I love Tom Hanks as an actor.
As a fan of classic cinema, he reminds me a great deal of James Stewart. He takes on the roles of the "everyman". His characters always seem to be individuals who find strength in surviving the ordinary and the extraordinary of daily life. Mr. Hanks can be goofy (Volunteers 1985), heartbreaking (Philadelphia 1993), heartwarming (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close 2011), innocent (Big 1988), loveable (Turner and Hooch 1989), romantic (Sleepless in Seattle 1993 and You've Got Mail 1998), heroic (Saving Private Ryan 1998), stalwart (Apollo 13 1995), trusting (pick any Toy Story movie), modest (Forrest Gump 1994), imbued with quiet inner strength (Cast Away 2000), tenacious (Catch Me If You Can 2002), satirical (The Ladykillers 2004), and so very very human (Larry Crowne 2011). Even a mediocre film is often elevated in stature for me by the mere screen presence of Tom Hanks.
He is one of the main reasons that I wanted to see Captain Phillips. (As an aside, I am also chomping at the bit to see Saving Mr. Banks due out later this year, but that has as much to do with my Mary Poppins fanaticism as it does with Tom.) I remembered well the news stories of Captain Richard Phillips and his terrifying ordeal at the hands of Somalian pirates, and the movie had received universally excellent reviews. And so it was that The Husband and I ventured out last week to a local theatre with friends.
The movie was excellent...I think. I only managed to see half of it. Oh, I sat in the theatre for the entire duration of the film. It's just that I had to keep my eyes closed and my head between my knees for large chunks of it. You see, Captain Phillips made me seasick.
I have discussed my extreme motion sickness issues before, but I honestly never imagined that I would need Gravol and sea bands in a movie theatre. There were times during the film that I was concocting Rube Goldberg-like devices to metaphorically murder director Paul Greengrass in his sleep. He choose to give the audience that true and authentic feeling of what life at sea must really be like. Jerky motions with hand-held cameras and angles that were fleeting and skewed, played brilliantly into that nausea-inducing experience. Much of the film is viewed at sea level, and the perspective one receives of Captain Phillips himself trapped inside that horrible dinghy is highly kinetic and continually shifting. And...it had me reaching for an imaginary airsickness bag from the seat back in front of me.
The Husband was incredulous. This is a man who has seen it all when it comes to me and my inner ear disorder, but even he couldn't fathom how one could suffer from vertigo during a movie.
"It's not real," he whispered. "It's just a movie."
He kept pleading with me to remove my glasses and close my eyes. He was very much enjoying the film and didn't want to leave. And so....I lowered my head, prayed for the room to stop swaying, hoped beyond hope that my Twizzlers would stay down, and listened intently to the last forty or so minutes of what should have a been a great flick.
It took me a good ten minutes after the movie had ended for me to make my exit. You're laughing, aren't you? Well, you try descending stairs in a slightly darkened and undulating auditorium. My only saving grace is that I wasn't alone. Unbeknownst to me, my friend had undergone much the same experience and was tripping down the stairs directly in front of me. Twenty-four hours later and my equilibrium had still not perfectly centred.
Movie ratings boards provide helpful classifications so that audiences might be aware of sex, violence, and language contained within. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that it might be necessary to place a warning label on a film that cautions "Puking might occur during viewing. See at own risk."
I still love Tom Hanks and from my limited viewing of the film he might just snag another Oscar nomination. But I think that I will choose to see something a bit less brutal next time. Maybe 12 Years a Slave?