Wednesday, June 20, 2007

In Her Shoes

This movie is funny, honest, and altogether touching. The first time I saw it was in a theater with my sister (I can write about her with complete candor, as she now is a reader of this blog :-)). She lived an hour away, so we picked a theater half-way and met. It is the only movie she and I have gone to together in years. The previews made us want to see it together. Indeed, it touched both of us. We cried together and shared some things that had been begging to be spoken aloud for a long while.

Today, I watched it on my couch with my niece (in spirit currently, legally in nine days). I had the intention of mopping my kitchen floor today, but then I suffered a touch of diminished motivation (read: cramps). Anyway, the movie: watching it a second time made me realize something I didn't the first. This movie doesn't appeal to all sisters. After I originally saw it, I assumed all sisters should see the movie and realize the drama/love/connection between them. My niece, however, who has two sisters (and two brothers) didn't really seem to "get it". She at one point said, "I'm glad my sisters and I aren't like that." But the things about the relationship in the movie that reflect upon my sister and I are good things...kinda. In that weird good way. But I think you have to only have each other to appreciate this movie. No other sibling, and maybe something bad has to happen that binds you true to each other forever.

In the movie (in case you haven't seen it, I'll try not to ruin it), Cameron Diaz is the younger sister who has no job, no education, and significant problems relationally (she displays behaviors of an alcoholic whore...). Older sister Toni Colette is a successful lawyer wrought with self-loathing at her boring life. They are complete polar opposites. The range of experiences they have lead them to separate cities and lives where we follow them both individually without the other. Do they come together in the end? You'll have to rent it to find out (or read it, as it is based on the book by Jennifer Weiner, who I have read and like, but never did read this one). My sister and I are not polar opposites, we do have more in common than our shoe size (hence the title of the movie); actually she wears slightly smaller shoes, but I can wear them if I don't mind a bit of a pinch. But there are ways in which we are quite different. As the younger, I should mirror the alcoholic whore; I don't. As the older, my sister should be a lawyer with no boyfriend; she's not. So, it's not a perfect match of our relationship. But here are some points that are the same, both good and bad:
1. We can drive each other crazy. This must be true of all siblings, but we can be particularly good at it.
2. She is the "pretty one" and I am the "smart one". This is silly, however, because she is also very smart, and I am not exactly a hag. These labels, however, are sometimes inescapable.
3. She is skinny and I am...not skinny. Herein lies one of my greater "sister complexes".
4. Everyone loves her. Just like in the movie, I, the younger sister, feel like everyone likes her more than they like me. This is also silly, as we are both rather sarcastic and bitchy. And we're both kind of selfish. Hmmm...maybe we're damn lucky to be smart and pretty?
5. As the older sister, she took care of me when we were younger. She was mean to me, left me behind, and hated when I tattled (which I did a lot, since she was mean to me :-)), but she protected me from the bad things. Like in the movie, I didn't know this until we were adults. This was probably the most relatable thing in the movie for me.
6. I feel incomplete without her. Despite our differences and the fact that we most likely would never be friends if we weren't first sisters, I can't imagine my life without her. In the movie, well, wait, I can't write this without ruining it. So I won't. I am a courteous blogger. Suffice to say, they realize they need each other.

So, for many years, Les and I only saw each other every so often. She was busy touring the country on road trips, following her favorite bands, and I was in college, being confined by the worst relationship imaginable (the guy I was with, not was great, mostly). But in the last couple of years, we have become very close. This started, I think, with the planning of her wedding. Now, the planning of my wedding keeps us close, even though she is far away. Yes, she's gone. She, being a good wife, moved to Arkansas (it's not as bad as it sounds) with her husband after he was transferred for work. Sigh. Tear. Okay, anyway, her distance has actually brought us closer, as we talk now more than ever. Maybe she's just lonely, and I'm the only one who has time to talk to her for 2 1/2 hours in the middle of the afternoon, but still.

I miss her. She knows this. The movie reminded me of her and always will. The end of a very long post. Love you, Les.


Molly said...

Well, hon, I am in your niece's camp. I even listened to the book on CD before I saw the movie, and I still had trouble with the relationship. But I think you are right--siblings are very different and very different ways. We are all dysfunctional and most are still wonderful despite that. And though I am certain Les is cool, you are the W. sister that I love the most. :)

Medea Zorba said...

I should read/watch. I'm intrigued, anyhow. The personas seem to match: me, the smart, (currently) career-driven one, and my sister, the uneducated alcoholic whore. OK, she's semi-educated. (Ba-dum ching.) I don't know. You know I've always envied your relationship with Leslie. I thought my sister and I were almost there as of late, but...yeah, not so much. I guess my point is, I'd like to watch the movie, but I don't know if there's hope for my sister and me. Be very thankful for Les (which, I suppose, was YOUR point).