Tag Archives: movie

The Greatest Romance Ever.

26 Mar

Last night, I went to see the new Jane Eyre movie with my friend Jess. It was SO good. I first read the book in 9th grade, then re-read it last November, so when I heard that they were coming out with a new movie, I just had to see it. Travis and I even made a deal that if I went and saw True Grit with him, he would go see Jane Eyre with me. Well, he didn’t go last night, but the movie was so good, I might still make him go with me so I can see it again.

The movie stayed almost completely true to the book, which I was delighted to see. But it also, inevitably, left out so many good parts that I still hold to my belief that the book is always better than the movie. The slow development of the romance between Jane and Mr. Rochester is so much more anticipatory and well-founded in the book; in the movie, it just feels like their relationship moves so fast.

Nonetheless, the movie did get the scene where Mr. Rochester asks Jane to marry him completely right. I started crying, it was so beautiful. Even today, I am still thinking about that love story. There is something about that kind of deep, emotional love story (not the kind we have today where it’s about looks, success, and circumstances) that stirs longings in your heart.

I think a lot of women use romance novels to escape their real lives. I mean, let’s be honest. Marriage isn’t glamorous. As wonderful and amazing as having a life partner and best friend is, and as life-changing as it was to fall in love and get married, soon real life sets in and those butterflies in the stomach and telling gazes fade away (for most couples, though some are very lucky to retain those). Women turn to these tales of romance in order to live vicariously through someone else’s love story.

But the amazing truth is, we are all called into The Greatest Romance Ever with God Himself. Jane Eyre was simple, plain, and small. All her life, she had been treated despicably by others, like she was less than the dirt they walked on. She viewed herself very lowly. She did not expect anyone to take notice of her, and yet in her heart, she yearned for someone to do just that. We are like that – dying for Someone to take notice of us, to see in us a value that no one else sees, to validate us, love us, and esteem us.

Enter Mr. Rochester. He sees something in Jane no one else has ever taken the time to notice. He defies social convention and perhaps his own common sense to unite himself to her in marriage. He chooses to fore-go a “sensible” marriage, one with Miss Ingram who is a sophisticated, elegant lady to marry his true love, Jane Eyre.

When Jane is told by the housekeeper that Mr. Rochester is making wedding preparation, her heart is broken. She assumes her true love is going to marry someone else. And certainly that makes sense. How could Jane, so lowly and plain, merely a paid subordinate, expect Mr. Rochester to marry her?

But that was not Mr. Rochester’s plan all along. He loved Jane. And as they are standing in the middle of the garden, after many abstracts and misunderstandings, Mr. Rochester asks Jane to go through life at his side, as his wife. Jane can hardly believe her ears. “You love me?” she asks, incredulous.

Here, we “catch sight of…the power of the Higher, just in so far as it is truly Higher, to come down, the power of the greater to include the less,” as C. S. Lewis writes in Miracles (though not about Jane Eyre specifically). We see the rich, sophisticated Mr. Rochester condescending to love Jane Eyre, the governess in his household – an allegory of the Greatest Romance where God Himself, in the person of Jesus Christ, condescended to love lowly sinners, completely undeserving in every way, by making the Greatest Sacrifice Ever.

Mr. Rochester is described in the book as having harsh features, made even harsher by his frequently being in an ill humor. Jane was not pretty either; she was very plain, simple, and small. Yet, Mr. Rochester’s spirit united with Jane’s spirit in the deepest form of love.

Likewise, Christ “he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2). We are like orphans covered in blood, abandoned, despised (Ezekiel 16:5-6). But Christ’s spirit unites us with His through His sacrifice and we find in Him everything we’ve been longing for our entire lives.

All of the great romances and stories that stir longings in our hearts are really versions of the gospel. I am so thankful that I can watch a movie like Jane Eyre, which awakens my own heart-desire for a Great Romance, and find that exact thing in the Love of my life: Jesus Christ.

“Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)

Inspirations from a Shopaholic

22 Feb

I just got back from seeing Confessions of a Shopaholic with 2 of my girl friends. SUCH a cute movie! *Sigh* I love chick flicks. There’s nothing like a good girlie movie to put you in a good mood!

I left the movie theater feeling inspired, uplifted, hopeful. Not because I feel like my spending problems have finally been put in perspective (since I don’t have spending problems) but because the character of Rebecca Bloomberg made me realize a few things.

