Once in a while... for me, that while was perhaps about 10 years long... you'll find a movie that you know you're going to love watching, again and again, for the rest of your life. The sort of movie that, when you're happy and relaxed, or blue and upset, or in the mood to do cartwheels in the attic before sitting down to a dinner of blue ice-cream with sprinkles – any sort of mood, you know? you'll put on and watch as avidly as if you didn't know if they were going to end up happily ever after, as if you didn't have every line replaying in your head a second before it happens on the screen.
I've found it, my once-in-ten-years discovery. In it, Sandra Bullock (without the snorting laugh and unnervingly familiar tripping scenes of Miss Congeniality) and Keanu Reeves discover the joy of old-fashioned, pen-and-paper correspondence, made necessary by their separation. Unlike in the good old-fashioned love stories my grandmother would have grown up on, they're not separated by war, feuding parents, or his unbreakable engagement to the Emperor's daughter (hmm...).
My first response to their uncanny situation of living two years apart, but being able to write to each other, wasn't "How illogical!" because I am, after all, able to live with one foot in the real world while the other dances nightly with elves and tiny chipmunks under toadstools in the back garden. But I did wonder, "Why only two years?" Why not, say, 50? Or 500? How exciting to have a pen-pal who wrote in Shakespearean English because he was Shakespeare... or something. But that would be a different movie, I guess, like Kate And Leopold Go To Stationery World. Or... something.
Yeah, so what's so exciting about two people writing to each other? So sue me, I love writing. As you may have guessed. I love handwriting, especially, and I like the idea of the unselfish, easygoing friendship that develops without the pressures of physical attraction and premature commitment, unlike in just about any other movie. Of course, I was thinking it might be interesting if one or both of the leads weren't so attractive in the conventional sense, just so you could see that it really was on the basis of character that they fell for each other, but evidently Hollywood sensibilities differ. In any case, I have no prejudices against attractive people. Just thought I'd get that out in the open.
And I like the very subtle underweave of the story, the theme of how connection between people is really such a simple thing, yet so difficult. That even without being separated by two years, you can have walls around you to keep people from coming close. They say those things we're drawn to when we see them are the ones we recognise in ourselves... I need help breaking some glass.
Anyway, it's a beautiful movie. I love it, and that statement never comes easily from me. So take my word for it.