But I couldn’t stay away, I couldn’t fight it

Well, I do like my set of country songs.

It’s an officemate who has introduced me to Adele’s music. Frankly, I think I’ve been out of the loop for good long while that I haven’t even noticed Taylor Swift’s new songs. Which means I’m quite passive when the girls in the office has started playing Adele songs one after another.

But one particular song has done a fair work in catching my attention:

If you know me personally and you have listened intently on every word of this song, you may understand why I’m so taken by it.

Someone Like You is a song about a woman finding out the man she loves already has someone else and is perfectly happy. In the duration of the lyrics, we can finally figure out that the woman is somehow coming to terms with this discovery amid the utterly painful feeling it goes along with.

Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead

On a personal level, I’d like to say I especially love the song for its rather hopeful feel. It shows how much love can lead to a person finally letting go of all the bitterness and being thankful for that other who’s been part of something special.

As a music lover (albeit my own lack of musical talent), I like how Adele’s ultimately clear voice has made the song both relaxing and intriguing. Her delivery of the words are with such transparency that you cannot help but really think about what’s happened. On the other hand, her soothing voice makes the listener simply want to hear the song out for good feel.

On the whole, Someone Like You is the perfect break from my collection of angry girl music about love and loss. Aside from the fact that it’s one of those songs I can listen while on my way to dreamland, it is also that particular set of lyrics I can always turn to when the abysmal pit that is heartbreak starts pulling on me again.

Challenged: For One More Day

For One More Day, Mitch Albom

What if you got it back? That thing you have always wanted but let pass. That day you have done so many wrong on and you wish so much to repeat? That loved one who passed away and who you never got to say goodbye to?

What if you got them back? What if life gave you one more shot at it?

Chick Benetto was a disgraced, forgotten, short-time baseball player and an estranged father at the same time. He lost the possibility of earning a famous career in baseball to a knee injury. And the rest, he lost to that loss. He suffered, he retaliated with a brutality that drove his whole life away. Until suddenly, something snapped and he was hurling himself off a high ground–with the intention (or hope, perhaps) of letting force take his life.

And, I don’t know, maybe it’s somewhere between the living and the dead. But Chick got one of heaven’s sweetest gift, a rare chance not everyone is given. In that line, where the souls abound, Chick got one more day with his dead mother.

For One More Day is a novel of precious heart-content, soul-baring, and warm thoughts about life, chances, and newfound meaning.

What I Most Liked About It

The best point that can be said about the story is that, even in its bizarre, life-or-death, fictional sense, everything sounds and feels so true. It mirrors what most of us think about as much as it highlights the fact that at some point, we have considered jumping off a high ground too.

And it brings us home to the idea that life as we know–and hate–it has more to offer deep within. The novel speaks with utter clarity, not using a lot of metaphors to show us the true purpose of second chances coupled with a travel back down memory lane.

I think it has to do with the writer’s style. For we must admit Albom writes like that all of the time–realistically reminding us of our own subconscious whispers.

What I Least Liked About It

There is just one teensy disappointing part on the novel: I think it’s a little too short. Like I haven’t even gotten the hang of it and then it’s over. I guess it’s really how it’s supposed to be, given that Chick has been given just that small one more chance to be with his mother. But somehow, I would’ve liked it better had the story also showed how Chick got to rearrange his life after that weird experience.

Best Part/Chapter

Definitely the part where Chick got to meet his father’s other wife. It’s that point that has made him realize how much he’s taken for granted especially where his mother’s concerned. It is an awkward moment, I understand. But that moment has encapsulated in itself the entire message that the novel wishes to convey–that there are a lot of things in life we don’t understand and that someday, we’re gonna regret something at one point. We just have to learn from it and move on.

Personal Rating

Over all, I’d give the book 3.5 pages. I like the way it’s written, very clear and open. I also love how it has dealt so pleasantly with a grave subject like death. But like what I’ve said earlier I would’ve done better if I’ve seen how things have fared for the lead character after his bizarre journey. After all, we can only conclude how a moment shapes us if we’ve seen how it has affected and changed our lives.

As a whole, I’m definitely glad I’ve read this Albom work. It is something of a warm read to have when everything in life is as chaotic as it is at present. Somehow, I feel we all need stories of this type. We all need to understand, to see a silver lining, and to change our attitude towards life in general.

Letters and Italy

Okay, so I’m deciding right this moment to come out of the blogging cave in which I have been hiding. What better way to spend the holidays (read: long weekend) than to catch up with your writing, right?

Hence, another movie review. The subject: Amanda Seyfried.

Sorry, I meant: Letters to Juliet.

I was in the office when I saw the movie with Amanda as the lead character. But it was from one of my college friends that I first heard about the film, er, around a year ago? So what made me want to see it after such long time?

For one, it’s a story about love. I loved the freshness with which the story is promoted. And fine, it did help that the setting was in Verona, Italy. Ha!

