Tuesday, March 07, 2006

What's It All About?

My friend called me two weeks ago, crying so much I could barely understand her, to tell me that she just found out that her boyfriend of over two years has been cheating on her for the last year.

This coming after they called off the wedding, broke up, reconciled, reset the wedding date and moved back in together. After he apologized for screwing up, telling her he really wanted to be with her and acting as if he was back on track. I just don't get it.

“There are two things I’ve learned in life: find someone to love and live everyday as if it were your last.”

That’s what Joe told Alfie.

I just finished watching Alfie for the second time and enjoyed it much more than the first. It’s no award winning movie; hell, no one I know even saw it, but I still recommend it. Better yet, I suggest you buy it for someone who needs to get the message of the movie.

Alfie Elkins is synonymous with every man that doesn’t know what he has until he’s lost it. A man who has charm and good looks on the outside, but not much on the inside. In the movie, Alfie flits from woman to woman, loving the fact that he has so many choices and armed with said good looks and charm, can have any one of them. What he doesn’t realize, or does but doesn’t care, is that he leaves a trail of broken hearts behind him. He knows he’s being a schmuck. He knows he’s doing the wrong thing. He knows he’s taking advantage of each woman, but he can’t help himself.

What he never seems to realize is that every relationship ends the same way; with him hurting someone and also with him letting someone go that he realizes he should have kept, or in the very least, treated better. He never means to hurt anyone. But he does.

At one point in the movie, he says “Strange. But even when you know it has to end, when it finally does, you always get that inevitable twinge; have I done the right thing?” He admits to missing the companionship and even her good looks, but as his Aunt once told him, “Looks aren’t everything." Apparently not, since the steamy, passionate relationship he just ended was with an incredibly hot woman with whom he thought had everything he ever wanted.

As justification, he said he warned them all from the beginning; always saying something along the lines of “I must advise you. I am stamped with an invisible warning. I will not commit. I will never marry.” I think on some level, at this point, he realizes that he’s the one who is damaged. He knows he is the one who has cracks in what he calls his “faux finish”.

I look at my friend and her situation and think, I can’t believe this has happened again. To another friend, another woman I know. And now, two weeks later, she doesn’t even know where her boyfriend is. Last she heard, he went to Mexico with the girl he was seeing behind her back and hasn’t even called to say he’s alive. Maybe he isn’t. But this girl didn’t deserve what she’s getting. She (and her son) don’t deserve to have been deceived for over a year by someone that she made part of her life, her heart and her home.

You see, most of the time, women know what we’ve got. We know that we won’t trade the familiar for the new because it’s all the same after a while. We usually don’t screw up a sure thing on a feeling. And usually, we try to not hurt the other person selfishly. Of course, there are exceptions, but speaking for myself and on the behalf of the friends I’ve known for many, many years, I know that is not how any of us would handle the same situation.

At the end of the movie, after Alfie has tried to reconcile with at least two of the women he’s done wrong, he finds himself considering the turn of events in his life. When he looks back on all the women he’s known, he can’t help but think about all that they’ve done for him but that he’s done nothing for them. How they looked after him, cared for him and loved him and he repaid them by never returning the favor. He used to think he had the best end of the deal.

Then he says, talking to the screen, to the person watching, “What have I got? Really? Some money in my pocket, some nice threads, fancy car at my disposal. And I'm single. Yeah, unattached, free as a bird. I don't depend on nobody and nobody depends on me. My life's my own. But I don't have peace of mind. And if you don't have that, you've got nothing. So...what's the answer? That's what I keep asking myself. What's it all about? You know what I mean?”

What is it all about?

** The lyrics to the title song, Alfie, written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach give the listener an idea of what it's about. With a music score in part performed and produced by Mick Jagger, it is definitely a soundtrack worthy of owning. And this song, sung with the incredible vocals of Joss Stone make the meaning really come to life. Here are the lyrics:

What's it all about, Alfie?
Is it just for the moment we live?
What's it all about when you sort it out, Alfie?
Are we meant to take more than we give
Or are we meant to be kind?
And if only fools are kind, Alfie,
Then I guess it's wise to be cruel.
And if life belongs only to the strong, Alfie,
What will you lend on an old golden rule?
As sure as I believe there's a heaven above, Alfie,
I know there's something much more,
Something even non-believers can believe in.
I believe in love, Alfie.
Without true love we just exist, Alfie.
Until you find the love you've missed, you're nothing, Alfie.
When you walk, let your heart lead the way
And you'll find love any day, Alfie, Alfie.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I loved this blog, since I well remember the movie. What a great inspiration this blog will be to many. MAE