I don’t cry. I don’t cry for celebrity deaths, weddings, movies, commercials, tv shows, awards shows, talk shows, halftime shows or whatever else most of my gender typically blubber about. I can count on two hands the number of movies that have made me cry in my whole lifetime and there’s only one movie that makes me cry every time I see it: Once Were Warriors.
In fact, when I need to cry, I put that movie on. When I have a deep need to cry, but I just can’t get the tears to flow, I watch that movie. I’ve seen it dozens of times. If someone asked me what movie I would take to a desert island with me, that would be it. I need that movie to cry. Without being able to cry, I would bottle it all up until it explodes and I might not be able to rein it in again.
It could be that movie makes me cry because I’m already predisposed to doing so when I watch it, but there’s something about it that gets to me every single time. I know the exact second in the movie when I will cry, too. There’s a scene where Rena Owen lets loose with a primeval wail that is so powerful that it sends shivers down my spine and starts the waterworks. From that point on, I am a blubbering mess.
Rena Owen must have had something really terrible happen to her to be able to tap into that kind of emotion. That’s not acting; it’s something else entirely. Acting doesn’t make me cry; reality does. That scream of hers is so resonant, so guttural, so moving, so utterly human that it pushes the boundaries of acting. Anyone who ever aspires to be an actor should watch that movie, that scene, and learn how it’s done.
This year alone, I have cried more times than I think I have in the past ten years combined. It’s been a bad year so far. I’ve even cried this year without watching Once Were Warriors. I’ve cried all on my own, like a big girl. The tears just come pouring out and I can’t get them to stop.
I watched Once Were Warriors yesterday. Even though tears had been intermittently trickling down my face all day, even though my eyes were already bloodshot and swollen and stinging, it wasn’t enough. I needed a good cry. I needed wracking sobs. I got them.
My biggest fear is that, one day, Once Were Warriors won’t work any more. If it doesn’t make me cry, what will I do then? That’s why I only watch it when I really need it. It is my last resort. As I pulled out my dusty copy and threw it in my dvd player, I let out a sigh. The sigh was a little universal plea, an incantation that the movie would work just one more time and do what it was supposed to do.
So, now, I cry. I cry for the hurt and the wrong and the unfairness of it all. I cry to feel something besides numbness or pain. I cry for all the things and all the people I’ve lost. I cry for my own selfishness in wanting it all back. I cry because I am lost and I’m not sure I will ever find my way, but as long as I have Once Were Warriors, things will be okay.