Rubbish, piffle, tommyrot, drivel and utter bilge

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Art Of Losing

Anyone who has seen (and no doubt enjoyed) the movie In Her Shoes starring Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette and Shirley MacLaine (yes, I'm writing about a chick flick - don't judge me!) will no doubt remember the touching scene in which Cameron Diaz, playing Maggie, a semi-illiterate, selfish, irresponsible screw-up party girl, gets a job at the assisted living section of her grandmother's retirement community, and is asked by the blind retired professor of English literature (Norman Lloyd), to read works of poetry to him. She does so, but with great difficulty. After asking if she is dyslexic, the professor encourages Maggie to continue reading to him while offering emotional support to her. Maggie finds a friend in the professor, the first person in her life who does not ridicule her difficulties with reading (and actually helps her to improve in this area). As time passes with the professor, Maggie's confidence grows not only with reading but with her general image of herself. In the scene, she stumbles through Elizabeth Bishop's "One Art".

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster,

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three beloved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

-- Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) a disaster.

The sisters, each in her way, have perfected the art of losing.

The elder, Rose, is an attorney, responsible, lonely, with a closet full of shoes, who one day decides to quit her job, become a dog-walker, and date Simon, (Mark Feuerstein of USA's brilliant series Royal Pains and the sharp-eyed among you will recognize him from The West Wing and Rules Of Engagement) whom she had previously ignored.

I won't ruin the movie for those of you who haven't seen it by giving away the entire plot synopsis, but I will tell you that, chick flick aside, this is a film with some stellar peformances, and great screenwriting and direction. If a lump does not come to your throat during the final ten minutes then I'm sorry, you aren't human.

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