The Notebook

Recommended with Caution. This was an emotionally rich and moving story for me. First off, I absolutely loved the premise and couldn’t wait to see the movie when I read about it in development a couple years ago. An old man reads the same love story everyday to an old woman with Senile Dementia (at first, it was Alzheimers) only to realize that it is their love story. I may not be smart, but I know what love is, and that is one of the most gut wrenching heart tugging premises I have ever heard. So the story is about a romance that takes place in the 40s and ends in the present, 60 years later. Let me tell you, these modern kid movies about falling in love and teen and college romance, and young love etc. don’t know anything about the real depth and richness that love can achieve after a lifetime of devotion and commitment. Young love doesn’t hold a candle to mature love. And that is what this movie is about. It’s a classic Romeo and Juliet story about a girl, Allie, with rich Southern background who falls in love with a poor lumber worker, Noah. Of course, the parents don’t want it because they are raising her to marry wealthy. Allie goes back home to New York and Noah goes to fight in the war. They lose touch, and Allie falls in love with Lon, a high society guy who is everything her parents want AND what she enjoys. A rarity since she is so rebellious. But just when she is about to marry him, she realizes that she is still in love with Noah, and always has been. She may love Lon, but she is IN love with Noah. Just before the wedding, she goes back to visit Noah, to try to wrap up her past so she can get on with her life. But of course, she cannot because she is still madly in love with Noah. Her internal struggle is that she has always done what others wanted her to do in life and what she thought she SHOULD do rather than what she wanted to do. With Noah, she feels more alive and free than with anyone. He affirms her long lost love to paint. Something that fades in her wealthy world of high society. But what’s cool about it is that her wealthy world is not a cruel prison, as in the propagandistic Titanic, it’s actually a pretty good world, and Lon is actually a great and loving guy, but it’s just not her heart’s truest desire. This is a great premise, because unlike Titanic, this story is more real in setting up two worlds that are both good, but one is just best. So will she choose the best and sacrifice the good? Will she give up her security and choose the man who makes her come alive, but is of less means? Security and a good life versus poverty and the best life. The reason this is so dear to me if because I feel it is, in a sense what my wife did when she chose me. She did not choose a secure rich life, but she chose love and a man with passion and vision for what is important in life. At least, that’s what I’d like to think ☺. Anyway, another mature and wise thing about this story is that it shows that Noah and Allie are so passionate with each other that they are also passionate fighters as well. The good comes with the bad. Passion has a both a good and a bad side. You may experience higher highs with Passion, but also lower lows. This is scary thing for Allie, but Noah reminds her, “Of course, this isn’t going to be easy, We fight a lot. Because that’s what we do. It’s going to be hard. But we’ll work through it together for the rest of our lives. And I promise to love you forever.” And of course, they do, and we see that Noah’s love lasts their whole lives with devotion and dedication, even when she forgets who he is. So it’s not just about the fires of young passionate love, but about enduring devoted love, a real lacking in modern romances.

What I didn’t like about the movie was the fornication. Unfortunately, they played up premarital sex too strongly as something that is right to consummate their love. The fact that Allie had wild sex with Noah right before she was going to be wed to another man shows an abysmal lack of character that most people simply do not have a clue about. A person who will follow their passions rather than do the right thing makes for explosive drama but not for quality character in real life. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for passion and going with your heart and dream, but it is simply selfish to elevate passion as the ultimate arbiter of goodness or right. Sometimes we must do the right thing even if our passions tell us not to. A woman of character and trustworthiness would have broken off the engagement and saved the sexual consummation for marriage. You can be very passionate and still do the right thing. I know, because that’s what I did. After all, if she would be unfaithful in her engagement because of her passions, upon what basis could either of them trust the other in their marriage when temptation comes along for a new passionate tryst? The reality of life is that passion always wanes, temptations will surely come, and then what do you want, the person of passion or of character? Also, I am so tired of how romances overwhelmingly tend to be stories about how the chaotic Existential “against the rules” person “frees up” the musty, uptight person who is bound by society’s rules. Just another humanistic, modernist prejudice. In real life these Existential thrill seekers who live for experience and passion without rules most often end up destroying relationships and marriages because after all, if they live for the moment and think “doing the right thing” is oppressive, then why do we think they will stick around and work through problems when problems inevitably and ALWAYS DO arrive? Life, and commitment is hard work, and rewards come from sticking to the right thing, not following your heart, as it turns every which way. “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) But in this story, though Noah is portrayed as a man of passion, he is shown to be a man of promise as well, in that he builds the house he promised to Allie even when he thought he lost her. When she asks him why he did, he replies, “Because I promised you I would.” And he writes to her every single day for a year even though she never gets the letters and doesn’t reply. So I think there is balance here that warrants respect for this mature understanding of love that balances passion with devotion and promise. It’s just too sad that in the real world, there are far too many men of passion who do not have character and devotion, and so end up destroying so many lives by ending up passionately unfaithful. Another touch of Romanticism that I did not care for is the elevation of this human love as the ultimate love in life. They say “our love can make miracles.” So they end up dying together in bed, a “miracle of their love.” While loving a spouse for an entire life is certainly one of the highest loves to experience, it is really empty and vain to me if it is not rooted in a higher love, a transcendent love of God. This is the only eternal love that can give human love any real value. Without the love of God, all human love is just tragic foreplay to death. When you know the love of God, you understand how much human love pales in comparison, but at the same time how human love is given its true ultimate value in being rooted in something higher. Self-evident truth: Man is not God. So no matter how hard we try to deify human love, we are unsatisfied. As Augustine said to God, “Thou has made our hearts restless till they rest in thee.”

