What Emotionally Moves Us?

What Emotionally Moves Us?

What emotionally moves us? So many different events or different happenings at all sorts of different times of our lives. What moves us today might have gone past in a whisper of nothingness a year ago, or will fade into the inconsequential tomorrow. But being emotionally moved by an event or occurrence helps remind us we are actually alive and part of the wide world around us. It doesn’t need to be earth-shattering or mind boggling. If it stirs our psyche even for a moment, we have been emotionally moved.

A few weeks ago I finally got to see the movie “White Lies” – “White Lies” is a 2013 New Zealand film based on the Witi Ihimaera novel, Medicine Woman. The film stars Antonia Prebble, Whirimako Black, and Rachel House. Set in New Zealand’s late nineteen century countryside, it’s not a movie I would have normally hankered to see. I’m not usually into watching/reading historical fiction. Anyone who has read my own stories will know that I write contemporary, and while I find history a fascinating subject, I have never felt the urge to set one of my stories anywhere but in today’s time frame.

I am not a movie connoisseur  or anything. If a movie makes me feel – whether it’s happy or moved or angry or sad – then it’s an okay movie.  It’s had an impact on me. If I come out of the theatre and don’t begrudge the money I’ve spent, or the time I’ve just wasted, then it’s an okay movie.

But, back to “White Lies” – the story revolves around three women, the Maori medicine woman, a rich Pakeha (white) woman and her Maori housekeeper. While her husband is away in England, the Pakeha woman discovers she is pregnant and orders her housekeeper to engage the medicine woman to “get rid of the problem”. This is definitely a woman’s story. I doubt any male would sit through it without the occasional groan, or snore. But I found it an intriguing story with a couple of really unexpected twists that caught me totally by surprise.  I came out of the theatre with the “oh man” feeling still running through me. It was definitely an okay movie.

I loved the way they filmed the story with so little background music. They made great use of the natural sounds around the characters, the birds, the animals, the wind, the river. The echo of those deliberate footsteps through the house, still send goose bumps up and down my arms. The silence was of such an impact, I felt embarrassed that the waffle cone of my ice cream was brittle and crisp and very noisy to eat. I was sure I must be disturbing others in the theatre.  I ended up sucking the cone to break down its crunchiness rather than distract the audience around me. Much of the story is told in Maori with English subtitles, whether this might limit its appeal outside New Zealand, I wouldn’t like to guess. The intermittent use of both languages did appeal to me. I imagine this might have been natural for these characters during this era.

I hate to admit my need to see this movie was not driven by a desire to support local talent but something much more selfish. One of the ‘characters’ in this story was a beautiful huntaway dog. My grand-fur-baby. Talk about getting an attack of the warm and fuzzies the first time I saw him. He performed so well and looked so wonderful. I felt very proud, even though I had nothing to do with any of his training, I often look after him for my daughter and son-in-law. Is that weird? I have to ask. To feel a sense of pride when seeing a family dog on television or in the movies?  Too bad! I was as proud as punch and don’t care who knows it.

Finn with his trainer, Kim

We sat all the way through the movie credits waiting to see his name in blazing technocolour. Sadly he wasn’t acknowledged. We laughed to see in very large font “Thanks to Dog MooLoo” near the end of the credits. Our boy’s name is Finn – not sure who MooLoo is or what role s/he played in the story, maybe I blinked and missed seeing another dog – but obviously it was more worthy than our poor Finn.

There is a slight down side to having a movie star in the family. Some of the things he needed to be taught for the movie – many of which by the way appear to have been left on the cutting room floor – have a nuisance value now. Since “White Lies”, the second I walk through the gate at his place he’s jumping all over me. I know he’s just happy to see me, but couldn’t he be happy with all four feet on the ground.

If you get the chance to see this movie, I highly recommend it. It is different. And even without Finn staring, I know I would have been moved by it’s story.


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