1. It’s okay to be a girlie girl. I’ll admit it: I love shiny things. I love sparkles and glitter–even just the words. I love being pampered with spa treatments, hair cuts and dyes, makeup, manicures, pedicures. I love bright colors, new clothes, fun purses, cute shoes, and the perfect accessories. My love for those things used to get me in a bunch of trouble a la Rebecca Bloomwood (though not quite to that extent) but since becoming a Christian, my priorities have changed and I realize that no, a cute new perfect-with-this-outfit purse is not going to make me happy.

But so often, I get trapped into the mentality that to be a happy, carefree, clueless-about-certain-things kind of girl is a no-no. You have to be serious, smart, and sensible. Um, no I don’t! 

2. It’s okay to be yourself. Throughout the movie, Rebecca Bloomwood gets into enough awkward social situations that I’m pretty sure I watched 3/4 of the movie through my fingers because my hands were covering my face in empathetic embarrassment. But she has a contagious personality and everyone loves her.

Yes, it is a movie (originally a fictitious book) but I think that there is a message there nonetheless: embrace who you are. You may be awkward in social situations, say things at the wrong time, do stupid things without thinking about them, and get yourself into situations that are humiliating yet humbling. But if that’s who you are, then embrace it!

I have the blessing/curse of being analytical about everything. It’s a blessing as a writer but a curse in any social situation. Instead of being myself and saying whatever I’m thinking around other people, I analyze it first, think about how it would sound if I said it, wonder how the others will receive it. It holds me back often. Even though I cringed at all her faux pas, I want to be more like Rebecca Bloomwood: vivacious, audacious, and lively.

3. Life should be full of adventure and challenge. God did not intend for life to be sterile and predictable. As a creature of comfort, this is a truth that I so quickly forget (or in many instances, ignore). A predictable life is easy. But it’s also boring and a shame.

A lot of Rebecca Bloomwood’s drama is her own fault–she has told lies, dodged creditors and they are coming back to bite her. But some of the excitement comes from who she is–she goes after what she wants and is determined. She puts herself into intimidating circumstances (like the business press conference at the beginning when she stands up and asks a question and the APA conference where she meets dozens of fellow journalists). Again, it is a movie and my life will never resemble hers. But it snapped me out of my ho-hum existence and reminded me that there’s more to life than this.

It is this realization that makes me especially grateful for my husband. He makes life unpredictable. He is always playing around, singing, whistling, joking. I’m always serious. I think I could learn a thing or two from Travis about lightening up a bit and not taking everything so seriously–about having fun in life!

So there you have it folks, the inspirations I took away from a Shopaholic. I highly recommend the movie if you like chick flicks.

Back home.

30 Dec

Well, we made it back to Colorado. Our drive back was uneventful, thank God. We left Rochester around 9:15 AM and drove into our driveway in Wheat Ridge around 9:55 PM. Not bad.

I always feel weird saying we’re “back home” because in my mind, it’s an enigma. I feel like Minnesota is home. When people asked me about my plans for Christmas, I always said “We’re going back home to Minnesota.” But then, when we drive back to Colorado, we’re coming back to the place we live 50 weeks out of the year. We own a house here. We have jobs here. Our church is here. We have good friends here. It has definitely become more familiar and comfortable to live out here but I don’t know if it necessarily feels like home…or if it ever will feel that way.

Anyway, for our last few days in MN, Travis and I hung out with my family in Rochester, where I grew up. I hadn’t been back in about a year and a half, on account of Travis’ cat allergy (last year’s Thanksgiving and Christmas were celebrated at my parents’ cabin in Pine City, MN). But this year was supposed to be different. Travis had gotten acupuncture treatment for his cat allergy and the doctor had proclaimed at his last checkup that Travis was cured. Well, he wasn’t. His allergy is still there. It may be slightly weaker but nonetheless, we were forced to retreat to the Extended Stay America instead of the nice, cozy, queen bed downstairs.

Friday night, after Travis and I arrived in Rochester, my whole family (minus Jeremy and Jen, who couldn’t come up because of Jen’s new job) ate dinner and watched Wall-E. I think that is such a cute movie. Wall-E has cute, little puppy dog eyes. Waaaaaalllllleeeee!!!

