~This is a Facebook post I wrote to my best friend after I saw Rebel Without A Cause for the first time today, which is one of her favorite movies. It’s pretty personal but I realized I had a lot of opinions about the movie that I want to share to I’m posting what I wrote about it here.~
Karen, I just saw Rebel Without A Cause at the theatre down the street from my apartment (it plays old movies). I’m kind of speechless. And kind of shaking. The whole walk back from the theatre to my apartment was kind of a blur, and I felt like I was in a trance, like in a box and everyone who was walking around me didn’t exist. I just … I’ve never been this affected by a movie before. I can handle the fact that James Dean is literally the essence of pure sex in a human body (GOD I understand your obsession SO much now), and the fact that his character and acting are both so amazing, and how the dialogue and characters and plot were all so fucking accurate and realistic and so three-dimensional, but what I don’t know how to handle is how close to home the movie struck with me. You never said it was traumatizing to watch. It’s almost realistic to a fault, because I feel like I was in that movie and I was there and all that happened to me and I don’t know how to recover from it. Don’t get me wrong. It was a phenomenal movie, probably the most incredible movie I’ve ever seen but wow. Wow. It’s not just that I felt like I was watching myself go through all the family stuff in the movie, it’s that there were certain moments where I was just sitting there like, that happened to me. That exact thing has been said to me or that exact moment has happened in my life, and I couldn’t breathe and I would start to tremble or cry. It was like having to watch flashbacks about stuff I don’t ever want to think about.
And then I remember after the movie was over and everyone was getting up and laughing and I was this close to breaking down and I was thinking, how can everyone just get up and get on with their lives after a movie like this? How can they just laugh right after and start talking about other things, or worse, start talking about funny points in the movie or just casually talk about it like it wasn’t the most traumatic and startling thing they’d seen? I mean, it probably wasn’t because not a lot of people have gone through the family shit that you and I have. But still. It’s just. I don’t really know what my point is or what I’m trying to say, all I know is it affected me more than any other movie has. And I’m not sure why I’m posting this to my wall rather than to yours, but I think it’s cause I need to have this on my profile so I remember how I felt right now and what this movie did to me. It’s not good or bad, it’s just … Wow.
I think what’s traumatizing me most about the movie actually isn’t how much of my own life I saw in it, but the whole thing about the adults. How they never understood that their kids were acting like this because they were so fucked up (especially Plato), because their parents had done this to their children, their kids’ actions were cries for help and a result of the trauma and way they’d been treated all their lives but the parents never saw that and they just blamed the kids and lashed out at them and made it worse. And the police fucking SHOT him, a poor scared kid who was spat on all his life by the world and didn’t know what to do about it so he snapped. The police fucking shot him while Jim had taken out the fucking bullets but of course he couldn’t say that to them because Plato would hear and he would freak out and shoot someone. Jim was so fucking smart. The way he handled the situation with Plato at the end. He almost would have gotten him out safely but the stupid police had to make the stupid mistakes and ruined everything and I’m crying now just typing this out. Because shit like this happened to kids all over and still happens to kids and no one cares or does anything about it or actually tries to help them. God. Look the fact that this movie is shaking me up so badly and hits so close to home and has this kind of affect on me is a compliment for it, it shows how incredibly realistic it is. This movie IS real life. I just wish I didn’t have to be so traumatized from watching it.
Side and unimportant note, not sure what I feel about the whole falling in love in one day thing. I mean I get that they were so lost and alone and fucked up from their families that they both desperately needed someone and so they fell really fast, and it wasn’t so much that they were in love but that they would’ve done anything to find someone to help them and someone was there, and even more they needed someone who understood what they’d been through and then they both find someone who’d been through the same things they had, so I get it and I get why the whole rushed feelings thing was done but still, that was the only part of the movie that felt superficial and not real. I mean I’ve been there, where I fall for someone I barely know fast because I need someone so I’ll fall for anyone, believe me that is basically my life, you know this. But it still was the only part in the movie that took me out of how much it felt like reality.
And watching all these characters snap and do crazy, horrible things because they were so fucked up and had such painful pasts was so hard because I’ve been there, I’m there right now and it was so painful to see that happening to someone else. It’s amazing that the movie could capture that so well. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen any movie be so accurate and realistic and REAL and just so close to the truth of life before. I just can’t handle this.
I’m going to end this post by talking about aspects of the movie that are less difficult to talk about so you don’t walk away from this post super down. God knows about me though, I’m still sitting here shaking and sweating like bullets through my shirt because the trauma of watching it hasn’t left me. It was the most incredible movie I’ve ever seen but I don’t know if I could ever watch it again with what it does to me, at least not for many years. Not until I’m past all this.