The Plot

Letters to Juliet was a film about searching for true love. Sophie, a happily engaged career woman, went on a pre-honeymoon trip with her fiance Victor to Verona, Italy. Her bubble of excitement was unfortunately burst when the Italian cuisine seemed to appeal more to the aspiring chef and restaurateur that was Victor. While Sophie, on the other hand, simply wanted to enjoy the ultimately romantic getaway.

When Victor went overboard by going to several research-based trips, leaving Sophie alone most of the time. That was when she found the loving world of the so-called “secretaries” of the famous Juliet Capulet. A lot of tourists, especially women, from all over the world come to Verona to write letters to their loved ones. Then, the secretaries themselves reply.

It was in this way that Sophie discovered a long hidden letter written by a certain Claire to a man named Lorenzo. The letter was five decades old. Moved so much by the letter, which was about a woman who had left the man she loved, Sophie sought permission to reply.

As only chance could have it, the letter sender was still alive. Sophie was visited by Claire, who had come all the way from London together with her grandson Charlie. The visitors were like opposite poles: Claire strongly believed in Sophie’s idea of finding her Lorenzo again while Charlie so adamantly maintained that it would be a waste of time.

But the loving heart of Claire prevailed and so they set to a search party, creating a list of all the Lorenzo’s around the area and visiting each one.

In the course of the search, something sparks between the bickering Sophie and Charlie. It had become a roller coaster of some sort. Things happened and then suddenly, they had to part. But of course, as in any love story, the two found a way back to each other.

The film ended with the romantic denouement that was somehow predictable but still overly endearing.

The Cast

Amanda Seyfried as Sophie

Amanda Seyfried

The ever-sweet blonde Amanda did not at all disappoint in this romantic film. Her expressive eyes were a total plus. The girl could cry and hope and sigh and manage to get everybody believe in the warm feeling that only love could give. I think it also didn’t hurt that she was utterly beautiful, with a rare positive glow, which all the more complements with the sunny Verona.

Chris Egan as Charlie

Chris Egan

A superbly effective English man with a delightfully charming accent, Chris made it difficult to actually dislike the pompous boy that his character Charlie was. He was lovable, with so much of the boy-who-grew-up-with-granny aura that his actions were actually quite pleasant to see. Best of all, he had this clarity that was bordering on honesty that gave out so much feelings you could hardly take away what made him smile.

Vanessa Redgrave as Claire

Vanessa Redgrave with Franco Nero (Lorenzo)

For a woman who’s supposedly 50 years or more, Vanessa is a surprisingly radiant. She had no inkling of being too aged. Maybe it was because she had too much love in her, that it radiated from within her. There’s a lot of positive aura around Vanessa that you cannot help but to actually wish she finds her Lorenzo.

Gael Garcia Bernal as Victor

Gael Garcia Bernal

Well, he’s a good man with strong hopes and dreams. Gael is a perfect Victor, with his heavy accent and sturdy shaped jaws. I liked his eyes and the way he looked so smart and passionate.

What I Liked About It

Let’s do a list in this part . . .

Verona, Italy

1. The setting. It’s Verona, man. What else could we ask for? The place is sunny, with a touch of vintage, with lots of greens and woods. It’s the perfect setting for a love story.

2. The soundtrack. Italian songs and Colbie Caillat. Now, that’s great music. The film is laden with cool and breezy notes that all scenes are practically like in a musical.

3. The overall aesthetics of the film. I actually couldn’t put my fingers into whatever it was that made me say aesthetics. It’s just that when I was watching the movie, it felt like a freshly baked pie–sweet smelling and delectable looking.

What I Didn’t Like About It

Well . . . let’s just say I thought the movie was all too easy. I could’t quite pinpoint how difficult I wanted the story to be like. But I guess there were just too little conflict. In fact, it was so little a conflict that I could easily tell how the end would be. But okay, maybe we could be a bit lenient since it was, after all, a rom com with an utterly familiar plot.

On the whole, Letters to Juliet is one of those films that you can watch for its goodness and never get tired of the story. It feels nice to have something like that, which is handy enough for a pleasant afternoon lounging with friends–or better yet, with a special someone.

In parting, I’d like to share with you Juliet’s (Sophie’s) letter in reply to Claire’s–in the hope that you take it by the heart and feel the love radiate strongly:

Dear Claire,

“What” and “if” are two words as none threatening as words can be, but put them together side by side and they have the power to haunt you for the rest of your life. What if? What if? What if? I don’t know how your story ended, but if wouldn’t you felt then was true love, then it’s never too late. If it was true then, why wouldn’t it be true now? You need only the courage to follow your heart. I don’t know what a love like Juliet’s feels like –love to leave loved ones for –love to cross oceans for… But I’d like to believe if I ever were to feel it, that’ I’d have the courage to seize it. And Claire, if you didn’t, I hope one day that you will.

All my love,