Filmmaker Chris Brickler’s passionate, mesmerizing, humorous and touching “Song of Songs” is a paean to love in all its wonderful, messy, complex glory. What distinguishes it from so many other love stories is its empathy for those who fall in love and then find themselves “bewitched, bothered and bewildered” by the everyday challenges of being in love.
The film explores several relationships at various stages — but the delights at the center of the film are the filmmaker’s grandparents. (Here’s a snapshot of them with Chris.)
The senior Bricklers have been married for 65 years, a feat utterly unthinkable even 50 or so years ago. Heck, people didn’t even live that long until very recently, let alone stay married for almost seven decades. How do you manage to stay married — very happily — through all the changes that 65 years can bring? The Bricklers tell you with insight, compassion and humor. One of the most touching moments in the film occurs when Mrs. Brickler gets a very loving kiss from Mr. Brickler, after gently chiding him to do so.
The film underscores the point that love is, to all of us, a mystery that reveals more of itself every day in our interactions with others and our solitary moments. We are always searching for those answers, knowing full well that each answer inevitably leads to the next question.
Interspersed are the insightful observations of relationship guru Harville Hendrix, whose understanding of the human search for love is truly inspiring. In one of the most moving moments in the film, Hendrix observes that many people run away from relationships when the going gets tough. Ironically, Hendrix says, it’s the people who persevere during those dark times who later discover that things get very dark just before they’re about to get so much better.
This sense of optimism and hope permeates the entire film. See it with someone you love, or want to love, or have loved. And save a special place in your heart for Grandmother and Grandfather Brickler. If there were a contest for America’s grandparents, I think the Bricklers might win in a landslide … and I for one would love to see their victory speech.
P.S. See “Song of Songs” on DVD by joining The Spiritual Cinema Circle; it’s one of SCC’s February 2008 inspirational films.