Friday, January 15, 2010

Deepening Affection

I'm reading the New York Times review of the 2003 William Macy movie "The Cooler" while watching it and stopping it using this newfangled DVR as needed to make tea and settle my stomach from an emotionally tempestuous day. In the review, I come across the phrase "deepening affection," and I know I have something I want to say.

"The Cooler" is a hokey/sweet/violent flick, where sadsack Macy, always so excellent, surprisingly finds lucky love in an otherwise bleak Las Vegas life. Even his cat, who'd abandoned him and his row of dead house plants, comes back after he's inexplicably seduced by the believably authentic Natalie, played by Maria Bello.(Alec Baldwin is disturbingly convincing, too -- I'm glad I just saw him in "It's Complicated" for a slightly brighter persona). Anyway, the true-hearted Natalie develops, the Times review says, a "deepening affection" for Macy's innocent Bernie Lootz. Their love scenes are wonderful. Macy's expressive face has never been better. The movie's not over yet and I'm pretty sure it's going to end badly, but before it does I just want to pause to savor that phrase: "deepening affection."

Today I was confronted with one of my life's failures for the first time in awhile: packet in the mail -- passive aggressive bundle of indicting postcards (my own words thrown back at me), photos, uncomfortable reminders of years of unwieldy yearning and confusing striving, bound to disappoint. Some things never get quite cleansed, the glib promise of closure a misleading myth.

But I have deepening affections. My "mature" life, such as it is, finds its way these days -- not always smoothly, not always with perfect understanding. I'm slowly forging a life with Ted, with the interconnections of love and work that seem to suit me better than the life I used to try to inhabit like the wrong house, imperfect architecture. This life isn't the same as that -- less surface glitter, less naive, edgy ambition. But it allows for something true -- as I find out what that is.

As it turns out, the movie didn't end quite as predictably as I thought it would. The director was Wayne Kramer after all, not Quentin Tarantino.

No comments: