Saturday, April 30, 2011

I Hope You Had the Time of Your Life: Memorable Goodbyes

Well the end of the year has come (school year that is).  As I have mentioned before in my blog I work for a college, and people who work in education tend to measure their year on a different scale.  This "year" time span begins in either August and September and ends in April, May, or June.  I will be finishing up a masters degree in college student personnel in six days.  So in 6 days I will not be throwing my hat in the air (cliche), but soon after that I will be saying goodbye to close friends with whom I will not see as often as I have within the past two years.  This made me think about the way people have said goodbye in the movies, and how heart wrenching it can be to walk away from something.
Saying goodbye often makes a person feel as though there has been a death.  There is this immense feeling of sorrow, and loss.  Terms of Endearment (1983) has to have some of the saddest goodbye scenes when it comes to death.  As Emma says goodbye to her children and her mother, you can't help but reach for the tissues.  I know when I drive away from Bowling Green, Ohio I will feel a sadness, as though something has been taken out of my life forever, but like in the film the characters have memories that will fill their heart with joy. James L. Brooks (the director and writer) makes you understand how death forces some of the most painful goodbyes.

As Elliot says goodbye to E.T. in the E.T. (1982) you can't help but realize that even those two were different (one being an alien) they formed this fast friendship in a short time, and will forever remember the impact they had on one another.  With saying goodbye, remembering that even through differences strong friendships can remain the same even if it feels like they far away (in this films case maybe galaxies) and you will never see them again.  Spielberg is a genius and captures the true elements of great friendship in this film.

Where do we go from here?  In 2003 Lost in Translation poses the question (and doesn't let us here a part of the story) about where this friendship/relationship is going.  Will we all remain friends?  What will happend to our relationship after this unique bonding experience? Charlotte (Johansson) and Bob (Murray) interact with each other while in Japan as they find themselves both lost in their lives.  They cling together and form a bond, but at the end of the film Sofia Coppola doesn't give us a specific direction of the direction of their friendship.  When you say goodbye to something or someone there are so many ambiguous moments and unanswered questions and you just have to let fate determine where life will take you.

"O captain my captain"  these immortal words are uttered in the film Dead Poets Society (1989) in honor of John Keating (Robin Williams) a teacher who was ahead of his time and forced to resign.  Saying goodbye to a mentor can be just as painful as saying goodbye to a friend.  Teachers help you to learn and grow about who you are as person.  In this film Keating challenges these students to rebel and think about who they are.  I will miss the people who have guided me on two year journey here, and hope that just because I am leave I can continue learning from them.

The film Casablanca (1942) has the best depiction of saying goodbye when you are being selfless and letting go so others can move on.  Moving on is the hardest part of saying goodbye.  For me I will not be saying goodbye forever from my close friends here, but our lives will change and we live in different places and meet different people and have different experiences.  Sure we may run into each other again, we will have even more changes that take place in our lives and have new people.   Rick and Ilsa had said goodbye twice.  In the film they see each other for the first time in a while and those feelings come back, and we get to see the memory of their first encounter.  In the end I will not be letting go of my friends to save them from Nazis but I may have to let go of the fact that things just may never be the same.

Now in this day of technology-it will be a lot easier for me to stay in touch with people, so:

"Let’s not say goodbye, let’s just say au revoir."

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