Elizabethtown & Grief

Devin wanted me to write a mini post on Elizabethtown. I don’t know why. But I’m obeying my husband. ;P

Elizabethtown is a weird movie. I wouldn’t even say it is a good movie. But I find myself strangely drawn to it whenever I feel like crap. That, too, is strange. It’s not particularly a happy movie. It starts out with a failure fiasco, then a suicide attempt, then the death of a loved one, and basically anything that can go wrong does go wrong.

So why, on Earth, do I want to watch this movie when I’m depressed? Because it captures a feeling that I identify with. A feeling that is hard to convey, if not impossible. The feeling that “I can’t do anything right” and “anything I do fails.” That feeling that you have to put on a brave face, to say “I’m fine.” That even when people look at you, there’s a sense they don’t want to catch whatever grief you’ve got. That whatever can go wrong will go wrong. Heck, even when the main character is about to commit suicide, he gets interrupted not only to receive bad news, but also that he “has to handle this.”

But that’s not all. Because more than a story it’s a journey. And it is one that seems honest to the feelings grief can produce. I guess I like watching it when I’m sad because it’s not a classic “WE OVERCOME” story. Nor is it a “we give up.” It’s one of “we have problems and it’ll take a while, but we’re moving forward.” “We’re not going to let our failures or grief define us.” “We can learn to laugh again.”

So as a movie, it’s weird, it’s flawed, heck, it’s mediocre AT BEST. But as a piece of media that both meets me in my grief and tries to elevate me just one tiny step out of it, I kind-of love it.

Plus it has Orlando Bloom and Kristen Dunst so: SOLD. (Let’s be honest that’s probably the only reason I saw it in high school.)


You want to be *really* great? Then have the courage to fail big and stick around. Make ’em wonder why you’re still smiling. That’s true greatness to me.

I want you to get into the deep beautiful melancholy of everything that’s happened.

You have five minutes to wallow in the delicious misery: enjoy it, embrace it, discard it – and proceed.

It takes time to be funny. It takes time to extract joy from life.

I want to learn to cook and I want to learn to laugh and I want to TAP DANCE!

Death and life and death and life: right next door!?

If it wasn’t this it’d be something else.


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