Finally, Woody Allen surpassed himself. “Magic in the moonlight”, perhaps the first one of his films with a happy ending. Nobody kills anybody, people in the end do not go on with their boring lives as if nothing had happened. The characters do not remain the same small, narrow-minded and shallow people, they were in the beginning, as if the events of the film haven’t touched them at all. Love triumphs, people change, forgive, start a new life. Optimism beats misery, the players make concessions together, they strip naked (figuratively) in front of each other and leave behind the weaknesses of the past. The characteristic “Woody Allen stress” is almost nonexistent.
And what about us? We watch the movie, trying to guess the end and just before the purification, the Catharsis (Κάθαρσις), we are concerned about the discussion of the protagonist with the “Deus Ex Machina”, his aunt. It is beneficial to have someone that knows you so well, understands you and wants what’s best for you. This debate is probably the most wise and profound thing Woody Allen has created. The aunt takes the role of Socrates, becomes the devil’s advocate, endorses from the beginning Stanley’s arguments and, throughout a dialogue with the concept “the only thing I know, is that I know nothing” (“ἓν οἶδα ὅτι οὐδὲν οἶδα” in ancient Greek), she eventually makes him admit even to himself that he nourishes feelings for Sophie. And they live happily ever after.
What’s impressive in the whole film, though, is the absence of stress. The characters have Woody Allen elements, but none of them can be characterized as over-stressed. Nobody speaks quickly, nobody’s in a hurry to get to the end, no one seems to resent the fact that things unfold with a specific speed. That’s why I say that Woody finally surpassed himself. Because this lack of anxiety is a great virtue. Sometimes things are not as we want them to be. And, to be honest, most of the times, just the opposite of what you expect happens. And this creates stress. Stress which often becomes unbearable. We want to control everything, to know where we are going, to plan everything in our lives. This is a tragic mistake. First of all, it is impossible to happen. Thus, you will definitely be disappointed and will get more stressed by it. Secondly, stress always takes the place of other emotions. It cannot co-exist with anything else, it wants its own space and when we finally give stress the space it wants, it then requests an even greater space. It replaces everything inside of us, our optimism, our inner peace, appreciation of beautiful things in our lives. Stress blinds us and guides us the worst possible way.
Unfortunately, stress is a a necessary evil in our lives. We live with a watch in our hand, a clock beside the bed, a clock in our mobile phone, computer, microwave. On the wall, in the car, on the cross of each pharmacy. We’re always late, we should always run, someone is always unhappy with us and is chasing us. But, at least, let’s limit this paranoia in professional life, in five or maybe ten serious obligations each of us has during the day. Because, when stress overwhelms our personal life, our relaxation moments, our relationships, it becomes uncontrollable.
What’s the point in trying to predict how your date will go? And if you see that it does not go as you planned it would be, what’s the point in becoming stressed about it and trying to turn it in a direction that makes you feel more comfortable? You feel lonely, at times you lose hope, you feel like you’re suffocating, you want to finish, to move on, to change your situation. It’s totally justified. Everyone feels like that. Maybe more often, much more intensely than you imagine they do. You are not alone. We are all boiling in the same cauldron (greek expression meaning that we are all in the same situation). We are, as deep in the shit as everyone else, we are in a society that we built ourselves and that has long ago turned against us. It has eliminated our free time, it has crushed our dreams, it has destroyed our expectations to improve our quality of life. It has convinced us that the answer is stress. That, if we get stressed enough, we have hopes to save the situation, to get on time, to turn the game, to win.
It’s not like that at all. Stress is the enemy. Are you poor? Unemployed? Completely miserable? Single for years without being able to find another wretch like you to communicate? Tell them all to go to hell, to see the difference! Go out to have fun yourself, not to find a girl or a guy, or to please your friends with your company. You’re the important one. No one else. Relax. Any situation has its positives and negatives. And by being anxious, you can’t do anything. Take a deep breath, maybe two or three. As many as you need. Take a day off. From work, from life, from everything. Lay down anywhere it pleases you and think about it, find yourself. Find your limits, your real desires, separate the reality from daydreaming and your true dreams.
You want to be with George? Try it. Don’t give a rat’s ass about it; fucking chasing your dream, if you think you want to. Will you land on your face? You’ll get over it. Then it will happen again. I guarantee it. You’ll get over THAT one too. You will cry, you get miserable, you will fall asleep hugging a toilet full of your vomit and, the next day, your friends will send you photos of it. We will send drunken messages to your ex and will never get an answer. You will spend days after days in bed without even the desire to eat. That’s life and its called like that because you have to LIVE IT. You are obligated to do it and whichever road you choose, it’s YOUR road and it’s the correct one. But for God’s sake, don’t get stressed about it. Shit happens, whatever will be, will be. We are all sensitive, more or less, and the first 25 years are the hardest. After a while, you keep on facing the same situations, the same problems, the same shit in the head, your head or the others’. But you do not care. You’ve built your character, you’ve learnt your limits, you know when to tell people to go to hell, people and situations that make you feel bad. And you come to this state only with experience. Only by not being afraid of your shadow and your mistakes.
Just don’t be afraid to live…