Sunday, July 31, 2011

Open Your Heart, There’s Room ... (Marvin’s Room)

I’ve had the 1996 movie “Marvin’s Room” for quite a while now, and I’ve been meaning to watch it ever since I got it… quite a while ago (that is, until tonight)! Now I’ll admit, I mainly got it because it stars my favorite actor, Leonardo DiCaprio (L). Here is the plot:

Estranged since their father's first stroke some 17 years earlier, Lee and Bessie lead separate lives in separate states. Lee's son, Hank, finds himself committed to a mental institution after setting fire to his mother's house. His younger brother, Charlie, seems unfazed by his brother's eccentricities or his mother's seeming disinterest. When Lee comes to the asylum to spring Hank for a week in Florida so that he can be tested as a possible bone marrow donor for Bessie, Hank is incredulous. "I didn't even know you had a sister," he says. "Remember, every Christmas, when I used to say 'Well, looks like Aunt Bessie didn't send us a card again this year?'" "Oh yeah," Hank says. Meanwhile, Marvin, the two women's bedridden father, has "been dying for the past twenty years." "He's doing it real slow so I don't miss anything," Bessie tells Dr. Wally. In Bessie's regular doctor's absence, it has fallen to Dr. Wally to inform Bessie that she has Leukemia and will die without a bone marrow transplant. This precipitates the two sisters’ uneasy reunion. In Marvin's room, Bessie cares for her father's every need. In Lee's eyes, the sacrifice Bessie has made is too great and realizing the old man's welfare will fall to her if Bessie dies, Lee's first instinct is to look for a nursing home. "In a few months, I'll have my cosmetology degree," she says. "My life is just coming together; I'm not going to give it all up, now!" As first Lee is tested and then the boys for the compatibility of their marrow with Bessie's, the women take stock of their lives and rediscover the meaning of "family."

All bias aside, it was quite an inspirational film. It was one of those movies that makes you think, and both laugh and cry. And the acting is brilliant, Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton, and of course Leo all pull some of their best performances in this little film…

And as in every film I love, it comes with great lines, among my favorite of which was near the end of the movie, with the two sisters:
Bessie: “I've been so lucky... I've been so lucky to have Dad and Ruth... I've had such love in my life... and I've had such... such love...”

Lee: “They love you very much…”

Bessie: “That's not what I mean, no, I mean that I love them… I have been so lucky to be able to love someone so much...”
And that’s where it got me thinking, people underestimate the power of love that comes from within, the love that we feel for other people, and how great it can be. That last line, “I have been so lucky to be able to love someone so much…” that line just warmed my heart. Because to know, to have, so much love for another person, that in itself truly is a beautiful, priceless blessing… :-)

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