The Teardrop

I watched Closer for the first time when I was eleven years old. I realise now that it wasn’t an entirely appropriate film for an eleven year old to watch, but I watched it when it was playing on TV and that was a time when I thought that observing characters in books, films and other media would help me understand them better. I still do that but I understand that that isn’t really reliable. I remember being fascinated and frightened by all the complex, often dark drama that was happening in Closer and how nobody seemed to be ‘good’ in the traditional sense. Except Natalie Portman’s character. But I didn’t really interpret her as ‘good’, I saw her as someone caught up in these things, someone innocent. I ignored the ambiguity of her later scenes in the film and the uneasiness they caused at the time. This photograph of her taken by another character was one of my favourite scenes in the film. I remember being struck by how beautiful the potential of that photograph was. A single, pure teardrop running down her cheek.

But I’m looking at it now and I don’t see the teardrop. That disappointed me. To me the poignancy of that scene and of her character depended on the presence of an imaginary tear that I created. That’s so strange. I wonder what that says about me.

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