Saturday, we had breakfast around 9:30, then opened presents (I got a new 4.5 quart saucepan!), and then went to see Seven Pounds at the theater. That was a good movie. It was all I could do to not break down sobbing at the end. So sad. Travis and I were talking about it later…the movie really illustrates humanity’s desire (and need) for a Savior. [Warning: spoiler.] Tim (Will Smith) gives his life, organs, and house to help 7 people as a way to repay the 7 deaths he caused (including that of his fiancee) in a car accident. At once, his ultimate decision seems both selfless and selfish. Selfless because he’s voluntarily giving up his possessions and even his life to help random people (who he has proven are “worthy” because they are “good people”). Selfish because the decisions are motivated by his own personal guilt. He gives his life to save 7 others’–but only after he first destroyed 7 in the first place.

It’s a wonderful, heart-wrenching story, really. But it made me think about how much more amazing the true gospel is. Jesus didn’t do anything wrong. There was absolutely no reason why He should even think twice about dying for us to have life. And yet, He did. Moreover, Jesus didn’t prove that we were essentially good people. In fact, we’re the very opposite of good. We’re depraved. We’re children of wrath. We can’t do and don’t do anything right or good on our own merits. Like it says in Isaiah 64, our good deeds are like filthy rags to God. But still, Jesus died for us. He died that we may have life. And while for Emily (Rosario Dawson) in Seven Pounds, the gift of life meant not being able to spend that life with her love, Tim, we in Christ not only have life but life with Christ. He is risen and alive. That was the purpose of His death and resurrection: so that we could be with Him in heaven forever.

Anyway, I would definitely recommend seeing that movie. After the movie, we dropped Travis off at the hotel so that he could rest in a cat-free environment and the rest of us went to the house and played Chickenfoot with dominoes–a very fun game might I add (especially with my family, who gets all riled up when someone thwarts their strategy). Then we picked Travis back up and drove to Mantorville to eat dinner at the historic Hubbell House. Very cool. I love seeing pictures and reading about people who lived hundreds of years ago. Ulysses S. Grant and Charles Mayo are 2 of the many famous people who have eaten there. But if you ever go there, though, don’t get a salad. They’re nothing to talk about.

Sunday morning, after a quick breakfast at Panera with the fam, Travis and I started the long journey back to Colorado. And so ended our Christmas Vacation. It went by so fast and it was felt very different not spending Christmas Eve with my family, doing our traditions of fondue, present opening, and the candlelight service at our church. But alas, getting older means letting go of things you used to do and people you used to see. Life moves on.

I would be sad that our vacation is over and that we’re back in Colorado without our families if it weren’t for our upcoming trip to Puerto Vallarta in March. My parents’ Christmas presents to all of us kids (and signficant others) was a weeklong stay at the all-inclusive Vallarta Palace. We just have to pay for our own airfare, which Travis and I did yesterday. We were able to find tickets for about $500 a person out of Denver, which is a lot better than flying out of Minneapolis–tickets out of there are more like $700 a piece! Yowsa! My parents, 3 brothers, and their wives/girlfriend are all going, as well as my uncle, aunt, and their 3 sons. A big, fun-loving group! I can hardly wait.

Our upcoming Mexico vacation and the overabundance (and overconsumption!) of Christmas cookies and sugary treats have led Travis and I to a sort of detox plan: we can’t eat sweets (chocolate, ice cream, donuts, candy, cake, bars, etc) or drink soda until we are sitting on the beach in Mexico, with a waiter asking us what kind of free alcoholic beverage we would like to sip while watching the dolphins swim through silver hoops. If you remember, I have been trying to limit my sweets intake for the past several months but to no avail. Finally, Travis has agreed to do it with me (and in fact, it was his idea!) so I think this time it will work. I can let myself down, but I can’t let Travis down. We’re also going to keep each other accountable for exercising at least 3 times a week (I’m shooting for 6 days a week but realize that may not always be possible). Travis also wants to learn about portion sizes so that he knows how much he is eating (I can tell you right now that he eats about 3 servings of cereal for breakfast and about 2.5 servings of pasta when we have it for dinner).

Here’s to a healthy 2009 and 2 Mexico-ready bodies by March 15th!!! Wish us luck!