Dennis Cinema Photo courtesy of the Cape Cod Times
I met up with my long-time friend, Cindy, at the movie theater last night. We're each other's default date for those films we know our spouses might not enjoy. No, not "chick flicks". Please. We are so far beyond that and quite honestly, I would rather be locked in a room with a Judy Collins CD than be sitting in a room watching a Jennifer Aniston film. Call me a snob, but I don't "do" first run movies unless I absolutely must. If for no other reason, having to sit through those trailers for the trashy films that will be arriving at that "theater near me" in too-short a time makes me crazy. I "do" movies at a small art house, built in 1930. It is the home of an amazing 6,400 square foot mural, painted by Rockwell Kent, which graces the vaulted ceiling in a lavish display of comets, constellations and galaxies. Looking up, one sees a modernistic concept of the heavens in blues, golds and oranges, grand in color and beauty.
The mural, the only one done by Rockwell Kent, is the largest of its kind in this country. It shows, among the constellations and other ethereal depictions, pairs of embracing lovers and free-flying individuals who seem to float through the atmosphere, hinting at a carefree lifestyle. So, what does the mural, covering the ceiling of a movie house that was built in 1930 have to do with last night's film? Hang on, there is a correlation coming......
The film, "Gloria", is a story set in Santiago. The story is centered on a sixty-something character named Gloria (who by the way, is in every scene, and there are lots of individual scenes in this film). Gloria has been divorced for more than ten years and lives alone in an apartment beneath a young drug addict who has violent fights every night with whom, we never find out. Is it the ugly, hairless cat that Gloria finds in her apartment every day when she returns from work? How that cat gets into her home remains a mystery and why it shares so many of those scenes with Gloria, yet another. But back to Gloria, the "free-spirited" woman who returns from a day at the office and heads out to an evening of clubbing, all by herself. She never remains alone. She's attractive and, remember, she's "free-spirited" so she dances, drinks and makes small talk. Eventually, she attracts another "older" and as we find out later, not-so-much, free spirited, gentleman and they fall in love or, as the graphic nude scenes (Gloria is in all of them) suggest, this could be "lust". Long, long story (with Gloria in every scene) later, we find the romance over for nonsensical reasons, Gloria lying naked on her bed alongside the cat that she hated earlier on, and Gloria firing paint balls at her former lust-mate. As the film closes, we find Gloria (in yet one more scene) dancing with wild abandon, at the wedding of someone we met earlier in the film but didn't know she and he were getting married. Huh? I don't have to say here that Gloria is dancing, very spirited and carefree, to the song "Gloria", do I? She never stopped smiling, except for the many times we saw her putting drops into her eyes.
Cindy and I looked at each other as the movie ended. We laughed out loud as people (there weren't many) left the theater and we were joined by another pair of gal-pal movie goers two rows behind us. We all started to laugh, questioned each other about what we had just sat through, and laughed some more. At this point, I suggested that we needed a support group and one of the other women quickly came back with "no, I think we need a survivor's group!" We did not like the film. Obviously. Did we miss something? We're not stupid, we did not fall asleep, so I doubt it. It just might not have been there. Or, where we looking for more, something that wasn't going to happen, there or anywhere.
Maybe we were under the influence of the Rockwell Kent mural, studying those free-flying, carefree individuals who were housed in that old bastion of a movie theater. Were we, and the ladies behind us, looking at Gloria and somehow thinking that life can really be carefree, that there are no real consequences to having fun and throwing it all to the wind in our "middle ages"? Were we thinking that we are missing something by not dancing every night? Are we unhappy, or was she, really? Perhaps that is why we all came away confused. We probably should have chosen the Lego Movie at the first run theater instead.
P.S. I don't think Gloria was all that happy.......