Movies after Xmas are a holiday tradition in our family. This year was no exception, although we decided to change it up a bit. My son, his friend and my husband were off to see "Arthur's Christmas" and since I have already seen it, I decided to take some alone time and see "War Horse." I had read the reviews and knew it was going to be a sentimental film. I am not one to shy away from Hollywood manipulating me now and again, plus I knew my husband had no interest in seeing it. So that worked out just fine for all of us.
I got my unbuttered popcorn and headed into the crowded but not overly filled theater. I quickly spotted my favorite seat open and headed over that way. I think we all gravitate toward our favorite places to sit in a theater. Some like to be up top, others dead center but I like to be just behind the handicapped railings. No one in front of you and a place to hang your coat!
Next to me one seat away, the typical spacing left by movie theater attendees, were two adorable older women in their mid to late 70's I would guess. They both had on hand knitted winter hats, Christmas decorated sweat shirts and were deeply engaged in conversation with one another. I hesitated a moment since I wondered if the talk would go on into the movie, but thought they would both settle in once the film started.
The previews started and Nana 1 and Nana 2 were still chuckling, giggling and chatting it up like two school girls on the playground at recess. Let it go, I thought, since surely it is only previews and they will quiet down once the film begins.
Film begins and for the next 146 minutes there was barely a lull in their constant chatter. Only now, rather then the talk being about family or food, they were both engaged in a running commentary of the film! I did try at one point to quiet them down by saying in a gentle way that I thought they were adorable but could they please be a bit quieter. Both of them were quite reticent and apologized profusely but the chatter resumed within minutes, and I expect my comments were long forgotten.
Luckily it was not a film heavy on intricate dialogue and twisting plot lines so I was able to keep up with the movie quite well. I also found that their running dialogue and comments were actually humorous if a bit redundant. I must have heard "Oh beautiful, beautiful horse!" over a hundred times. Another favorite line of theirs was to comment on the "pretty girl" the "handsome boy" the poor horse" and say "oh my" over and over. They were confused about what characters were where in the film, forgetting that the young boy who raised the horse was not in the film till much later, and thought a German soldier was indeed the one and the same boy! They wondered what was happening in many scenes and asked each other repeatedly what was going on. Once scene in particular they got so loud and effusive asking "what is it, what did she get, what is under the blanket!" so many times I just had to laugh to myself at their joyous confusion and excitement.
It was quite clear to me that these two ladies were probably having the most fun watching the film in the entire audience. It was really hard not to get caught up in their excitement at being so taken by a film. They were truly adorable and bubbly, which helped me to really have fun myself since the film was a tad on the boring side, and filled with the requisite tear-jerk scenes, which was indeed tempered by their running dialogue of "oh, that's sad, that's just too sad, pretty horse, handsome boy, beautiful girl, where are they, what is that, who is he, oh that is the same horse, right, is that him, wow, oh my, what did she get, can he see, what is happening, good film, beautiful movie."
What a gift these ladies gave to me this day! I am so glad I trusted my instincts to not move my seat and stay put because what I learned from them is infinitely more interesting then the film. I was utterly taken with the fact that these two were completely and totally in the moment, engaged in a what filmmakers want us to feel, that magic that encapsulates us in a darkened theater and makes us all 7 again, if only for a few hours or so.