• Endria Richardson

2 Days in Worcester

I saw 2 Days in Paris at the Coolidge Theater when it came out a few years ago, and really liked it, and spread the word about it, and then forgot about it entirely.  I’m in Worcester, mi patria, this weekend and making good on my claim to watch more movies.  I’ve watched two so far, both movies that I’ve already seen.  Do repeats count towards my goal? Who can say. 

One is 2 Days in Paris.  It’s good because I like Julie Delpy and she wrote ,directed and stars in it and it’s about relationships in a really funny and strangely comforting way.  I always worry that I am too strong willed and stubborn with a much too volatile temper. All of those things may be true, but it is a sad and lonely world when you convince yourself you are the only stubborn, angry, irrational dog on the block.   Whether I may or may not have a knack for failing to realize that the world is not made up of me and my singular problems is besides the point of this post. 

Julie Delpy’s character has a very strong personality and has an anger and impulse control problem.  She plays her so naturally that you end up thinking she is just acting like herself or casually filming herself and her real boyfriend taking a two day trip to Paris.   And she is very likeable, at least to me.   Usually, I hate movies that don’t look like movies, with actors who are  good at acting like the lame, sporadicall funny, un-witty characters we all are in real life.  I don’t like these movies because movies should be better than real life.  Not better like a happy ending, but better like life with another layer of thought and consciousness added to it.  Just like I can be (arguably) wittier and more entertaining on a blog where I have edited out the uninteresting bits, so should your dialogue in the movie I’ve paid $10.75 to see be wittier, smarter, and cleaner than the first thing that pops into your head when you open your mouth. 

I think that is what I hate most in movies like Juno, for example.  It’s as though the writer or writers sat down and decided to write the first things that came to their heads in order wilfully recreate the strained, unnatural, awkward half-jokes that fall short of satisfactory humor.   That kind of humor is very satisfying if you are sitting around with your friends who don’t have the luxury of thinking, editing, polishing and adding a soundtrack before they speak.  In real life you and your friends (and me and my friends, I’m not trying to start shit) are funny because there is no expectation to be perfect or near-perfect.  In movies, there is the expectation that the characters will be funnier (better looking, more athletic, more daring, etc) than you are.   (On a confessional note, I saw a trailer for Juno on 2 Days in Paris, and started tearing up.  I only watched the first 30 minutes because I thought the writing was so awful but after seeing the trailer, I wanted to secretly rent and finish it.  We should all be flexible in matters of art.)  Ultimately, art should be at a different level from real life.  2 Days is so good because it plays on a very natural feel (I would like to say something about French New Wave here but I won’t because I don’t know) but doesn’t eschew the feeling that time, thought and care went into its making.  I think it has to do with respecting your audience, but also with respecting the possibilities of art and higher consciousness. 

That tangent aside, looking at Julie Delpy’s character, Marion, more deeply, she has a lot of bad qualities.  But because I like her overall, I forgive those bad qualities in her and go so far as to forgive them in myself.  One might say this is a flawed method for self-improvement (finding someone you admire who has the same flaws as yourself and thereby coming to accept those flaws), but a good method for self-love.  What I’d like to say here is that I think 2 Days in Paris is a good movie that you should see.  More than it being a good movie, it is a good movie written and directed by a woman who presents herself as strong and independent.  It’s important to have and watch movies that show relationships with strong, non-traditional females in them.  It’s important for all of us to do this, but especially for those of us who feel like we’re a little bit odd and unloveable sometimes because we do things that are out of the ballpark in terms of acceptible behavior (ok right, like that’s not all of us?).  

I can be a little bit Pollyannaish in my solutions to problems, I admit.   But I am not saying it’s ok to get angry because everyone, even Julie Delpy, gets angry and Julie Delpy is loveable and so are you.   The point is that Julir Delpy is creating a strong woman archetype in her film.  I don’t think there are many women in films (popular or otherwise) who are strong and somewhat angry and impulsive in a non-silly way.   I could be wrong in this.  Like I said, I am no movie expert.   But I think we can all agree that images of non-stigmatized or -racialized strong, angry women are something sort of ubiquitous in pop culture.  Society and societal norms are woven, in part, by the narratives of pop-culture.  Since most of us travel closely within units of let’s say no more than five close relationships, and of those five relationships maybe one or two is with someone who you are open to being taught, mentored and advised by, most people fill in the gaps of their instructional circle with that great surrogate parent called society.

From culture to culture anger is normalized, stigmatized, chimerized.  But rarely is it seen as a rational woman’s territory.  I may have a natural bent towards solipsism, but I don’t think I feel isolated as a woman in a man’s world of rage because I’m singling my feeling out for more attention than they are due.   It is due in part to a dearth of societal instruction on how to be an angry woman without also being a crazy, irrational, socially unacceptable woman.   Here is one movie that tells you how (in my opinion, though looking back I’m sure you could make a case for Julie Delpy’s character being crazy, irrational and socially unacceptable). 

So, in three short steps Julie Delpy has led us from self worth, to art to social commentary.  Watch it. Love it.  Live it. The writing is funny and smart and witty and it doesn’t try to be less.  The style is endearing and executed with care. The acting is good.  The actors are older, which is something I appreciate.  I’m struggling with feeling like my brain is hitting a crucial post-graduate phase where my brain begins to turn to mush.  Thats not a reason to watch the movie, it’s a reason to cut me some slack on this post. 

The other movie I watched was Primal Fear, starring Richard Gere and Edward Norton.  This is a Very good movie.  I got it at the Worcester Public Library, for free.  My mom had a fine on her card for $0.40.  I almost laughed because after two months of being financially independent in New York $0.40 seemed like an obsolete measure of currency.   I bought 2 Days in Paris at Hollywood Video for $4.    If you’d like to watch either movie, you can go to your local public library or Hollywood Video.

#2DaysinParis #JulieDelpy #PrimalFear

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