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Amy Hempel; Love Actually
So I’m being a good girl and reading The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel the way the New York Times’s 10 Best Books of 2006 list told me to. I have to share with you this one-page story:

In the Animal Shelter

Every time you see a beautiful woman, someone is tired of her, so the men say. And I know where they go, these women, with their tired beauty that someone doesn’t want—these women who must live like the high Sierra white pine, there since before the birth of Christ, fed somehow by the alpine wind.

They reach out to the animals, day after day smoothing fur inside a cage, saying, "How is Mama’s baby? Is Mama’s baby lonesome?"

The women will leave at the end of the day, stopping to ask an attendant, "Will they go to good homes?" And come back in a day or so, stooping to examine a one-eyed cat, asking, as though they intend to adopt, "How would I introduce a new cat to my dog?"

But there is seldom an adoption; it matters that the women have someone to leave, leaving behind the lovesome creatures who would never leave them, had they once given them their hearts.

I finally watched Love Actually over the weekend, three years late, I know, but I liked it. Good stuff, hugely entertaining, and it was nice to see the Prime Minister finally stand up to the US even if only on film. Only… the sequence at the end, with the boy in the airport? Why why why why? Why did it go on so long? I wasn’t buying it at all. I was waiting for him to be shot, which would be horrible, but then if he didn’t get shot it would just be goofy. It made me cranky. Oh and the part in Milwaukee was just ridiculous. Still, I will probably end up watching this again, and maybe even adding it to the Christmas-favorites lineup along with Bad Santa and The Grinch.

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Current Music: Sheila E., "The Glamorous Life"

4 comments or Leave a comment
retc From: retc Date: December 19th, 2006 08:05 pm (UTC) (Link)


Which Grinch do you watch, the animated or the Jim Carrey?
We held off watching the Jim Carrey for awhile after it came out because we were somewhat putoff by the commercialism but when we finally watched it we enjoyed it.
I loved Love Actually.
I can sort of see your part about the end but I liked it.
And the Milwaukee bit was goofy but I thought it provided a good, slapsticky counterpoint to the rest of the threads in the movie.
retc From: retc Date: December 19th, 2006 08:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

Just read the Hemphill

So lovely and poignant!
fsr44 From: fsr44 Date: December 20th, 2006 04:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Re: the sequence at the end...it's so long due to a re-edit. If you watch the special features, you'll see that there are several subplots which were cut out of the finished film. One is that the boy was originally a talented gymnast who stops doing the thing he loves most after his mother dies. When he goes to the airport (and presumably, rediscovers his joy) the way he gets through security and eludes his pursuers is through a series of amazing gymnastics. When they cut the subplot, the gymnastic sequence necessarily had to go as well. Which leaves a whole lot of running in its place.
I love the movie and am bummed it's not playing wall to wall on HBO this Christmas like it was last year. The other reason I love it? The boy is a dead-ringer for my (now 22 year old) nephew at that age. Just looking at him makes me tear up.
florafloraflora From: florafloraflora Date: December 21st, 2006 01:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, now THAT makes sense! I wish they'd left that suplot in. Gymnastics in an airport would have been cool to see. Either that, or they should have cut out more of the running.

I'm definitely going to have to watch this movie again.
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