Thursday, February 19, 2009

Could I Have Lived Then?

Last night I did another Wednesday 5-o-clock movie. This time I saw The Duchess.

Long before the concept existed, the Duchess of Devonshire, Georgina Spencer (Keira Knightley), was the original "It Girl." Like her direct descendent, Princess Diana, she was ravishing, glamorous and adored by the entire country. Determined to be a player in the wider affairs of the world, she proved that she could out-gamble, out-drink and outwit most of the aristocratic men who surrounded her. She helped usher in sweeping changes to England as a leader of the forward-thinking Whig Party. But even as her power and popularity grew, she was haunted by the fact that the only man in England she could not seduce was her own husband, the Duke (Ralph Fiennes). And when she tried to find her own way to be true to her heart and loyal to her duty, the resulting controversies and convoluted liaisons pushed her to the brink of risking banishment by her husband, her family and all of London society.

Meh, the movie was okay. Much the same as all recent movies of the same style: The Other Boleyn Girl and Marie Antoinette. Mostly it just made me think about living a life back then versus now. Now I know the movies only really show the super duper upper crust of society, they were the ones with money to burn and flamboyant outfits and arranged marriages. So, it's a pretty one-sided view of life back then. But I wonder what it would've been like to be married off and told by your own mother (who presumably had been told by hers) to basically just suck it up, do you duty (ie. have babies, more importantly sons) and that was your lot in life. I know I feel like I'd be a lot more independent than that, but I guess it's the time we're brought up in. I definitely have an opinion, but has that been cultured and allowed to blossom thru my upbringing or is it just naturally there. I definitely don't think I could grin-and-bear-it like Ikea Knightley's (too much Mark Kermode!) character did. Well, certainly not in this day and age. And I wonder when and how did it change. It was 200+ or so years ago ... that's a lot of slow evolutions of opinions. And they only seem to tell the stories of the strong-willed women. The men of that time rarely come off very well. Even her love-interest in the movie didn't dazzle me.

And then again I wonder, is it not best to just get on with your life. Do we expect too much from it these days? I'm sure I do. Mostly in these stories the women start out pretty hazy-eyed, looking for true love (blah, blah) and rarely find it in their own husband. Where did they get these ideas of love and more importantly marrying the man you love (mostly their marriages seem to be more like business deals) ... it clearly wasn't happening. What made them have such rose-tinted ideas as to believe that was possible, since it never seemed to happen. Yes, they had their husband and no doubt they had plenty of lovers ... but their husband funded their lifestyle, along with his own (see, the business deal side of things). On the other hand, what makes us so determined to find our perfect, one-and-only true love that we sometimes waste away our lives. I'm not saying one shouldn't be with someone you love, or that a marriage as a business deal makes any sense ... but I'm saying that sometimes I think we're looking too hard. Sometimes I keep waiting for my life to reach some stage of perfection so I'll know I've made all the right choices. But I'm learning that that's not the most likely outcome of life. Life is choices. Sometimes they turn out to be the right ones and sometimes they don't ... mostly you never know upfront. So sometimes you just have to "do" and hope for the best. Rather than waiting around till you think you'll somehow know that something is the right choice. Mostly you'll just have wasted a lot of time not doing anything while waiting for a decision to prove itself before you make it.

I guess my point is: We never know what the right thing to do is. But sometimes you just have to do something to stop yourself from doing nothing for the rest of your life.

Now if only I could listen to my own advice ;)

Anyhoo, after the movie, I went home and relaxed with Varen and the boons. He sat next to me with his iPod in, on his laptop in Computer-Geek mode while I watched Private Practice :) That's what I love about early movies ... there's still plenty of time in the evening when you get home to relax.

Update 10h37: Oh and I totally forgot to mention ... last night after the movie I finally spent my Xmas voucher for Musica from BrotherZion. Initially I was concerned as how to spend this, let's just say I don't really buy music much. Or dvds. I watch things about once and rarely watch things more than twice. Well these days. Back in my youth, we grew up watching Rocky Horror and The Three Musketeers (ask the Peeb, I don't know why this became a "cult classic" in our household, it might've been our Tim Curry obsession, but we both know about every line of it!), at least monthly. So I spent my voucher on some good classics: The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Grease. Cheesy, I know. But they are classics and you can watch them repeatedly ... and I figure they'll be good to have one day when I want to teach my daughters about the best movies of the previous decades :) Now I just need to get Dirty Dancing and Three Musketeers and I'll be done.


boldly benny said...

I heart Rocky Horror and Grease - great choices!

Tamara said...

And Footloose. Can't forget Footloose.

i wonder the same things - would I have just assumed that it's the way life was meant to be and got on with it, or would I have raged against the system?

Guess I'll never know, but I am very glad I was born in an age where I get to pick my own path.

Unknown said...

I agree, excellent choices!!

phillygirl said...

@benny - I know!

@tamara - I must say I never really got the Footloose one :( Anyhoo, I'm glad I'm not the only one who wonders these weird things :) And I am also glad I was born now and not then ...

@roxanne - thanks :)

AngelConradie said...

ah, tim curry is brilliant!

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