No, I didn’t change my flight from Helsinki to San Francisco to go to Rome instead, abandon all my responsibilities and opt for a permanent holiday. (Though hey, it doesn’t sound like a bad idea!) But I have a habit of bringing one DVD movie with me on trips like this to enjoy some lonely night in my hotel room. And this trip’s choice was Roman Holiday, the classic film with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn. (In fact, I think Audrey Hepburn's first film.)
Of course, I’d seen it before many years ago, but thanks to leaking memory, it didn’t diminish the pleasure to watch it again. In fact, it just zoomed up to my top 10 favorite list. It has everything I look for in a film— attractive leading man and lady with attractive characters to boot, a plot with twists and turns, secrets and misunderstandings, adventure, surprise and most important of all, transformation. Someone’s world opening up to new dimensions, often riding on the wings of love. Not only love between two people, but the love freed up by new experiences, new dreamed-of or previously undreamed-of possibilities, the delicious sense of abandoning the obligations that both define us and keep us tethered to a too narrow definition. Opening wider, reaching higher, digging deeper, the 360 degree expansion into a larger version of ourself. And then the inevitable return to duty— but with the windows still open to further transformation. Humor, tenderness, heart-stopping moments, all set against the romance of Rome. A classic.
To quote the predictable endings of our elementary school book reports (do kids still do these?): “If you want to find out what happened, I suggest you see this film.”