Travelling back home from our latest Meals & Wheels club get-together, Mr B snoozing peacefully beside me in the passenger seat, I am listening to a radio discussion on "Films That Make Me Cry." Right up my street!
I think to myself.
It's rather a good thing, on reflection, that Mr B is napping. Firstly because, prior to nodding off, he had been somewhat scathing in his commentary on my woeful driving as I attempted
to manoeuvre the car out of our friends' drive. Ian, co-founder of the Meals and Wheels Club along with his wife, Sallie, Mr B and me, was supremely confident in my ability to follow his shouted instructions and extravagant arm gestures indicating which way
I should turn the steering wheel and how far I could reverse without backing into his front room. Mr B, it is fair to say, was less so. One might have thought that, having finally managed to get ourselves back onto the road and dancing in a homewards direction,
congratulations might have been in order - but, alas, Mr B was still traumatised by the whole Manouvering Experience and needed to vent his feelings. It was, therefore, a relief when he nodded off in mid-criticism.
Secondly, had Mr B been listening to the programme on Films That Make Me Cry", he would have had plenty more to say about me, little of it complimentary. For yes, as regular readers know, I am possessed of the Usher Gene which renders me (and many other
family members, mostly female) incapable of watching sad movies, poignant family events or episodes of Masterchef Australia (particularly the junior version) without snuffling.
I was grateful to hear that
the male presenter on the radio has wept at some of the same films as I have. Interestingly, he put forward the notion that many of today's children's films aim to pull at the heart-strings of accompanying parents and other adults. Think "Toy Story 3", when
Woody, Buzz and Co join hands as they face what looks like Certain Death. Think "Finding Nemo", the tale of the over-protective dad who braves the oceans in search of his missing clown fish son. Think "Up" and that amazing early sequence relating the sweet
but unbearably sad story of a couple from meeting to marriage to bereavement. I cried buckets at all of them, Usher Gene in over-drive.
Films from the past also knew the secret of making viewers cry. The radio
presenter reminded me of that sequence in "Bambi" when the young deer, fleeing danger, hears a shot, stops, turns a frightened head looking back in vain for his mother. We don't see - but we know exactly what has happened. Mr B and I, on a visit to Universal
Studios years ago, watched a film about the way Walt Disney created magic by persuading us to care about animated animals as if they were real life humans. To prove the point, the film played that short scene described above. Just the few minutes of film,
no preamble, no setting the scene. And there in the cinema, as Bambi turned his head up there on the big screen in front of us, I heard a child in the row behind us sob. Pure magic.
My problem is that I cry
at all kinds of films. The radio presenter, while generally sympathetic, explains that the more susceptible among us can easily be manipulated by canny film-makers with an understanding of which Cry Buttons to push. That'll be me, then.
Granddaughters Katie and Elle will never forget, I fear, how I cried during "Hotel for Dogs". No, really, I did, I'm almost ashamed to say - but then this is the Daily Blog where I have to be prepared, in the name of accuracy and integrity,
to lay bare my soul.
Have you ever seen "Hotel for Dogs"? No, I rather thought not, certainly it wasn't mentioned on the radio programme as a prime example of Films That Made Me Cry. There is this moment when
all the canine guests secretly housed in an abandoned hotel are about to be rounded up and taken by the dog-catchers to their fate. At which point social worker Bernie earns them a reprieve when he reads aloud from the guest book where Bruce, brother of Andi
(I do hope you are keeping up?) has faithfully recorded the heart-rending stories of what had happened to each dog before it found sanctuary at the Hotel for Dogs.
Are you weeping yet?
Just me, then...