the power to make you connect so solidly with a character that you can be torn apart by vicariously experiencing a powerful scene. It applies to joy as well, and absolute terror. Stephen King has given me nightmares and caused me to walk through the house turning on lights.

It is magic, and alchemy.


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