Saturday, May 16, 2015

A funny thing that happened that is probably not worth writing about.


I was at a screening of the charming-enough new movie Gemma Bovery earlier this week when one of "those moments" happened. You know, moments that make you stop and wonder what is a coincidence and what is, like, a supernatural event.

Okay, it wasn't that big of a deal, but I still thought it was worth writing about. (Though, probably not.)

The movie is about a case of life imitating art, involving a couple named Gemma and Charles Bovery who start behaving suspiciously like Emma and Charles Bovary from the novel Madame Bovary. It's not just a modern-day Bovary update -- the characters in the movie are aware of the novel -- though I guess it half functions that way.

As my mind wandered for a moment, I started thinking about the fact that I just started making a list of all the books I've ever read in an Excel spreadsheet (!) and that Madame Bovary belonged on it, because I'd listened to an unabridged audio book of it back in the late 1990s. For some reason I then thought of Roald Dah's two "Charlie" books -- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator -- and how I needed to include them too.

Snap back to the movie, and Gemma Arerton's Gemma says to her husband, played by Jason Flemyng, the very next moment, "Charlie, do you have a bucket?" See, rain is coming in through their roof.

Here's the weird part: Charlie Bucket is the main character in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

What makes it 10% weirder is that this is already a movie about the mysterious interplay between "reality" and "fiction." Not only is there the characters in the movie resembling the characters in a famous book, both in name and action, but there's the (probably intentional) decision to cast Gemma Arterton, the only working actress of any prominence with the first name Gemma, as a character named Gemma Bovery. (The movie is based on a 1999 graphic novel, so the character wasn't inspired by the actress or anything.) Take it out one layer further -- or at least, sideways on the same layer -- and my interaction with this movie as an audience member also has an unusual and inexplicable moment. And this actually sort of creates a closed loop, in that the movie goes back to having a connection to a novel -- even if it's just a personal moment experienced by no one but me.

Why did I think of Charlie Bucket moments before Arterton was about to say "Charlie" and "bucket" in the same sentence? Why didn't I think of a Stephen King novel instead?

Who knows.

See, I told you it wasn't really worth writing about.

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