“I wanted to bottle the pain of standing in a parking lot next to a Piggly Wiggly and having your heart broken.”
Writer director Jeff Nichols on his film Mud
When a man loves a woman, he can’t keep his mind on nothing else
He’ll trade the world for the good thing he’s found
If she is bad, he can’t see it, she can do no wrong
When a Man Loves a Woman
Lyrics by Calvin Lewis and Andrew Wright and recorded by Percy Sledge in Sheffield, Alabama
Over the weekend I saw in theaters the movies Mud and The Great Gatsby, and afterwards I realized they were connected. Though the timeframes are decades part, the settings totally different, and the socio-economics worlds apart—the films are connected by this universal and timeless thing known as love. At the story core of Mud and The Great Gatsby is the desire for a man to re-connect with a woman he loves.
You could do a whole film class called “Lost Love 101.” I’m sure Casablanca wasn’t the first film to touch on lost love, but it’d be a good place to start.
“Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world…she walks into mine.”
Rick (Humphrey Bogart)
1943 Oscar-winning Best Picture Casablanca
I don’t have any idea how many movies throughout film history revolve around lost love, but I do know last year that I walked away from seeing Django Unchained and Silver Linings Playbook realizing that the story spines were also about men trying to get back a lost love. One thing that shows you is that there is no end to the simple single concept of a man trying to find a lost love. There’s always room for different characters in different parts of the world taking a concept as old as love itself and giving audiences new experiences. (I think I’ll start a movie list about a men or a women trying to retrieve lost love. Place in comments or email me your favorites.)
In memory of the great country singer George Jones, I should mention no class on lost love would be complete without his song He Stopped Loving Her Today. The song, written by Bobby Braddock and Curly Putnam , is considered one of the greatest country songs ever. Alan Jackson sang it last week at the close of George Jones’ funeral.
P.S. Some have said that George Jones was the model for the character Max Sledge in Tender Mercies written by Horton Foote. A role that brought Robert Duvall an Oscar. Tender Mercies is a film by the way that 35-year-old Jeff Nichols referenced in one of his interviews about Mud. Just one big connected world.