You, The Film, Metaphorically Speaking

You know how sometimes you’ll first see a trailer for a film that’s coming out, and the first time you see it you feel an acute sense of excitement about going to see it, even if it’s not coming out for weeks, and sometimes months or even the better part of the year?

How there’s sometimes not even a release date yet, and you watch the trailer a ton of times because even though the release date is way, way, way far down the line you still can’t quit revisiting it, and even though it’s this little piece of an unknown whole, you embrace it anyway, fixating on specifics you find extra intriguing or exciting? You know how you love certain little parts or moments within the trailer that you find yourself playing back time after time, and you love the song playing in the background, so you start playing it often, and it makes you think of the trailer, even though you know — because this has happened to you before — that the song might not even appear in the film’s entirety; maybe not even the entire way through the end credits?

You don’t want to get your hopes up, but your hopes aren’t always attached to what you want them to be, just like what you want isn’t always what you decide you want, and there’s not a lot you can do about it.

You start to think this film might change your life, maybe forever. It could be the best film you’ve ever seen, the one that makes everything else you’ve ever watched pale extremely in comparison.

But.

The early reviews come out and they’re bad. The Rotten Tomatoes score is a fucking mess.

You have been warned.

Still, you go and see it, immerse yourself in it as soon as possible. You sit all the way through it — you knew you’d do this no matter what, just to see how everything ends, because sometimes the ending is the most important part, the part you remember more than anything else, even the trailer you fell in love with, and you want to see if there’s any bonus footage before the screen goes full black (there isn’t and the song you love doesn’t play).

Eventually, you have to shuffle back out into the light, blinking to adjust, back into the life you were at least partially attempting to escape. You’re let down. You know that the trailer was better than the film itself — that what you were so excited about when you first saw a tease of the whole far exceeded the whole itself — that the only great things about it were on the surface. And it takes you a while to admit this to yourself. Your friends hated it. Even your Mom didn’t particularly like it and she’s not the most difficult to please when it comes to these things. You defend it. But you only do so because you’ve already put a decent amount of your time and excitement and other varying emotions into what you assumed it would ultimately be, when what you should have done was just move on after having seen the trailer, knowing somehow deep down that that was the best it was going to get and the rest was going to be a disheartening disappointment. But you also know there’s really no way you could have known based exclusively on the trailer. That’s not how it works.

You don’t believe your own judgment. So you go and you see it a second time. Maybe there’s something you missed — a redeeming quality.

But the second time around it somehow seems even worse.

You wonder how something that seemed so amazing on the surface could end up being so terrible and even sad once you were exposed to its depths.

You know how this happens sometimes? How the perception of a tiny fraction of an entirety completely misleads you?

Well, that’s how I think of you.