Over the next few days, I will publishing some of my pieces from my Creative Nonfiction class this quarter. This piece has one big bad word right at the beginning so I am putting it after the jump. The trailer for the movie it’s reviewing is here.
“What the fuck am I waiting for?” I ask the same question main character Renata asks as I wait for something to happen in I Think It’s Raining. As I’m waiting, though, I begin to fall in love with her. It’s not something I mean to happen. And I don’t like myself for it.
Earlier that night, I saw a drunk man stumble out of a bar, and I wanted to punch him, not because I disagreed with his lifestyle but because inevitably, his decisions are my decisions and they aren’t taking him anywhere. But I could never bring myself to that kind of violence.
That’s what Renata represents: inevitability. She is damaged just enough to make me want to fix her. Everything about her screams defense mechanism. Through the entire movie, and multiple wardrobe changes, she maintains white Dallas-cowboy-cheerleader-style boots and an unflattering green jacket. They feel like armor.
Through the first twenty minutes of the movie, I am exposed to Renata reacting to music – she joyfully dances; she grievously weeps; she selfishly performs. And with each reaction, I love her more. I can’t help myself. I know I am only attracted to her the way I am attracted to picking scabs – because the damage intrigues me. Still, I can’t punch that drunk man.
Half way through the movie, I come on screen. His name is Val. He carries a satchel filled with rare books and wears a scarf. He is tall and handsome, witty and intelligent. I want to be like him so badly, and I want him to ignore Renata. Willing him to do what I can’t, I wish for him to leave her alone. It’s hopeless, though, I know that he is going to fall in love with Renata the minute he comes on screen. He does.
The next half hour is two adults trying to hang on to an innocent flirtation. Dialogue is peppered with lots of “Oh you can now, can you?”s and “What do you think of me?”s. It feels forced. But it’s not forced the way scripts sometimes are; it’s forced the way real life is. It’s forced the way my conversations are when I am talking to a pretty girl with whom I have nothing in common. Charming, maybe, but substance-less.
I’m not surprised, then, when Renata runs from the only connection she has had with another character the entire film. I’m not surprised when she ends up at what appears to be her childhood home. I’m not surprised when she relives memories she should have stopped reliving years ago. The conclusion is annoyingly predictable but inevitably enjoyable.
I watch Renata smile, briefly, and then disappear into the cellar of her childhood. Before the screen can go black, I leave the theater. I walk to a friend’s place. He offers me a drink. I decline. But I still can’t punch that drunk man.