The Terminal

Recommended, but not highly. There is just something magical about Tom Hanks to me that makes everything he does so appealing as the everyman. Which is why, if this was some other star in the movie, I would have considered it somewhat plodding. This is a story, about a traveler, Viktor Navorsky, from a small Eastern European country who is stranded at JFK airport because his country erupts in civil war which makes it cease to have national status, and therefore places Viktor unable to enter the United States or to fly home because of legal technicalities with international passport laws. He is a man without a country. He then ends up living in the Terminal for almost a year, while the head of security, played by Stanley Tucci relentlessly hounds him as the antagonist. And of course, Viktor falls in love with a stewardess, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones. Viktor’s cute little anecdotal experiences with some of the airport personal make for some humorous, if not very believable, episodes. The themes behind this film center around waiting for life to happen versus making your life through your choices. Not bad. The stewardess is a woman who can’t extricate herself from an adulterous relationship with a married man, because she keeps foolishly hoping against hope that he will divorce his wife. Men can be pigs – but boy, women can be stupid. Of course, he won’t leave his wife, and she wastes her life waiting. Until she meets Viktor, who loves her for who she is and treats her with the respect she needs. One of the cool things I liked about this film was its unusual point about character. The stewardess never can give up her hope for the married man. She keeps going back to him, and therefore loses Viktor in the end. Viktor moves on when his country is back together. It is a bittersweet ending, but a good one. Viktor is too good for this woman, and we see that the romantic emotions of love are not the highest value, but character is. Very unusual for a romantic comedy for the boy NOT to get the girl. But another cool thread carries the film, that of grace, and loving the unlovable. Of course, the airport personnel are quirky characters. Anyway, when the security head discovers that several of the airport personnel are good friends of Viktor, and that they each have reasons to be fired, he uses this against Viktor to try to get him to go home rather than stay in New York and achieve his ambition of fulfilling his father’s dream of getting a famous Jazz singer’s autograph. If Viktor does not go home on the next plane, the security head will fire these guys and deport one of them back to India where he awaits charges of assault and battery. The Indian guy, with the name Gupta, was a fugitive from his own country. And Viktor became one of his only friends. Viktor sacrifices his dream to protect his friends. But when Gupta finds out about this, he basically turns himself in to the police with a diversion and allows Viktor to go and get his father’s dream autograph. Gupta gets himself deported. Now the security man cannot stop Viktor cause he has nothing over him. It’s a perfect picture of grace. Gupta is shown grace by Viktor’s sacrifice, the innocent for the guilty, so Gupta responds with repentance and accepts his own responsibility for his past actions. Very powerful grace and atonement theme. Those who respond to grace (Gupta) find redemption, and those who do not (Stewardess) continue on in miserable lives.

