Until the past three years, movies played an important part in our lives. That increased after Kate’s diagnosis. Movies weren’t just an amusement. I looked at them as a significant part of our therapy. For at least the past five or six years, she hasn’t been able to follow a plot. As a result, she didn’t understand what she was watching. She could, however, enjoy movies that connected with her intuitive abilities. She responded well to characters she liked or to situations she could appreciate.
As her disease progressed, she experienced greater difficulty getting any pleasure from movies. Despite this change, she enjoyed a number of movies during the past year and a half, RBG, Darkest Hour, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, and Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice. The Ronstadt documentary was the last of our successes. I hadn’t tried any new movies since Ronstadt’s until yesterday.
The new Tom Hanks film, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, has received a good bit of publicity. When I first heard about it, I thought it might be worth trying. The fact that she had enjoyed the documentary made me think this one might work. On the other hand, I had also learned that this was quite different from the documentary. That made me wonder if she would like it. Ultimately, I thought it was worth the risk.
As it turned out, I had nothing to fear. Although it has an underlying plot, I believe the success of the film rests largely on communicating its message in a way that Kate could appreciate. In fact, I suspect that most people who like the movie like it for the same reasons that Kate and I did.
The characters’ spoken words played a part in communicating the film’s message, but the tone of their voices, facial expressions, and body language are at least equally important. Hanks mastered the slow way that Rogers expressed his thoughts to children. In this movie, he speaks the same way to adults. In addition, the film was at a pace that Kate could grasp. I believe all of these things were important in making this movie a success for Kate and to me as well.
In other words, this was a successful film experience for Kate because it communicated to her through her intuitive abilities. I’ll continue to keep my eyes open for others that may do the same. That can be difficult. All movies attempt to capitalize on people’s emotions. I also need to keep in mind the kind of emotions a film elicits. There are many that Kate would not like, but It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood was a clear success.