I want to thank my son, brother-in-law, and sister-in-law for educating me about spoiler alerts. After I wrote this piece, I asked them if it would upset any readers. They suggested I tell you this: I’ve tried to avoid spoilers in this post. But you may want to delay reading it until after you see the movie.
I’ve been eagerly awaiting Saturday, December 16th. My teenage son and I were going to the Museum of Discovery and Science. A lovely, kind family invited us to their holiday party. This included a viewing of The Last Jedi at the IMAX theater in Fort Lauderdale.
Before I continue, I’d like to tell you about the teasing that took place on the way to the event. “Mom. You won’t have a clue what’s going on” and “Do you even know who Luke Skywalker is???” Alec was partially correct, and he knows his momma well. I detest violent video games and films. And I’ve never been a fan of sci-fi flicks.
During our car ride, I boasted that I used to own a blinking Return of the Jedi visor. Alec responded with a snicker and eye roll that implied, “Mom, you’re such a dork.” Yes, I told him proudly, I know most of the characters. I even offered to dress up as Leia. Wouldn’t that be fantastic? Alec balked at this suggestion. For the record, costumes were encouraged on the invitation.
So why did I agree to see the eighth Star Wars movie? (What’s the order in which one watches these movies anyway? I am still confused despite discussing this with my teen.) Alec’s excitement and anticipation warmed my heart. But more importantly, if something interests my children, I’m there no matter what. I couldn’t wait to experience this with my son.
I also must share that I awoke abruptly at 3 a.m. yesterday morning. It felt as if the entire percussion section of an orchestra had invaded my brain. This intense migraine wouldn’t quit despite the consumption of caffeine and Advil. I felt queasy from the persistent pounding.
Alec offered to stay home and skip the movie. I said, “No way, mister (as I winced and hoped he wouldn’t notice). You’ve been so psyched to see your friends and the film. And I’ve been looking forward to a special night with my favorite guy!”
We arrived at the museum and immediately realized this was not the intimate gathering we’d expected. We reconnected and bantered with friends from Alec’s former school. It was a bit challenging to ignore the pulsing in my head while conversing in the midst of noisy reverberation. “Do or do not. There is no try.” Yoda’s wise words echoed in my mind as the throbbing continued.
After the cocktail hour, we headed to the theater. Alec and I grabbed a seat that was thankfully in the middle. I quietly told the irritable woman next to me that I may need to walk out. She loudly munched on huge handfuls of popcorn while she retorted with a comment I couldn’t hear.
The lights dimmed, and I silently begged this migraine to leave. As the previews began, Alec and I started to giggle. As if the noise weren’t enough? We were given 3D glasses to wear! Oh my gosh. Then we were informed about the multiple speakers that would produce surround sound. We laughed harder. I asked Alec to lean over. I pretended, to his horror, to hurl into his pocket. The movie hadn’t even begun; we were starring in our own comedy.
And then John Williams’ epic, soul-moving composition electrified the room. I love classical music, and Williams is one of my favorite composers. I don’t want to spoil the movie for those of you who may see it. However, I do want to share my experience. It was life changing. I realize that sounds a bit dramatic. But I mean it sincerely.
I felt it. The force was with me. I cried three times. I felt a flood of nostalgia as the dialogue, actions, music, and visuals merged to form a soulful on-screen symphony. I grabbed Alec’s shirt with awe when Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) commanded the screen. I shrieked like a little girl when R2-D2 and Chewbacca appeared. And I wept every time I watched General Leia (Carrie Fisher). Her presence overwhelmed me, especially knowing this was her last film before she passed. She was breathtaking.
It’s time for a public confession: I had NO idea that the Star Wars series was spiritual. I cannot stop replaying certain lines (“Let the past die. . . That’s the only way to become what you were meant to be.”) The ghost of one of the Jedi masters briefly graced the screen. He said, “The greatest teacher, failure is.” Alec glanced at me with a knowing look that implied, “That sounds like you, Mom.” I realized Yoda is the only being on the planet whose agrammatical phrases don’t irritate me.
The themes throughout the film were universal and relatable. The soulful interpretation of death moved me deeply. I was captivated by the light versus dark sequences. Inner conflicts depicted the complexity of all beings’ journeys. The nuanced portrayal of how nobody is all good or all evil was entrancing. And I loved the strong, fierce female characters.
I didn’t budge from my seat. As the movie continued, my migraine miraculously migrated elsewhere. For the first time in my life, I used those funky glasses, and it was like poetry in motion. The animation and clarity were exquisite.
The entire way home I chattered like a young girl who’d ridden a bike for the first time. I told Alec I want a purple light saber. I’ve been been thinking about learning self defense ever since we saw Wonder Woman, and last night sealed the deal. I also told Alec that he’s inspired me to take martial arts class. I committed to myself and to him that would be one of my goals for 2018.
I told Alec this is a night I would never, ever forget. It was touching to experience this enlightening, emotional moment with him. I can’t wait to re-watch the earlier movies. And I want to see the prequels for the first time. I get it. I finally understand the Force.
As Master Yoda said, “Much to learn you still have…my old padawan. This is just the beginning!” Yoda, my heart and mind are open. I am ready and eager to learn!