Why We Should All Watch Notting Hill Now
“Notting Hill, that’s the best movie ever. Superb!”
“I beg your pardon?”
“You heard me right kiddo, Notting Hill is my favorite movie. I’ve seen it more than any other movie.”
“You’re just taking the piss. You? Didn’t you beat the most foul-mouthed sailor at the Who Can Swear the Most competition? You’ve been continuously regaling us with stories of how as hard as nails you are. Now you’re confessing your heart pitter-patter at the sight of love-struck Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant in Notting Hill?”
“Yes, they looked incredible together. I like the part when he said, “ I live in Notting Hill. You live in Beverly Hills. Everyone in the world knows who you are. My mother has trouble remembering my name.” And she answered, “I’m also just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.” That scene was beautiful. Lovely jubbly!”
“Oh my god, are you blushing? You can even remember the dialogues? Unbelievable! How could a tough former Navy officer/ house-builder/action genre writer become a sappy rom-com’s biggest fan? Nope, I don’t believe you one bit. You’re just pulling my leg.”
“You got that wrong. I watch movies to laugh and relax. I want to have that warm and fuzzy feeling that makes me feel good and sleep better. I choose endearing ones that don’t leave a nasty aftertaste. I don’t want to see anyone murdered, raped, decapitated, or blown to bits. I don’t feel the need to subject myself to extreme anger, suspense, long and boring political debates or court battles, excessive violence, infuriating rhetorics, and unnecessary drama. These are the things we hear about on the news every day already. Movies are supposed to help us escape this dreadful reality we live in, so I might as well indulge myself in heart-warming romantic comedies and feel much, much better.”
That was a conversation I had with one of my mentors and a good friend many years ago. At that time, I only watched movies that won awards at Cannes or Sundance or anywhere else that recognized and applauded overly gory and disturbing films. If independent film-makers didn’t make them, I had doubts about authenticity and content. I refused to watch romantic comedies or Hollywood blockbusters. I was young, foolish, and going through a poseur phase.
Looking back, I guess my mentor had it right. He was mostly in high spirits while I was often brooding. My gloomy moods were possibly aggravated by the things I used to watch or listen to. As confirmed by experts' studies, our feelings and overall behavior are highly influenced by what we watch on television or the big screen.
One research stated, “Although work remains to be done on classifying and enhancing our understanding in the field of emotion psychology, and more specifically on the use of audiovisual techniques in the laboratory, our meta-analysis suggests that mood induction by film clips is a highly effective method to generate negative and positive affective reactions.”
Since last week, our days have been filled with mayhem and infuriating diatribes from different sides. The year we just said adios to was spattered with opposing public opinions, bankruptcy, inconveniences, isolation, job-loss, deaths, massive losses, political havoc, etc. We’ve been under less than ideal circumstances and are constantly reminded of it by the countless posts we see on every social media platform and every news channel.
An Airbnb guest I had a chat with yesterday said, “ there’s too much rain there and too much hate right now. So I’m here, riding my bike in the desert far, far away from the mad crowd.” She’s trying to escape as we all should before this hysteria escalates. But how are we going to do that? And what are we escaping from exactly?
At the rate we’re going, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to believe that if we neglect to look at ways to evade this cycle of negativity, we will spike the accelerating increase of depression cases. As of now, according to WHO, there are 264 million people worldwide suffering from it.
Do you feel the onset of depression? Are you getting sucked into the vortex of fury and loathing? Extricate yourself. Don’t stick around. I know you’d say, “but there are insurmountable travel restrictions, let alone the risk of contracting the virus. How can we possibly depart from where we’re at and go someplace better?”
I don’t believe we have to be somewhere else to escape. Everyone everywhere is fighting their battles. The world is pretty much in shambles at the moment.
So, if, unlike the Airbnb guest, riding a bike in the desert isn’t an option to get away from the mad crowd, then maybe we should all emulate my mentor and check out Notting Hill and other feel-good movies. We all need a good laugh and that warm, fuzzy feeling these flicks give off.
Maybe we’d sleep better after. Maybe we’d feel much, much better just like my friend and as confirmed by researchers. Maybe after laughing, we’d also all calm down, get a good night's sleep, and hopefully, some of the anger and hatred dissipate.
Needless to say, watching Notting Hill or any feel-good movie isn’t the only solution. However;
“Life is a drama full of tragedy and comedy. You should learn to enjoy the comic episodes a little more.”
― Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle