Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Midnight in Paris, Crazy Stupid Love ... and all the other kinds too

"Le cœur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît point ... " -- Blaise Pascal

Had a movie binge the other day and saw both Midnight in Paris and Crazy Stupid Love in one afternoon. (Loved them!) Both speak with great humor and bittersweet affection for the uncomfortable fact that we often fall in love with the wrong person. It's something we humans can't help. Hell, in Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, the hero is falling in love with a girl from the wrong era. Talk about tricky.

As for why we run around like idiots falling in love in the first place, don't miss a TED talk by Helen Fisher about why we all LOVE to fall in love. The short answer is ... same reason people love cocaine. You romantic types didn't know you were just the same as hopeless drug addicts? Well, you are. See her great analysis of the 3 types of love here, called "Why We Love and Cheat."

Crazy Stupid Love does a very good job of reminding us of how often we are in the love with the most inappropriate person. It has great twists and turns where everyone is completely OFF about who they swear is their soul mate. The French mathematician and philospopher Pascal had a perfect saying on this subject, "le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connais pas." That is, The heart has its logic which logic knows nothing about. (My translation.) And of course, leave it to the French to have TWO verbs for expressing "to know" -- savoir (the scientific "knowing") and connaitre (the emotional, sensual "sensing/knowing", where we get the word "connaisseur" -- a lover of things, suggesting that, to LOVE something or someone, is to KNOW them.)

I've been wanting to see another author who happens to be excellent on this subject -- Shakespeare -- and a number of his plays are being presented in the great outdoors this summer. Shakespeare loved to get his characters "looking for love in all the wrong places, ... in too many faces", as the old song goes, even playing around with the tradition in theater at that time that the women characters were played by little boys. In other words, you knew that the actual actor playing the hero was head over heels for a female lead character who was a male, not a female.

So check out both films and catch some Shakespeare in a park near you this summer. Remember they don't call it FALLING in love for nothing. If you decide to try it, don't be alarmed if you fall for Mr. or Ms. Wrong and fall on your face in the process.

+Photo Credit: Corey Stoll as Hemingway in Midnight in Paris, LA Times