starring Paul Giamatti, Da'vine Joy Randolph, Dominic Sessa, Carrie Preston
written by David Hemingson
directed by Alexander Payne
by Walter Chaw It was never like this, but it's how I remember it: snow on the ground, ice in patches, a well-appointed office wall-to-wall with books, a fireplace, and me and a classmate, a dear friend, doing an independent study with my favourite professor. I have looked my whole life for my people. I think sometimes they are the fragments I shore against my ruins, that thing T.S. Eliot said to describe the whole of Western civilization informing his writing--but thinking of them as fragments seems wrong. Just as how their spark in my life is not the holding me up but the giving me a reason to want to persist. It would be so much easier not to. I saw an old friend the other day, and he told a story about how I said something to him once that aided him when he was at his lowest point. I didn't remember saying it, though I remembered the feeling of fear I had for him at the time and was moved to tears that I had helped him as he had so often helped me. You can't really know the wake you leave behind as you go. My favourite poem is William Wordsworth's "Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey", particularly for how it speaks of the "best portion of a man's life, his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love." This line has meant different things to me at different times in my life. I wonder what it means to me now.