Tonight I saw Rachel Getting Married. It was a compelling and moving film. The depiction of sisterhood - with its' ugliness, richness, joy and severe pains - plus its' unspoken rules - was stunning. I don't believe I have seen a film that captured the dimensions of family dynamics in the same way.
Within each family there are, of course, roles, rules, rituals, lies and secrets as well as truths, histories and healing. A family where something tragic has happened and where there is continual fracturing has a certain capacity for pain where each wound tells a story and each healing a memory. So was the family in this film.
I cannot articulate what I am thinking about this film at all. But as I watched it in my cozy red-velvet chair at the Kennedy School and listened to the rain pour onto the roof of the building and dance against the windows, I was able to slip away into this family and feel their reality. The passion for life and desire for death were feelings I could taste and even remember. Remember feelings that were possibly never my own but because on some level, on some collectivehuman experience, I felt the shame, embarassment, hurt, love, joy and hate that flowed through the veins of these characters.
I also identified with the brokenness and the loss of self that addiction, disease or a disorder can hold on you. Especially when it has become who you are and I know that the reclamation of self is hardest in the presence of family - because you are who you were and they know what they knew, but present and past have blurred and therefore futures feel disorted.
I don't think I can continue to try to explain it; all I can say is that it is a rare film. While not a new story, it is a new experience.