Jersey Girl

Recommended for adults. I was pleasantly surprised with this one. I had expected the typical Kevin Smith agenda-driven, overly wordy, excessively profane self-importance of his other movies. But it was not. It was a rather touching and sensitive story about a selfish publicist who has a baby girl and loses his wife, only to be forced into taking care of his child by himself. He learns that people and family are more important than career and personal ambition. Hey, now that is great. And Mr. Smith told the story with less profanity than normal (though arguably still too much). The publicist, played by Ben Affleck, is refreshing in his commitment to his daughter. When was the last time you saw a movie where a guy doesn’t have sex with women since his wife because of his dedication to his little girl and turns down a “free jump” because it isn’t right? Then, when he does give in to a sex opportunity, he is caught before he gets too far by the little girl and faced with his own moral challenge that he told her: “sex is only for married people.” I was shocked. Maybe Smith thought it would be original to have some traditional morality in a movie, and sadly he is right. There is a scene in the beginning where Ben is talking to his baby daughter about her mother and it is over the top, wordy, on the nose, tell us what you are thinking on your sleeve scene. But it wasn’t terrible. This movie convicted me about my own life and keeping people and my marriage as a higher priority than my dreams.

Lost in Translation

Dramatically recommended, but not morally. This is the sleeper indie film of the year. A real milestone for Sofia Coppola, coming into her own as a writer-director. Great dialogue, great acting, humorous understated moments, and poignant cultural insights about people’s alienation and search for human connection. Just bad morals. The story is about a has-been 50-year old film star and a newly married young woman making a human connection in the midst of great alienation. Bill Murray is the bored celebrity, Bob Harris, boringly married 25 years, who has to do some whiskey commercials for a week or so in Tokyo and Scarlett Johansson is Charlotte, a young woman, married two years to an entertainment photographer who is on assignment in Tokyo as well – and much too busy to spend real time with his beloved. Well, Bob and Charlotte meet in the hotel bar and strike up a friendship based on mutual alienation from the world around them. Everything in this movie very creatively communicates our alienation and our desire yet inability to “translate” or make real human connection with other people. Some of it is very amusing, and all of it is tragically poignant and true. Murray trying to understand the directions of his Japanese commercial director, who speaks for 30 seconds but is translated into a few English words; the differences of East and West culture; and even the tendency toward alienation in marriage. Charlotte’s husband’s world is vain emptiness as we meet one of the actresses he has photographed and her empty-headed shallow lifestyle. Bob is visited by a prostitute who is sent by the Whiskey company, who mistakenly thinks he wants or needs one. She can’t speak English so she plays a role of “being forced upon” all the while not realizing that Bob really doesn’t want to have sex with her. The whole lack of human connection in prostitution or anonymous sex is really spelled out well here. The movie does drag out a couple times with some overlong sequences that tend to bore. For instance, there is a karaoke sequence that is, oh I don’t know, about 5 minutes long or so, and it could have been a mere 30 seconds. Instead they croon on and on, singing their songs, long after the funny point has been made about the shallow false human connection we have with our own entertainment. Bob’s removal from so much of the shallowness and insanity around him is revealed in a great line when he says to Charlotte, “The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less things upset you.”

Interesting that this is Scarlett’s second movie this year about intimacy without sexuality, the other one being Girl With A Pearl Earring (see my 2003 movie blog). I have to say that for all the clever moments, and all the great writing and acting, etc, this movie is unfortunately a story that celebrates emotional adultery. The very clever and unique thing is that the lead characters never consummate their relationship with sexual intercourse, and so the sexual tension is the essence of the subtext throughout. Of course, this is only a tension because we are brainwashed in our Romanticized humanistic entertainment culture into thinking that a deep connection must lead to sexuality, that the ultimate human contact is the sexual love of another person. Not necessarily true. But unfortunately, this story is a celebration of a human connection that is made in the midst of great loneliness and alienation. The bad thing is that this connection is not shown to be illicit, but redeeming. As the characters share their experience with one another, they find a connection that neither of them have with their spouses. Bob’s marriage of 25 years has degenerated into mere function, raising kids and being a father with an unromantic relationship with his wife. They don’t talk about missing one another, but about what color should he pick for the carpeting in his new home office. At one point, his wife senses he is experiencing the mid-life crisis when he says he wants to eat more healthy and be more healthy (the typical response of a man who has a newly discovered lust, I mean “love”). She asks him, “Should I be worried about you?” He replies, “Only if you want to.” He is so desperate for intimacy, and yet she glosses right over it by pointing out that his kids miss their “Father,” with an emphasis on that word “father,” stressing his moral responsibility. No mention of HER MISSING HIM. She stresses moral obligation over emotion, which is empty. This story is another “follow your heart over do the right thing.” Feelings over morality. Charlotte’s husband is insensitive and a workaholic, which also is a rationalization for her emotional infidelity. After they go through their experiences and fail to sleep together, Bob is on his way to the airport home, never to see Charlotte again. The tension of them wanting to be with each other is at its apex. Bob sees Charlotte walking down the street and stops his car, runs to her and shares an intimate kiss and whisper that we as the audience cannot hear. They then leave each other and there is a sense of satisfaction, of that verbalization of what they were both suppressing the whole story, and not really saying. They make the human connection. One almost has the impression that it gives hope for the future. Deliberately ambiguous to keep some openness, but the connection is definitely made, and it is a connection outside of their marriages, rather than a revelation pointing them back to their marriages. It is adultery of the heart, which Jesus said is just as serious to God as physical adultery. But rather than Charlotte’s and Bob’s experience leading to an appreciation and celebration or redemption of their own marriages, their “connection” turns out to be their little secret with one another that they cherish outside of their marriages. This is the Romantic humanistic selfish worldview, the easy way out. Rather than working hard and fixing your marriage, rather than “do the right thing,” the story suggests “follow your heart” and find connection elsewhere. These kind of movies miss the heart of what real love and intimacy is all about, changing one’s self through interdependency with another. Real love is often painful, because real love is as much about becoming a better person as it is making a human connection. Real intimacy and love reveals one’s selfishness and forces you to change yourself. Lost in Translation is wasted potential. An almost-great movie.

