I went to see a film the other night. It was a relatively unknown film, at a relatively late time, so the theater was unsurprisingly empty. This is something I relish and secretly hope for most every trip to the theater. I sprawl about as many chairs as possible and react to the film uninhibited. The course of the film’s story arc swirled through a myriad of feelings and thoughts, and I smiled, grimaced, and cried along with every turn. I clenched in agony during two terrible choices, writhing against my chair and myself. I pleaded to the screen “don’t” over and over again during a final, tragic choice.
My eyes glossed with tears when theirs did.
My muscles flinched when theirs did.
It didn’t matter that I was in a large, dark room with a pearlescent screen. I was there, but I wasn’t. I was in the plot, in the characters. In the church of singing children, in the thick courtroom. With every nerve-ending of my body, I was in the film. And it is the mere possibility of that experience that compels me to take part. Too often we discount those experiences because of their detachment from our physical world; but the emotional world in which we simultaneously reside gains sweet nourishment from each one. Whether the experience is borne of a physical interaction or participation in a work of art- it has emotional relevance. Our soul, like our brain, must process stimuli consistently regardless of the framing of that stimuli. All that is required is the lifting of an eyelid.