I was surprised to see that the reviews were not as great as I thought the film was. A reminder, I suppose, that we all go to the theater or turn on the tv for a different reason. For me, it was beautiful. I thought the direction - combining interviews, old photographs and video clips, her writing - was just right. She didn't claim to be a perfect mother and the grief and reflection surrounding the death of her daughter felt raw and real to me. I wanted more.... it prompted a trip to the bookstore and a Sunday morning coffee date with her 1970 classic, Play it as it lays.
I don't know what Griffin Dunne's goal was in producing this film. If it was to prompt an interest from a reader who was otherwise not very informed about the life and work of Joan Didion to dive deeper, he was successful.
A few lines worth remembering:
“Character — the willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life — is the source from which self-respect springs.”
“I'm not telling you to make the world better, because I don't think that progress is necessarily part of the package. I'm just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment. And if you ask me why you should bother to do that, I could tell you that the grave's a fine and private place, but none I think do there embrace. Nor do they sing there, or write, or argue, or see the tidal bore on the Amazon, or touch their children. And that's what there is to do and get it while you can and good luck at it.”
“Although I have felt compelled to write things down since I was five years old, I doubt that my daughter ever will, for she is a singularly blessed and accepting child, delighted with life exactly as life presents itself to her, unafraid to go to sleep and unafraid to wake up. Keepers of private notebooks are a different breed altogether, lonely and resistant rearrangers of things, anxious malcontents, children afflicted apparently at birth with some presentiment of loss.”
On Trump: There's no subtext or subtlety in what's going on politically.