Films have made a huge impact on my life. I remember one of the first dates I ever went on- we went to see Titanic. I recall sitting next to the date of my dreams (at that time), getting lost in the storyline and simply feeling a rush of emotions. I started to get a taste of what love could be.
Films can be a comfort. Years after my first date, I had my first heartbreak. My dad took me to see Braveheart right after the breakup happened, and I remember sobbing in the back row of the theater while he sat beside me. I watched a movie about heartbreak as I was experiencing my own, and yes- it was a comfort.
Films can shape how we think, how we interpret life, and how we feel about the world around us. I remember watching the movie Stepmom with Julia Roberts, and truly understanding for the first time that my parents might not be around forever. It changed the way I view my relationship with my family.
Films also allow us to discuss topics that might be difficult and open up the communication barriers. I recently watched Inside Out with my (very sensitive) son, and after we were able to talk openly about what role feelings play and how they define our personality.
I recently attended the JCC Chicago Jewish Film Festival Preview Party and was able to hear about a number of up and coming films that aim to make you laugh, cry, love, remember and think. We were treated to popcorn from Highland Pop (a huge variety of flavors to sample during the previews) and a lively narrative from Peter Sagal of NPR. This is my friend Liz Abrams and I, in our best “denim chic” looks for the red carpet! I decided to go with a denim button down paired with a silver sequin skirt.
Some films that I previewed told a story of local history, such as Breakfast at Ina’s, a documentary that chronicles the life and career of Ina Pinkney aka “The Breakfast Queen.” My husband and I used to live around the corner from Ina’s, and every breakfast was an experience. Anyone else a fan of her pancakes??
Other films addressed issues that haven’t been tackled often in the past. That Bites is a documentary by a Wilmette 8th grader Jack Yonover. Jack developed food allergies in the past few years and wanted a platform to raise awareness about his fears and frustrations with this widespread issue. If you have a child with food allergies, it would be an excellent film to view together!
One film in particular that I know will leave a lasting impact is Autism in Love. This explores the lives of four autistic adults as they manage romantic relationships. What an amazing tale of people who seem different from traditional romantic leads and shows that love is a universal language that we ALL share.
I encourage you to attend a film or two (or more!) if you have the time; there are 18 to choose from. Regardless of your faith, culture or beliefs, these films are for everyone to share. Check out the schedule here and see what piques your interest. If you want to introduce your children to one of the films, you can head to the Lights, Camera, Carnival Festival on 3/13 from 4-6pm where they will show a screening of Frog and Toad.
What films have affected you? Are there ones that changed the way you feel, think, live?
Thank you to the JCC Chicago for having me as their guest at the Preview Party!