Films for Rough Transitions (Movie Memories)

This week, each of your True Classics crew members will be sharing her own “movie memories,” ranging from the classics to the not-so-much-but-still-wonderful films that we love. Today we continue with Carrie’s thoughts!

I have a bad habit of making “writing to a theme” more complicated than it is and, interestingly enough, tend to write based on theme more often than not.

If you can figure that out, you’re brilliant.

The “Movie Memories” project that our Brandie has developed got me thinking about the impact of movies. This is due in part to my mother’s movie memory that I’ve known for several years. I have a few from her, actually, but this is the one I’ve heard most often:

“I had just moved [to the Gulf Coast] from Colorado and was living by myself at the Camp. I was getting the house ready for my parents to come live there because Dad had bought it to retire on the water. They were still in Chicago, and I knew no one.  It was a very difficult time in my life, starting over in a strange place all alone. Finally, I got so tired of being by myself that I decided to go see a movie. At least people would be there.

So I drove to the movies and bought a ticket for Annie Hall.

I sat down in a seat and waited for the movie to start–by myself. No one else was in the theater. No one came in after me. I sat there and watched that cotton-picking movie all by myself, and they ran it just for me.”

I grew up listening to this story, rather evilly laughing at the cruelness of fate. As a young adult, it resounded more with me as I contemplated the isolation that can accompany the early twenties, especially right after a move to a strange place.

Movies, like music, I think, become important to us. Both bibliotherapy and cinematherapy are slowly gaining popularity.  Tennessee Williams notes in The Glass Menagerie ( I personally like the film version with Jessica Tandy and John Malkovich) how movies help people escape from their pain or dreariness, as Tom frequently runs from his responsibilities as the unwilling “man of the house” to lose himself in the movies.

Sometimes, it’s a social therapy. Shirley Temple is famous for being the little girl who brightened the days of a downtrodden America. Today, Shirley Temple movies entertain children whose parents are willing to introduce them to earlier films, including the possibility of *gasp* black and white. Even the remastered films in color depict an American simplicity and drama that makes sense to children.

When I was small, I remember watching Heidi with my grandfather, and I identified with her to a point. I was with my grandfather all the time as a child, and he taught me much of what I knew as a small child. Then, he passed away from cancer when I was eight years old, and Heidi meant something else. It’s not that I was taken to a faraway place and made to live a life I didn’t like, but I did lose him and my life changed. I had to take what I knew from him and make things count as well as an eight-year-old can. Films seen during childhood infiltrate in strange ways. I found myself using insignificant quotes without being exactly sure where I had heard them until I watched the movie again.

Sometimes it’s simply timing, and other times it’s seeing an idea onscreen, but I genuinely believe that films are a way of coping. Movies we see at certain points in our lives, whether because we are impressionable children or adults going through big life changes, impact our memories of those times. To me, this shows films in their true light as a living art form.


carrieCarrie co-founded True Classics in 2009. A social worker and family therapist, she lives on the Mississippi Gulf Coast with her pups Mr. Darcy, Sophy, and Cobber. To learn more about Carrie, check out her dedicated page on the site!

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