American Splendor

Ambivalent Recommendation. This is an interesting movie based on the real life, below average existence of pessimist Harvey Pekar, a file clerk who became a comic book legend (along with a couple of his coworkers). The movie is done with some very creative self-reflective storytelling. Though the film is a dramatic narrative, there is an occasional cutaway to the real Harvey Pekar in documentary style self-reference, commenting on the movie and interacting with the actors. Harvey even comments on how the actor playing him doesn’t really look like him (he actually does). The premise is the premise of the comicbook, namely that Harvey is inspired by his hum drum existence and pessimistic perspective to make a comic book about “real” life, about the insanity of normalcy, to combat the unrealistic flights of fancy that most people read about in comics (and the movies in this case). His mantra throughout is that people need to face “reality” and stop living in dream worlds. Interesting though that the film is self-aware that it is NOT reality with its documentary anecdotes and the comicbook style cinematography. Harvey gets cancer and we go through this part of his life as well, the “reality” of it being edited down to brief references. And that is the central deceit of “realism.” Whose “reality” is reality? To suggest that one’s own perceptions and interpretations of reality (Harvey’s being pessimistic) are the center of the universe, the “true reality” that others are missing, is perhaps the most ignorant and unreal self-absorbed arrogance. To claim privilege of perception is the prerogative of deity. So realism is actually more akin to original sin: pride. A better story would be for Harvey to grow up and realize that maybe there is a “reality” outside of his perception and negativity. That indeed, HE is the one who is blind to a world of possibilities outside of himself. It’s a fallen world, yes, but it is fallen splendor, a world created by God as “good,” with much pain, but much beauty. Wake up, Harvey. You’re in the Matrix.

