I know you’re mostly bookish people here, but for me, a story is a story, and I love watching them just as much as I do reading them. I stumbled upon October Gale via Netflix tonight and it ruined me for a few hours. Don’t worry – it was a good ruin – it hit me in all the right feels. Not at all what I was expecting, and wow, was it worth it. I found it such an unlikely pairing of characters with the widowed Helen (Patricia Clarkson) and the mysterious William (Scott Speedman), and a slow pace that, surprisingly, I quite enjoyed. I’ve loved stories long before becoming a writer, be them in books or on film. I love to be entertained. But, I’m noticing that the older I get, the more I find beauty in simplicity. Because sometimes ‘less is more’ is quite perfect. October Gale was a lovely ‘less is more’ moment.
The film, which is deliberately more character driven and full of raw emotion rather than empty dialogue and needless action, totally awed me. The last two minutes especially. I dare you to find anyone who doesn’t enjoy Patricia Clarkson on screen, but I’ve a new found respect for Scott Speedman and his expertly timed glances and his ability to speak to the camera without words. I’ve not seen this side of his acting. I’m completely hooked now, y’all. He could simply stare at a wall and I’d happily watch, but in this movie he made my eyes do that funny watering thing I don’t particularly enjoy just from the way he swallowed and tilted his head. Damn you, Scott. You should come with a warning label.
Anyway. I know I’m late on this movie, which came out in 2014, so once it was over and I was done rewinding the ending again and again, I went online and read the first few sentences from a handful of reviews, then I stopped. It didn’t appear to be highly favored by critics (which I hardly ever agree with anyway so that wasn’t a surprise), and I didn’t need to read on to find out why, because the movie did for me what movies are supposed to do…it made me feel. I chewed on the inside of my lip. I frowned. I smiled. I laughed. I held my breath a bit longer than my lungs appreciated. I cried. You know that feeling at the end of a story you love that feeds your soul something it needs, but still makes you hungry for more? I guess that’s what October Gale did for me. I found it beautiful.
The story line is simple, but also intricate, and that raw emotion I mentioned before seemed so real that the residual glow still has my nerves on end. I know I’ll go to bed and dream about it (which kinda sucks in reality, because before I pass out from exhaustion, I’ll lay in bed tossing and turning and thinking about Helen and Will…for hours…I just know it…and let’s pretend I didn’t just complain about Scott Speedman possibly entering my dreams because that would most definitely NOT suck). There’s such a vulnerability coming from the two main actors in these roles that I didn’t realize I missed so much in movies lately. And they did this without lengthy scripts. This feeling right here, that makes me want to rewind and watch the movie over and over another dozen times, is the feeling I love most about creating fictional worlds with fictional people that hopefully, one day, might touch someone real. I wish I could bottle it, and save it for a rainy day when the muse is quiet and I need a fix. These are the stories that inspire me; the ones that leave an impression, even if what I write is nothing similar and not nearly as good.
Thank you, Ruba Nadda (and those who brought the story to life), for this one. I really enjoyed it, and will enjoy it at least a thousand times more. Like I said…just lovely.