Written: 20th Jun 2004 | Last Updated: 20th Jun 2004
I donít know what happens to you when you go to the movies. But I go AWOL.
Sometime between when the house lights go down and the flickering images of Blanchett, Crowe, Dench, Pitt, Keaton, Clooney or Paltrow rise before me, I get completely transported. I disappear into the fabric of the screen and come alive on the other side of the story.
I am consumed by character, art direction, costumes, music and script. They grab me and take me dancing, twirling me under the glamorous mirror-ball where everything sparkles silver and white. I laugh, I cry, the pit of my stomach feels alternately purged and gorged. The drug of celluloid takes over me. Itís so complete a possession that upon leaving the cinema two hours later, I have to physically snap myself out of it.
The world outside on the street feels like fantasy for a minute. Pulsing neon is threatening, cars seem like theyíre racing, the skyís darker than I remembered. My heartbeatís a little fast, so during the walk back to the car I breathe deeply and reconnect with the rhythm of life.
If it has been a particularly good film, it stays with me and rolls around in my head as I digest and make sense of it. If itís just been a bit of a laugh, it gets dumped pretty much by the time I get home. But if it has been deeply moving or even frightening, those poignant or terrifying scenes stay detail-perfect in my brain absolutely forever.
People walking from the carpark towards the theatre for the next session look relaxed and kind of innocent. Do you suppose they just go, watch and walk out - unchanged?