You’ve seen a few films in your time, so you’ll know what I mean when I talk about the dramatic monologue in the last minute of a film sequence, when the main protagonist (probably) is talking about what they’ve learnt throughout the film’s narrative. How all the twists and turns that they suffered or nearly did, which may or may not have been their fault, have affected them. Maybe they nearly died or something, and in the end we discover they’ve sprung back to health with a naked smoothie in hand and full gym membership that they are using semi regularly. When the film has drawn to a close, as the audience we hope they have overcome these hard times. We hope they are on the road to recovery and have seen the light, at long last.
Whatever I think about the character in question, I have a real soft spot for these revolutionary monologues. They hit me in the chest. I feel their pain, I feel their joy. Although it is not the focus of this article, the opening monoglue in Trainspotting deserves a special mention, just for being one of the best pieces of fucking writing I’ve ever heard. (If you haven’t read/heard it, you need to right now.) You see, myself and the character have been on this journey together for nearly 130 minutes and I need them to get the ending they rightfully deserve. This stubborn need, above all else, is inside me like a primal instinct. It’s like my nesquik milkshake before bed, I just can’t give it up, and I don’t wanna know a world without it.
An example of a monologue like this is by Billy Crystal in one of my favourite comfort films, When Harry Met Sally (1989). Crystal’s character, Harry, met Sally (Meg Ryan) when they were in college, and of course, they hated each other from the beginning. They join each other on the long drive back to NYC from Chicago and have a lot of time to kill on the journey discussing (and arguing) the big topics: sex between platonic friends and that four-letter killer term, love. They arrive in NYC hell-bent hoping they never see each other again. In the years after their first meeting, they meet again by chance in a bookstore, and again, years later, through work. From the first instance when they shared a car together, to all the random meetings since, they had chemistry you could feel in the air and cut with a knife. They had that something you can’t quite put your finger on, but was there, lingering, blatantly obvious to all those around them but they were blind to themselves.
Life flies, they waste time. They date other people and break up simultaneously. They have moments where it nearly happens, and then it doesn’t. You want to shake them, because it’s taking them so long to see what’s in front of them, it’s taking them literal DECADES to take what they want. To grab each other’s face and kiss it. To have the bravery to look each other in the eye and fucking slip out the words they’ve wanted to say this whole time. IT’S YOU GODDAMMIT. I WANT YOU. I ALWAYS HAVE WANTED YOU. YOU SHAKE THE GROUND I STAND ON AND STEADY IT AT THE SAME TIME. IT’S YOU. YOU ARE THE LOVE OF MY LIFE, MY HEART AND SOUL. THE PERSON I ACTUALLY WOULD PULL A ROMEO-AND-JULIET FOR. THIS SHIT IS IT FOR ME, YOU UNIMAGINABLE BASTARD!!!!!
Harry doesn’t quite say this, but this is what he does manage (on New Year’s Eve, the holiday of all revelations and love confessions):
“Well, how about this way? I love that you get cold when it’s seventy-one degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich, I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts, I love that after a day with you I can still smell your perfume on my clothes and I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realise you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
Well said, Harry. And that, ladies and gents, boys and girls and beaut non-gender binary folk, luvvers and fighters too, is why I can’t help but get so sucked into romantic films, no matter how predictable or camembert cheesy they are. This stuff is the real deal. Love may not conquer all, in all the varying circumstances that it should or should not, and sometimes love makes you want to fight, or breakdown. Love can make you question who you are and what you believe. Love can hold you down until you think you can’t summon the energy to see the light of day again behind your curtains, and love can build you back up again, soaring higher and higher than before. Only love can achieve such great heights, there are some days that I believe only love is worth anything at all.
What I know of love, is that love, is. It is what you give to it. It is how much you open yourself to it. Let it fill you up. It is only when you are willing to let it break you, that you truly understand its power. So you are right to be scared. Face that scary unknown with a puffed chest and clenched jaw. I am trying to love without fear and be unafraid in what I want. Maybe one day it will break me. But it might just make me, too. It might just be the biggest regret of my life if I let her go. Remember that most of the time life is not simple, but we can forget (or ignore) how much of it is.
Love with everything you’ve got. After all, isn’t love all that we’ve got?
© Sophie Grace Hollis 2019. All rights reserved.