Friday, 12 February 2010

Bradley Whitford makes me cry!

I've taken a big step in the last few weeks: I wouldn't exactly call it having reconciled myself to there being no more West Wing, but I'm coming to terms with the fact that if if I want to see more of Bradley Whitford, I will have to cross back from fiction into reality and remind myself that he is not only Josh Lyman. That he is, in fact, an actor, and appears in lots of other stuff. It turns out, actually, that he's in quite a lot of films, but often films available only in the US, and often not as the lead (though quite why baffles me, but that's another story).

What I didn't count on was how much he would make me cry.

And not just because I am so in love with him.

Little Manhattan was wonderful, and it's a film I would never have discovered were it not for my twitter friends (do we call them friends?) and my obsession (yes, I think we can call it an obsession) with all things West Wing, and with the beautiful Brad in particular. A film that's right up my street, and not just because the book I'm writing has as its heart not only childhood sweethearts, but also that eternal question of whether it is really better to have loved and lost than not to have loved at all. I'm still not sure I have the answer, and I don't know whether my character (Kate) does either. (Oh, and the hero is called Brad and has fluffy hair and dimples, but I'm sure that's just a coincidence.)

A lovely, cute film, funny, full of quotable lines, sweet moments, great acting even from children (I think Josh Hutcherson has a bit of Bradley Whitford in him, so it's fitting he played his son) and lots of New York (which I have also fallen in love with of late, along with all things American. Oh Aaron Sorkin... you have a lot to answer for.). I cried, a bit. But it was a feel-good film, and I'll be watching it again, soon.

And so the tradition was established: every weekend I go on Amazon, find a random film with Bradley Whitford in that is probably cute and harmless (so, not Cabin in the Woods) and then I order it and have it ready and waiting for when I get home from work on Fridays.

This week, in my enthusiasm, and my confusion at now having two separate Amazon accounts, I accidentally ordered two copies of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. (If anyone would like a copy at a bargainous price, let me know, though I may be about to put you off it.) A winner, I thought: in an attempt to fill the void left by the end of the West Wing, I've been working my way through Gilmore Girls, and am getting into it, though, as I'm sure I will be expounding upon in another blogpost, it's made me realise that one of the things I love most about WW is the way that romance is subtly blended into a much bigger metanarrative. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, I love Alexis Bledel and her blue eyes (I would like her to play me when I am famous please - her or Melissa Fitzgerald, since Janel Moloney is perhaps too blonde).

So, I thought - Bradley Whitford, Alexis Bledel, and a happy film on the theme of friendship. What's not to like?

Nothing's not to like. It's a great movie. (Movie? Film, I mean. Oops.) I was particularly impressed with Alexis Bledel, because she most definitely wasn't Rory - and as noted elsewhere, in a post also on a loose Bradley Whitford theme, that is one of the signs of a great actor. A lesser adolescent actress would surely have been Prototype Teenage Girl Part Two - but she holds herself different, has different mannerisms - I was ticking off all those personalisation techniques in my head.

Of course, Brad is great too. He even had me unconsciously closing my eyes when he said grace! So you see, I have trouble with the fact/fiction boundary. Which is why I was probably always destined to be a writer.

The problem is, no one told me I was going to cry. Not like oh-wow-Josh-finally-kissed-Donna or I-want-Matt-Santos-to-be-my-President slight teary eyedness, but proper bawling.

This is not my definition of a feel-good film.

I'm sure someone out there will tell me it's because I also grew up a long way from my dad, but Brad's character is nothing like him, and nor were our circumstances.

Part of me, the more I read about Brad and Jane, also feels very sad that they divorced when they seemed so in love and happy and ideally suited. But come on, I am not that altruistic. I'm sure that's not what has me crying like that.

Maybe it's because I never had the kind of friendship these girls have as teenagers, and always wanted it. But that pain feels a long way away too.

The story of each girl was touching, and I found Tibby and Bailey's the most poignant. (Well, that's what I'd like to think; actually it was Carmen and Al's, but that would be admitting that the psychologists are right about pain from childhood and the like.) My point is this: I defy you, whatever your history, not to find something in this film that you will identify with deeply on some level.

Go ahead and watch it. Especially if you're a fan of any of the actors, sunny Greece, young men who turn out not to be losers after all, and friendships that prevails over all.

Just don't say I didn't warn you about the need for tissues and Haagen Dasz.


Anonymous said...

Loved this entry.....makes me happy that U are now such a Brad well as a Josh fan..and I can't wait to see Little I Manhatten..Keep up the great writing.. I enjoy it all.BTW, I found out about this blog entry thru a Bradley Whitford Google alert!! Rosemary

Claire said...

Thanks Rosemary! :) It's good to know at least one person reads, and even appreciates, my (increasingly long) ramblings!

I think you will love Little Manhattan... Meanwhile I've ordered Kate and Leopold for Friday!

That's cool re the Google alert - I know it doesn't make me famous, but somehow it feels a little bit like it does. And that makes me smile...

Anonymous said...

Like Rosemary, you and Rosemary, I have a longtime love for Brad (and Josh). I watch old episodes of WW on Bravo all the time. Hoping someday to get the complete DVD set.

And I always enjoy a Brad sighting or two in an old movie or tv show. I was watching the Loves Labor Lost ER episode on You Tube not long ago. Swoon

Nice to hear I'm not alone.