Well, that wasn’t so bad. In fact, M. Night Shyamalan’s “Split” was downright engrossing, superbly acted, and fantastic escapism for a superhero comic fan like me.
In the days leading up to opening night, I was so afraid that “Split” may be too scary for me. I kept joking to my husband to expect a call from the paramedics to report I’ve suffered a heart attack at AMC Loews Alderwood Mall 16, etc.
Not a chance. “Split” turned out to be more “Criminal Minds” than “Exorcist.”
Of course, I’m completely smitten with Scottish actor James McAvoy (“X-Men”), who plays the man with the split personalities, 23/24 of them. The troubled, darkly lit character of Kevin is right up my alley, and I mean, right there. (It’s no wonder I’ve had terrible luck with men in my life. Nobody could live up to those insane standards.)
The acting of McAvoy (Kevin) and Anya Taylor-Joy (Casey) very much suits me. It’s restrained, almost stingy — very much the way real life works. The recognition, revelations are small, almost cavalierly received, flippant but essential in one pivotal scene. I liked how the actors were seamless in turning the lock on their characters’ secrets; like real troubled people, they will not give the goods away so easily. (I may write further about this, because it’s so fascinating to me, as I once considered acting over whatever the fuck I do now.)
I also noticed that, like the split personalities losing time and dropping into the middle of scenes, we kind of do the same in our dreams. In our dreams, we take this sort of time travel for granted. I’m a lot of different personalities (energies) at once, splitting my light-reflective in a bunch of different scenarios simultaneously, a disorienting state of being, which overlaps more and more into my waking life the older I get.
Maybe that’s the true definition of aging dementia. Maybe it’s just us going back to the source, vast and complex, impossible to pin down, yet confronted with the conflict of continuing a life on earth, unable to sustain ourselves any longer in such a primitive, savage place of gravity and logic, money and power, a beeline of drones in busy work, weighted down on the shallow end with so much crap.
Returning home, insanity to the earth-bound.
Too much thought in a ping-pong game, where the ball always falls to the ground.
Watching this psychological thriller with someone I care about and trust added to my enjoyment. Every time I felt myself seize up with anticipatory terror, mostly in the beginning, I’d turn and lock eyes with Sarah, and she’d always be there for me, excitement over fear. By the time the truly mind-boggling stuff started to unravel — toward the running exit, as is Shyamalan’s trademark — Sarah was the one turning to me for reassurance, while I couldn’t look away.
I feed off this kind of movie. I live for its discordant, messy, harrowing notes, following characters forced on the outskirts as villain or hero, dismissed by the world as nothing but wavering somewhere between those two extremes, and totally controlling outcomes.
While the world went insane over the election of a president, a mere figurehead in a series of figureheads lording over a ghost of a machine of a system that’s long since abandoned we, the people, Sarah and I went to the movies, an Asian market for pho, Ulta Beauty store, etc. — the best getaway we could afford as two busy moms.
We talked over each other, talked simultaneously, and occasionally talked in response, as close to the way people transmit thoughts and energies in their dreams as possible. I think the two of us intrinsically understand that, which is why we revert to our original form of communication — thoughts spilling inside out. It works for us, even though passers-by may think we’re nuts. We kind of are.
The more I’m around her, the more I become myself, and the less I care what anyone thinks. We’re so much alike. I used to think we were as different as night and day, back when I was under the mistaken impression that I had all my shit together, back when I was tethered to all this earthly bullshit.
She gave me a gift in the middle of the Korean candy aisle, across from the mochi crunch, a Guatemalan Worry doll.
Legend has it that Worry People take your worries away. You tell them your most pressing worry, put them under your pillow, and go to sleep. By the morning, poof! all gone. What a thoughtful gift, even if she does look a little like my maternal grandmother, may she R.I.P.
I’ll tell my Worry person that it’s my son’s birthday, he turns 15, and I really pray he’ll be healthier in the new year, growing stronger and stronger each day. And that I can fit 17 balloons in my car, etc.