Cold Mountain

Not really recommended. You know, after the moral atrocity that was The English Patient, I didn’t know Minghella could actually appreciate true virtues. Or at least try to, as he tries in this film to do so. Unfortunately, it ends up being the same old Romantic worship of individual feelings over higher values that The English Patient was. First of all, Nicole Kidman is brilliant, playing the Southern Belle waiting for her man, Jude Law, to return from the Civil War. Renee Zellweger is also great as a woman who teaches the aristocratic Kidman to learn how to fend for herself with pragmatic knowledge. This is a great and typically American critique of aristocratic high culture. Kidman can name the constellations in the night sky but doesn’t know true north to navigate. She can arrange flower displays, but doesn’t know how to grow flowers. She can play music, but doesn’t know a thing about a farm. And when her father dies and she is left alone to fend for herself and tend the farm, she is a failure until Renee shows up and teaches her like a student while she forces her to milk the cows and plant the crops. It’s a great critique of useless knowledge for status sake in favor of knowledge of how to survive. Aristocracy versus the working man – or woman. Unfortunately, Jude Law is completely soulless in his portrayal as the Confederate soldier who deserts the war to go back to his beloved to marry her. What was great about this film was how it elevated the honorableness of two lovers saving themselves sexually for each other, especially the man, through temptations and trials. Nice to see that such “antiquated” values are still elevated in some movies, surprising though it may be in a world filled with fornication to excess (although they usually have to take place in the “distant” past). This is something that was a noble part of Southern culture, respect for women and politeness toward them. Even when the lovers consummate at the end, there is an attempt to validate it through impromptu marriage vows, AFTER Jude says he will wait for the wedding ceremony even after all these three years of searching and finally finding her. Now, that is virtue. Virginity as virtue . I was grateful for the balance of viewpoints in showing both Northern and Southern soldiers as capable of goodness and evil. It is so typical and pure bigoted prejudice to always show the South as all wicked and evil people and the Northerners as heros. Two other movies that break that bigoted mold against the South are Ride With the Devil and Gods and Generals. Since it is an updating of the Odyssey, Cold Mountain plays with the idea of fate, as one character says, “There’s a plan for each and every one of us. We all got a job.” Sad to say, the true living God is ignored in this understanding, in a way that violates history, since most Southerners were very strong Christians. Of course, Christianity does get it’s stereotypical riddling in the pastor, played well by Philip Seymour Hoffman, guilty of being the secret wanton sex addict. Predictable stereotype. But at least Kidman’s father was an authentic man of God (a pastor too), so there’s some balance there. The real violation of this story is that it is another Existentialist war movie. It denigrates higher causes and elevates human lovers as the highest good to seek. This is woefully unsatisfying for anyone who has seen the true end of such things. The Existentialist lives for the moment, not for the future or for something higher than himself. As Jude Law says, the moments he had with Kidman were everything, even the moments that they dreamed in their hearts while separated. “It don’t matter if they’re real or made up. The shape of your neck, that’s real.” The Existentialist notion that abstract thoughts are nothing compared to real human experience. So Minghella’s worldview considers personal subjective experience of one another to be the significance of life. How shallow and empty because not only do people, including lovers, fail one another, but they are not eternal within themselves. Moments and experiences and people have no value if they are not rooted in an eternal, outside and higher than one’s self. If Minghella thinks the physical experiences with one another is all we have, then he’s living in the Matrix, baby. And you know, no matter what side you are on, North or South, the Civil War sure did have higher values worth fighting and dying for. To negate that as unimportant in a sort of “can’t we all get along” simplistic pacifism is worse than ignorant, it is criminal. This is very common now in war movies to reject the “higher cause” in favor of the individual. But we have to realize that the result of this Romantic Individualism is NOT to give value to the individual as they suppose, but to totally deny value to the individual altogether. Without a higher cause, there is nothing but the will to power. The strong eat the weak, and that’s just too bad for the weak. For more detail on this see my article: “War Movies: The New Trend in Themes”

I think one of the reasons why the movie is not doing well at the box office is because after this 2 hour and 30 minute journey of getting back to his sweetheart, Jude Law dies at the end. He is killed by the marauding bounty hunters who are tracking down deserters so they can get their lands and possessions, Kidman’s farm being the biggest prize. Well, I must applaud the storytellers here because it is a moment of higher values in a movie filled with Romantic individualism. Jude really must die because after all, he is a deserter that is deserving of death no matter what your side of the war. Desertion is cowardice and treason, which is not a good character trait to invest in your hero. That makes this a flawed heroic journey, and thus an unsatisfying one for the viewer.

