[Dạ Ly’s list] 10 movie characters that leave me heartached (Part 1)

Since when has boys taking girls to the cinema been the most dating cliché ever? This courtesy just proves one thing, that movies have become a major part in social life. Everyone loves movies and everyone is curious about the industry, about those beautiful people with their pretty faces on the big screen. Like any other kind of art, filmography is a way of telling stories and expressing ideas: one may write, one may draw it out, one may compose a song; however movies, above all, create the most fulfilling and perfect story-telling, with real people acting, music included, real scenes set up and explicit display of affection. Thus it is easier for most viewers to empathize with movie characters; we see them cry and we feel hurt, too.

Here is a list of movie characters that have left the most heartbreaking feeling in me. This list is based only on movies I have seen recently and can clearly remember, and in no particular order.

  1. The Green Mile – the black detainee

Portrayed by Michael Clarke Duncan

The Green Mile is an excellent movie based in a prison named Green Mile. Tom Hanks plays a warden, who later finds out that the black detainee (I don’t remember his name, as I saw it a long time ago), who is charged with raping a little girl and then killing her, is in fact innocent. This black man, despite the rumor of him being an extremely violent person, was a very warm and sweet man; he even possesses a special power: he healed injuries, and people (or animals) that were cured by him would live longer than others.

I remember watching this movie with my parents at home, and they forced me to turn the TV off to skip the scene where the black detainee was executed. They just couldn’t handle the pain and the cruelty of the scene. Before the execution, the detainee was taken to the cinema for the last movie in his life; he looked at beautiful (white) actors on the screen, and said they “look like angels”. That was the first time I ever burst into tears watching a movie, I think. And I couldn’t stop. I turned the TV on again after 5 minutes, and kept on crying-watching. Seeing a good heart leaving the world was such a heartbreaking moment.

  1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Charlie

Portrayed by Logan Lerman

This is the best coming-of-age movie I’ve seen. With a strong cast, the movie can be said to have won in almost every aspect. Logan Lerman gave a deep and sensitive performane as main character Charlie, an inept and introvert teenager, who I personally find something in common. I am eager to see other works of this young talented man.

  1. Kokuhaku (Confessions) – Shuuya Watanabe

Portrayed by Yukito Nishii

“Pop… the sound of something important disappears from your life.” That’s a signature line of the movie, which may well discribes your feeling when the movie comes to an end.

Kokuhaku is the kind of movie that would haunt you forever. This is the very proof that Japanese are the most clever, creative and bizarre people in the world. The idea of Kokuhaku first appeared in a novel written by a very young Japanese female writer; it was such an excellent novel, yet it arose divided opinions from public. The matter dealt in Kokuhaku is harsh to handle in any culture: child crime.

Shuuya Watanabe is a middle school genius. He admires his estranged mother and would go any length to catch her attention, for she left him a long time ago. Stick to that intention, Shuuya doesn’t hesitate to commit crimes. The movie creates a dark gloomy mood right in the center of a school, with teenagers smiling that only make the movie creepier. And I haven’t mentioned Radiohead’s Last Flowers featured in the film, making it one of the best music choice ever made.

Shuuya is sick. But I guess he’s just a poor boy. He was born with a perfect brain and a defective heart, making him the coldest and most unhappy child in the world. I rated Kokuhaku 5/5, but I do think I could have graded 6/5 if possible.

  1. The Place Beyond the Pines – Handsome Luke (Glanton)

Portrayed by Ryan Gosling

I had a hard time choosing Luke Glanton among many other impressive characters that Ryan Gosling have played. Gosling surely can act, but he also possesses this gift of choosing the very right project to work on, and playing a wide range of characters. Noah in The Notebook, Lars in Lars and the Real Girl, Driver in Drive, Daniel Dunn in Half Nelson, or even that Barney-Stinson-style character Jacob Palmer in the rom-com flick Crazy Stupid Love, all deserve a big applause on his acting skills. But Luke Glanton is hands down the most powerful character he has portrayed; in my opinion it even outdoes his Academy nominated role in Half Nelson.

Luke Glanton, aka Handsome Luke, is a stunt motorcyclist who performs in State Fairs. He travelled across the country, from towns to towns, from this lover to lover, leaving heart breaks. He lives without a care and a cause in the world. Now he comes back to Schenectady, New York  just to find out he knocked up Romina, the local girl he had a fling with one year ago, and now he has an infant son. The moment Luke stands in front of Romina’s door and her mother tells him the baby boy is his, that moment changes Luke forever. He suddenly realizes that all these muscles, motorcycling, tatoos or any other masculine cliché he has tried to put on himself means completely nothing. He’s just an empty person. There he stands, in front of the only and purest thing he ever created, and yet he doesn’t know what to do. He clumsily holds him in his hands for the first time, fearing that he’s too dirty to even touch the little angel. Luke then gives up everything to stay in town to take care of Romina and the boy. “I am his father, I should be around him. I wasn’t around my dad, and look at the f*cking way I turned out.” Luke tries everything to support his boy, even committing illegal acts. But everything bad has to come to an end. Luke ends up in a tragic death. Prior to his demise, he called up Romina and asked her for the last favor: do not tell the boy about him.

The Place Beyond the Pines successfully depicts the pain and drama going on inside a blue-collar father. Ryan Gosling can say so many things through the eyes: the shame, the pain, the hopelessness. He stays the centre of the whole 2-hour movie even though he dies after the first 40 minutes – enough said how strong the mark he made in the film.

(To be continued)

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