So anyway, less heavy aspects of the show to say stuff about:
-THE WRITING. MY GOD THE WRITING. And I’m not talking about it in general or plot wise, which I basically covered up there and which is phenomenal. I mean specifically, the structural elements of the writing were so well done. All the foreshadowing, down to exact moments at the end that parallel to ones at the beginning and the use of objects as foreshadowing (using objects as foreshadowing is one of the most skillful things a writer can do, in my opinion), and the lines of dialogue that kill you when you remember them at the end. Just. Everything. And the use of symbolism too especially with the cinematography and camera work… just. So much talent. I was sitting there the whole time in awe and in love.
-James Dean. JAMES DEAN. I already talked about him briefly above but he must be brought up again. I think I’ve just found the most talented actor in all the talented actors I’ve seen. Every moment he is onscreen, he isn’t playing the character, he IS the character. There wasn’t a second where he wasn’t fully ALIVE as the character, breathing and thinking as him. All the little things he did and just … he was naturally Jim Stark. I would’ve believed he was Jim Stark himself and this was an autobiography. Just. Wow. I mean when you get past the fact that he’s the most attractive man I’ve ever seen (oh and yes I mean this, and I’m saying this after being fucking OBSESSED with very, very attractive men such as Darren Criss and Eddie Redmayne—James Dean still takes the fucking cake), you can’t get past the talent. The ability. Just WOW.
-Jim Stark’s character. WOW. Just WOW. Such a three-dimensional, rounded, genuine character my god. And I loved him so much. Every word out of his mouth got to me, right down to the core of me. There was so much of him that was me that I couldn’t breathe while watching. I related to him so much. Related seems too weak of a word. He got me. It was fascinating and terrible and amazing.
-So um. Can we talk about how this movie wins the award for having the most eyesex there has ever been and ever will be in a movie. Christ, man. The King of Eyefucking is what this movie should have been titled omg. Every. Single. Character. Eyefucked. Each. Other. Multiple. Times. Throughout. Pleeease tell me that you noticed this. I can’t be the only one. Go watch it again if you missed this because I SWEAR there was so much I felt some in my lady parts at some points, I’m not even kidding. Aww man. Hilarious.
-THE TITLE. MY GOD THE TITLE. The title itself is a work of genius. I mean. It breaks my heart, because it says so much about the movie. “Rebel without a cause” because none of the stupid ignorant selfish adults thought that all the kids had any reason for doing any of this. But they had every reason. When you break someone that badly, all they can do is break everyone else back. They managed to capture the true tragedy of the movie—the ignorance and destructive behavior of the adults—in the title so perfectly, it’s pure genius.
-So many of the kids at the high school, all the ones that were after Jim, were so messed up. It makes me wonder how many of them were fucked up emotionally and came from broken homes, or how many of them were just assholes who were wrong in the head. It’s really interested and kind of scary to think about.
-Can we talk about how Jim Stark is supposed to be in high school and he looks 30 years old omg… Judy looked way too old too
-UGH. CAN WE TALK ABOUT JUDY. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I sympathize with her. I saw her broken family life. I saw how messed up she was, and I felt bad for her and her family life really struck me home too. BUT. It’s really hard not to hate her. Especially when she’s Buzz’s lapdog in the scenes where he’s bullying Jim and then she latches on to Jim after. I know, I know her motivation and why she did all that but it’s still really, really hard not to hate her.
-I really like the timeline of the movie—how it all took place in just two days and the movement was so quick and precise, it just got straight to the point and didn’t skirt around what it was saying or what the focus of the movie was. And the fact that we were watching just two days of his life made it so much more powerful.
-JAMES FRANCO IS JAMES DEAN REINCARNATED. Seriously. You’ve been saying it and now I see it. It’s not just because of how much Franco looks like Dean, it’s his mannerisms when he acts, his voice, his body language, EVERYTHING. Their acting styles are SO similar. And now I really want to see the movie where Franco plays James Dean. But GOD. James Dean’s spirit is inside James Franco omg. You MUST go find James Franco and marry him. I understand you so much more than I ever did before.
I think that’s pretty much all I have to say about it. But god, Karen, a warning label could’ve come with recommending it to me? Naw, I’m kidding. Still. I think I need to go take ten showers and drink 10 martinis in order to be okay again and stop shaking. Phew. Hopefully in like 10 years I will watch this movie again and it won’t be so traumatizing because I’ll hopefully be past all this stuff. (But what if I’m not? Can one ever truly get past these things? Okay sorry we are NOT starting this conversation now).
Just had to share all my thoughts and show you how it affected me. Let me know what you think.