How life itself can pass us by

Like a film. Interesting to read a small remembrance of Robin Williams from someone who actually knew him well, not just as a screen persona. 

He was very childlike. I remember him asking his second wife, Marsha, for permission—‘Can I go swimming now?’ He was Peter Pan… He made fun of himself, which a lot of comedians can’t, and he had a great laugh, and there was not a mean streak in him.” Penny Marshall in The New Yorker

 I’d been discussing the gap between celebrity and intimacy with an astute film expert, noting that we think we know famous people when the reality is that they’re not well known even to themselves. Self-knowledge is hard to come by for us all, and harder still for those whose fictional larger-than-life projections are constantly mirrored back at them. So it’s reassuring to realize that Robin was pretty much who he seemed to be.

That same astute film expert summarizes the affecting power of Boyhood much better than I did:

It is about the fragility of life, this particular time and place in history, about parenting, teaching and childhood (of a certain class, race and gender), not investing in politics, and, most of all, about how life itself can pass us by like a film.

“Life itself.” Roger Ebert’s book arrived here yesterday. I’d read it and seen it, now I want to give it to someone whose life has recently hit the fast track on its way I’m sure to extraordinary and spectacular things. Someone else with a passion for cinematic portrayals of life itself. It will complement that Moleskine, which I’ve found to be one of the best ways of slowing life down just long enough to appreciate it before it passes us by.

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