Girl With a Pearl Earring

Recommended with qualifications. A fictional story of the historical Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer and the occasion of his famous painting, “Girl with a Pearl Earring.” The girl is portrayed as a maidservant hired by Jan’s wife, whose beauty becomes the inspiration for said masterpiece. It is a story about adultery. But not your classic tale of physical infidelity. There is never a consummation. But rather, it is about the reality of adultery of the heart. Jesus said that to even lust after a woman who is not your wife is considered adultery of the heart by God and is just as serious. Boy, that one doesn’t go over too well in modern society. But it is treated with exquisite subtlety and profundity here. Using an artist to do so is the most believable because artists are obsessed with beauty. They can spot and adore minute sensual details: the curve of a neck, the delicacy of an eyelash, every hair on a woman’s head, even to the perfect placement of a single strand. We artists can really worship every detail of beauty and thus can be the perfect metaphor for the reality of inner lust. Colin Firth plays Vermeer with understated poise and passion. Scarlett Johannson is hauntingly perfect for the role as Griet, the Girl with a Pearl Earring. This movie is like a dutch painting in many of it’s scenes as well as the minimalist dialogue with an emphasis on repressed passion. It is powerful. I have a couple problems with it. First, the ending is very Bridges of Madison County selfishness. It sets up the ravishes of adultery of the heart, but plays for the passion of lust over the passion of love. Griet is let go when Vermeer’s wife discovers she is the apple of his eye. That the girl can understand beauty and color and light like a painter. Because Griet has more in common with Jan than his own wife. The pearl earring is a powerful metaphor for the heart’s treasure as it is Vermeer’s wife’s favorite most exquisite and treasured piece of jewelry, the act of wearing alone which proves a violation of the marriage intimacy. It’s all really quite spiritual without capitulating to mere symbolism or allegory. I mean you really sense what is going on in the hearts of these people between the lines of their outward behavior. It’s brilliant storytelling that incarnates the theme in the behavior of the characters, not merely their words. And the last shot shows Griet receiving the treasured pearl earrings from Vermeer as a gift, indicating very clearly that she has his heart even without the physical consummation. This is the typical Existentialist or Romantic ethic that places passion as the highest value over honor. Follow your heart over do your duty. (And yes, another topic I write an entire chapter about in my book, Hollywood Worldviews). It had such good potential to end tragically for the moral high ground, but chose selfishness as virtue. Ah, will we ever be rid of self-obsessed selfish Romanticism? My second problem has to do with it being a fictional speculative interpretation of a real person’s life. I have a real love/hate relationship with this postmodern fictionalizing of non-fiction. On the one hand, I don’t have a big problem with telling a speculative story if you remain true to the spirit of the historical people or event (Witness Braveheart). But on the other hand, if your story impugns someone’s character as does this story with Vermeer (It accuses him of previous infidelity and suggests it as an ongoing character trait), and you have no evidence of such failings, then you are instilling unfair prejudice against a person. I am not aware that there is any knowledge of such behavior in Vermeer’s life, but if there was, even rumors of it, then that would be fine to portray it as a possibility, but if there isn’t any indication of such licentiousness, then to suggest there was is more than unfair, it is libelous.

Beyond Borders

Not Recommended. This was a potentially great idea ruined by Romanticism. It follows the path of Sarah, played by Angelina Jolie as a married woman in the English high society who awakens to the true plight of the third world one day when an activist doctor, played by Clive Owen, crashes a high falutin dinner party that is raising money for such projects. He brings a real kid who is really suffering and chastises everyone for their fraudulent “help” because the plug is being pulled on his project and lives are going to be lost. SO Sarah is inspired and gets involved in relief work. She travels around the world to the Sudan, Cambodia and eventually, Chechnya to help the suffering in the midst of political and military upheaval. Of course, she meets Clive, the doctor and they fall in love, but do nothing because she is married. The Romanticism of this movie lies in making Angelina stay with her husband for the sake of her child, even though he is an adulterer. But as she gets more involved in her work, she keeps seeing Clive and eventually falls for him. They consummate (read: fornicate), but realize they can never be together because they are in different worlds and can neither of them leave their own world for the other. So they are doomed to seeing each other every few years in different lands. This sets up the Romantic notion that doing the right thing versus following your passion leads to tragedy. Angelina and Clive are created as characters of true love and passion and connection who cannot be together because she stays with her family. Her husband’s adultery becomes the pragmatic justification for her embracing her adultery. Hey, after all, they weren’t really in love anyway, right? And hey, he’s an adulterer too, so there! This movie reminds me of the despicable Bridges of Madison County, that justified Meryl Streep’s character in her adultery as the only true experience of love and passion in her life. And even though she stayed with her husband, even though she “did the right thing,” she treasured her adultery all her life as the one true experience of life and love from which she thrived. Rather than work out the issues and grow to love her lifelong partner LIKE AN ADULT, no, she had to follow illicit passions and treasure those experiences of lust as love. What a selfish child, if you ask me. At least in Beyond Borders, her husband was an adulterer. In Bridges, the husband wasn’t even half bad. Well, same story in Beyond Borders. They even have a tragic ending where Angelina gives her life to save her lover so he can be with the baby that resulted from their union. Very epic and melancholic sadness. Great acting, good emotional writing and storytelling. It’s all very epic feeling and grand, and a compelling story. Unfortunately, it is immoral Romanticism.