"In all of living have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured!"
~ Gordon B. Hinckley

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hello, Gorgeous

This past Saturday was the legendary BYU vs. U of U rivalry football game! Trevor bought a ticket from an old roommate that couldn't go, and went off with the man friends and a backpack full of snacks to have a grand old time at the game! The Cougars lost miserably though, and Trevor lost his crackers as well as his voice and his overall enthusiasm for the football season (as did pretty much everyone else around here) during the game.

Fortunately for me, I don't even care about football! Instead of watching the game, I camped out on the couch with a canister of cheddar Pringles in one hand and a package of Chips Ahoy chocolate chunk cookies in my other (which have been completely demolished by now), and scouted out some chick flicks on Netflix. In my browsing I happened upon the movie Funny Girl, starring Barbra Streisand. What's Up Doc? (also starring Barbra Streisand) has been one of my favorites for awhile (I even wrote a post about how much I love it a month or so ago!), so I decided it was worth a shot. And oh my goodness I am soooo glad I did! I LOVED it, and that movie is right up there now on my list of favorites! It was really refreshing to watch a movie that's actually about relateable personal experience, growth, change, and the realities of life for once, instead of centering around special effects, action, sex appeal, shock factor, and record-breaking box office sales. Plus some elements of her character remind me a bit of myself, which was kind of fun to see. She even looks a bit like me sometimes, and her hair was not all that different from how I had mine for my wedding.


Haha ok so maybe I'm pushing it and I actually don't look any more like her than any other random girl who had similar hair, or was posed the same way. Anyway, after the movie finished I was just bursting with things to write about from it!...but I procrastinated, and now I can't remember them as vividly or passionately. Oh well. Here's what I still remember:

*heads up, this is another one of my overly long, meandering, random thought process, somewhat directionless posts :)
p.s. spoiler alert later on

I think what struck me most from the movie was how much Barbra Streisand's character changed as life happened. The different stages and personalities went through were so real it was like I was living them all through her, and finding and understanding the pieces of myself that I saw reflected in her character. I'm guessing most girls can relate in a similar way.

The movie starts with Barbra (her character's name is Fanny Brice...awful name) walking into a theater dressing room. She's all glammed up and sophisticated, and as she walks past a large mirror she stops and looks at her reflection thoughtfully for a minute, then says her famous line, "hello, gorgeous" in an almost "who am I really?" kind of way with tears in her eyes. Then she sits in one of the seats of the empty auditorium, and the movie is her recalling her past that led her to this moment in time.

She starts out as an ambitious nobody small-town girl who wants to be a star, but she just doesn't fit the mold. The directors, and even her friends and family, tell her she's not pretty, her legs are too skinny, her nose is too big, she doesn't have the physique, she's not good enough, she doesn't look like the other girls, etc. and they won't even give her a chance. Seriously, what girl hasn't felt like that at some point? Girls are constantly bombarded with messages - both direct and indirect - about what they should look like or be like, and that if they don't measure up, they are a failure. How do you even be one of those "other girls" that is "normal" anyway?

Fanny puts on a tough face despite all the blatant opposition and confidently tells her critics she is "the greatest star, but no one knows it yet", and "You think beautiful girls are going to stay in style forever? I should say not! Any minute now they're going to be out! Finished! Then it'll be my turn!". But she is really just a broken-hearted little girl whose self image has taken a hard beating, and whose big dreams have been shattered.

Fanny's quirky personality, coupled with her persistent determination and natural talent, eventually do lead to success though. And then a mysterious, rich, good-looking, smooth-talking gentleman (Nick) with a fancy ruffled shirt comes to see her after the opening night of her first big debut, and of course she is just blown away by him. And what girl wouldn't be? Lets be honest, we all secretly (or not so secretly) have fantasized about our larger-than-life, perfect Prince Charming. And after being an innocent, awkward, small-town nobody wanting to be loved and noticed for years, who wouldn't fall head-over-heels for some dreamy guy that just appears out of nowhere and starts showering you with attention? The novelty is just an irresistible dream come true! Except in this case, and in most cases, it's only a novelty. The womanizer kisses her goodnight and leaves with the promise of seeing her again soon, and when he doesn't end up being true to his word, she's the one who ends up getting hurt just like countless other girls in similar situations have. She fell prey to imagining him to be the story book character she wanted him to be, instead of seeing him for who he was. 

A little over a year later Fanny and Nick meet up again by chance because Fanny is on tour as a well-established star, and Nick happens to be betting on a horse race in the area. Fanny of course falls for him again in spite of the pain, and once again lets him use his charm and charisma to trick her into thinking he is everything she dreams of him being. Over the next few days she decides she loves him, and suddenly he has to leave because he lost everything betting on the horse race. It isn't until then that she realizes that he doesn't even really have a job or a life. All he does is gamble. Despite all that, she still decides she can't live without him and gives up her career to leave everything behind and catch up to his boat and surprise him! Then she is just so ridiculously excited to be a wife, and have a house and family, that she convinces him to marry her. Fanny's blindness to the realities of life blows up in her face later (BYU 2-week engagement story anyone?). It turns out gambling men with no real jobs don't make good husbands. Nick is never there for her, ends up owing everyone tons of money, and eventually gets himself thrown into jail for doing something with faulty bonds or something...I don't really know what that means. Fanny is strong and completely blinded by love throughout the whole thing, and her 'happiness' from her relationship exists mostly in her mind. Near the end when things are getting progressively worse, her mother finally tells her, "when you look at him, you see only what you want to see." Fanny blindly insists, "I see him as he is; I love him as he is.", to which her mother responds, "Fanny, love him a little less."

I'm used to happy endings, but this movie didn't have one. Well, not unless you count looking back on your life and realizing you got everything you thought you wanted (a career of stardom and the man of your day dreams), but the reality of it doesn't match up with your dreams. Her optimistic exuberant words "Life's candy, and the sun's a ball of butter!" from earlier years turned into "I guess it's not funny; life is far from sunny when the laugh is over and the joke's on you". Poor girl!

So now for the sake of having somewhat of a point other than just raving about this movie that I'm totally in love with now, I'd have to say the take-home message of the movie is to know what you are getting yourself into and don't let your fantasies get the best of you! Real life isn't like the movies (ok well maybe on occasion, but rarely), so be smart about it. If Fanny had been able to see Nick for who he was before she just rushed in and married him, she would have led a completely different life, and probably would have been much happier. Sadly, I think plenty of other girls (and some boys too) do kind of the same thing, and end up getting hurt and used, and left to wonder whatever happened to the perfect life they dreamed of? For all my musings of being a princess, living a fairy tale, and Trevor being my prince, I did put quite a bit of logic and reasoning into my life decisions. I had a list of things I thought were unacceptable for my future spouse (rash temper, excessive debt, inability to hold a job or get good grades, not trustworthy, substance abuse...), and a list of things I really wanted (ambitious, capable of and on track to get a 9-5 career with regular hours, easy to communicate with, productive and organized, reliable, religious strengths...), and I made sure he was at least mostly in line with them before even starting to date him. Deciding to marry him was an even more in-depth process. But choosing to approach it in a practical and realistic way instead of allowing myself to be swept off my feet by some random guy who seemed like a likely candidate, means now I get what I really wanted all along. Not just what I may have thought I wanted at various points in time :)

So yep, in spite of the sad ending, I still LOVED the movie, and I've been thinking about it ever since!! Barbra Streisand is a phenomenally talented singer and actress!! I'm going to watch it again this weekend :)

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