And While We Were Here

by kangcuzzi

I admit: I harbour a romantic who can never resist the pristine calm of an European landscape fused with a story of love. After just having finished Kat Coiro’s And While We Were Here (2012), my heart feels stretched and wrested in all the wrong, yet very right, places. It would be fair to say that I’ve just discovered a runner-up to my all-time favorite Before Sunrise

And While We Were Here tells the tale of Jane, who travels to Italy along with her husband, Leonard, in anticipation for his concert. Throughout their stay, it is evident that their marriage is lackluster and troubled in its excessive quietude; in the desire to seek liberty beyond the confines of the home, Jane decides to explore on her own — and stumbles upon a fellow American, nineteen year-old Caleb. The story that unfolds as a consequence of this chance encounter is one of love, conflict and the desperate want to seek something greater in the everyday.

Where do I begin? I fell in love literally at the start of the movie as we catch the first glimpse — out of many — of the breathtaking cinematography. The authenticity of the traveler’s realm, the trains, the views, the freshness of arrival, coupled with the beautiful Italian panoramas and waltzing tunes… all truly evocative of the much crazed-for wanderlust. The warm, orange hues of the Italian streets, later juxtaposed with sapphire shots of the sea. Now I’m revealing not much more than a wayward string of poetic musings on what I saw, but heck — it was beautiful.

Sure, the dialogue was a little stale at times, the scenes a bit repetitive. But it was honest, and it was the honesty that grabbed me, much in the same way Richard Linklater did. The silent gaps between cuts were so intimate, it made me feel as if I was intruding on whatever I was watching; likewise, the rawness of certain scenes — in the absence of music or changing shots — heightened this sense of my presence, my complete involvement in the moment.

Now I’m just itching to immerse myself into a place as equally romantic as I’ve witnessed over the past hour and a half. And, of course, to soothe this jittery sense of post-movie restlessness in my mind.

Afterwards, the next challenge would be to find another quiet romance movie set in a picturesque European city… although that is no daunting task. I am sure there are many lying about across the wide blue yonder of the web, and I am willing to sail to seek them.