Cryptic smiles that fade to black: Cecilia

Published by Iris in Movies, Memorable Scenes, Characters, Screen Shots,
Published on 06/08/11 at 09:13:36 pm using 415 words.

Cecilia (Mia Farrow) reaches for the silver screen and its stories so consistently, in such aching need of escapism from such a downtrodden and complacent existence, that one day, one of its fictional characters reaches out to her. Literally. He jumps right off the screen and into her life, sweeps her off her feet and elevates her in a way we should all be able to do for ourselves but often can’t.

Movies work wonders in that regard. Escapist entertainment - be it in the form of meaningful stories that feed our thoughts, lines that make us laugh out loud, situations that call to mind our own (only safely veiled) or just something to go along with the popcorn. They comprise the pause button that allows us to take a two-hour deep breath and rejoin reality with a slightly more centered (perhaps even more objective) outlook.

Cecilia’s tendency to consent and not rebel makes her a doormat, ever dependent on such cinematic gimmicks as the blurring of the line between film world and real world to rescue her from her miserable lot in life. At any rate, I’m not here to dwell on Cecilia’s shortcomings or to judge her incapacity for self-assertion. I’m here exclusively to admire the veritable sunrise that her face becomes in the film’s final moments.

She is back in her world, a world with so little to love, darker now that a light has shone and gone out ("It’s so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.") She can’t help but reach yet again. It’s the middle of the afternoon, the screening room is far from packed, she is able to pick out a seat. The music (Cheek to Cheek) sets the mood for another “press-pause” moment of escapism, it fills the room, her eyes slowly and shyly lift up to screen level to find Ginger Rogers dancing, twirling, flying in the arms of Fred Astaire.

Although I’ve never been much of a Mia Farrow fan (a tad diabetically sweet for my taste in personality) she is sheer beauty here. Hers is the face of innocence and joy emerging gently to softly light up a dark room. A flame of hope rekindled. A balance restored.

Click on the links for the first, second, fourth and fifth installments of the series.

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