In my second year of college I read The Dead by James Joyce, beside the woman who would later be my wife. We both agreed that it was probably the most dull text we had ever read in the arena of fiction. I cannot deny that Joyce is a genius of the highest caliber, but that couldn't keep me from sleeping again and again through the story which seemed to be about nothing. A party full of non-events to non-people. Our teacher, when we dragged into class to discuss the story, said that boredom was the point. That these people were not actually living, but they were, in fact, more dead alive than the memories of their dead. Because of this horrid experience, I avoided the film. Even though the film took only as long as it did to read the story, I didn't want to experience that "hour that felt like five" again.
Unlike the story, this film is bright with characters and the language, cloth and candles of the best costume dramas. The script is about everyday people, but unlike the story, they shine in their mediocrity, representing Salieri's final cry in Amadeus in praise of the mediocre than J.K. Rowlings demand that our talent be worth more than "good job." It is a celebration, not of Epiphany, but of lives half lived, and the dead who burned out in glorious moments.
I will never forget this film. Not because of it's qualities, although they are many. But because I watched it now, today. This film will always be connected to this time, and like the dead, I will only remember the powerful emotions it pulled out of me.