It's in one of those melancholic scenes I was talking about yesterday that Brendan says today's title. He and Conor are sitting on the stairs watching their mother out on the porch. Seems she rushes home from work every day to sit in the sun and read her papers, and she has a drink. Then the sun goes behind a nearby tall tree and she goes inside. Brendan says she wants to vacation in Spain but their father won't take her. And, he wonders what she thinks about.
Earlier in the film, Conor spelled out a similar notion, except it's not about the wondering, it's about imagining, deciding for the version of another person inside your head. He tells Eamon,
When you don't know someone, they're more interesting. They can be anything you want them to be. But, when you know them, there's limits to them.
Eamon says that doesn't make sense, and in some handwritten notes I scribbled sometime last week, I said of Eamon's response, "Clearly, he's never fallen for someone." He's got his rabbits and he seems to easily attach himself to Conor, but seriously, for someone capable of such creativity, he is lacking in imagination. I mean, that's just basic stuff about other people. You never know everything in their heads, especially if they're strangers or just acquaintances, or someone new that you wish was something more--you have to imagine what might fill in the gaps in what you can see. If you're lucky, or if you're particularly clever, you'll turn out to be right about what makes the person who they are...
Darren, for example, seems to know a lot about Raphina considering he tells Conor that she never talks to anyone. Has he imagined it? Has he talked to her before? Did she reject him? When Conor tells her that kid behind him is his producer, is that a look of recognition on her face because she's met him before?
The same works 1) for movies, for characters in movies, and 2) in real life.
A movie can't tell us everything about a character. It gives us what we need in order to understand the character's role in the story, and maybe it throws in a little extra--again, like Eamon and his rabbits, or Penny sitting in the sun with her papers--but so much of their internal lives is left for us to imagine... or, unfortunately, for a lot of us to not even seek because we just aren't that interested. But, I'm interested. I imagine what characters are doing when they're not on screen. I imagine what characters were doing before we meet them at the start of the film or what they're doing after the credits roll.
Maybe that's weird. But, who hasn't fallen in love with the love interest in a movie? Or wished for the same weird best friend as the protagonist?
Like in real life, too. You know that scene in so many movies, the new couple is together on the train or in the park or some place public, and it's like they don't want to get to know each other directly just yet--too nervous--so they imagine together what nearby people are doing, who these strangers around them are. I do that. And, I've described before how I play out whole conversations before they happen sometimes. I wonder what people are thinking, what they're doing, when they're not around me. Family members, friends, with lives of their own. Of course. I mean, of course they've got lives of their own. But, I guess I'm jealous sometimes. Inappropriately, maybe. But, I am.
Jealous of people in movies, too. Like Conor and his friends putting their band together, I would have loved to do something like that when I was that age.
People in movies, they have clearly defined goals most of the time. Clearly defined motives and obvious signs as to when they've made it. Guy gets the girl. Girls gets the guy. Guy gets his dream job. Girl gets a promotion. Or saves the world. So many levels to it, but so clear. Life is not nearly often enough so clear. Even if you know what you want, you don't always know how to get it. Or maybe it's just impossible. In a movie, there's some way around the impossible. A way to get the guy, get the job, win the fight, whatever. Anything is possible.