The frequency with which I cry at movies is, honestly, a bit embarrassing. It's not like streams of tears down my face; it's more like a watery eyes kind of thing. But still, I see someone crying up there, and I just can't help it. It seems as if it's good for us to see ourselves cry. I watched Children of Men tonight and something about it spoke to me, and maybe it was that. Not that there was much crying during the movie (and no crying from me, either, this time). It was, however, a clear reflection of the pain in our world. Maybe when we see ourselves, transformed into characters on the screen but still recognizable, we can learn about ourselves, and weep for ourselves. In this move the images of war and hatred and prejudice and fear were constant, and along side them courage and hope. There's something about the juxtaposition of the ugliness of the world and it's beauty that rings true. Of course, there was little beauty in this movie that wasn't the result of some very fine film making, but the fact that we can turn the horrific into something beautiful, or that we can find beauty in the terrible, seems to hint that they are not so far apart. The ugliness in this movie was our ugliness, and the beauty our beauty, in us side by side. Now, Little Miss Sunshine, another movie I loved this year, did make me cry (just a little). Mostly, it's a hilarious family comedy, but there's a lot of hurt there. At times you ache for the characters. But it's easy to see that we are those people, lovely and broken and funny and sad all at once. In her exquisite book, Gilead, Marilynne Robinson writes "every single one of us is a little civilization built on the ruins of any number of preceding civilizations." Each one of us criminals and murderers, healers and the saints.