Like a lot of people, I really enjoy a good cry at a film or book. Sit me in front of The Railway Children, and I’m a quivering mess before the VHS counter (yes, I still have a video machine) says 00.06mins. I have to arrange to watch it – alone -, ensuring that nothing is scheduled for the full hour after the film finishes, because I cry so much in the final scene (“Daddy, my Daddy!”) that my face goes so puffy and red that I look actually ill.
But one thing which I have noticed in the past couple of months is that, when I cry at films (and TV programmes, and books…), it’s no longer as cathartic and comforting as it once was.
Where once I would welcome the tears, and heave a sigh of release as the credits roll, now I find myself still crying after the film has ended.
I watched Robert DeNiro in Everybody’s Fine last weekend, and spent the entire film saying “I hate this film. I really hate it.” And crying – genuinely crying – at the unfairness of it all.
A couple of months ago, Channel 4 broadcast a programme called Confessions of a Traffic Warden. Sounds terrible, I know, but it was an absolutely fantastic documentary about racism and prejudice in London, and about the image the UK presents to people from other countries (before they arrive, and after). Ask me to say more about the poor man who moved to Britain believing everyone was nice and kind and refined, only to become a traffic warden…. and I can’t say any more. I would actually start crying. I was inconsolable.
So I still enjoy a good cry, but mainly when happy things happen (see above: The Railway Children). Sad things just make me sad, in real life.