The nuns taught us there were two ways through life—the way of nature and the way of grace. You have to choose which one you’ll follow. Grace doesn’t try to please itself. Accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked. Accepts insults and injuries. Nature only wants to please itself. Get others to please it too. Likes to lord it over them. To have its own way. It finds reasons to be unhappy when all the world is shining around it. And love is smiling through all things. The nuns taught us that no one who loves the way of grace ever comes to a bad end. I will be true to you, whatever comes.
–Terrence Malick, from The Tree of Life
Fortune Teller: You need to find your home in yourself. You haven’t dropped into your body yet.
Tracy: If I’m not in my body then where am I?
Fortune Teller: Five feet to the left and unhappy.
— Mistress America, screenplay by Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach
Bagger Vance: Put your eyes on Bobby Jones, look at his practice swing, almost like he’s searching for something, then he finds it. Watch how he settles himself right into the middle of it, feel that focus. He got a lot of shots he could choose from, duffs and tops and skulls — there’s only one shot that’s in perfect harmony with the field, one shot that’s his authentic shot, and that shot is gonna choose him. There’s a perfect shot out there tryin’ to find each and every one of us, all we got to do is get ourselves out of its way, to let it choose us.
You can’t see that flag as some dragon you got to slay, you got to look with soft eyes. See the place where the tides and the seasons and the turning of the Earth, all come together, where everything that is, becomes one. You got to seek that place with your soul, Junuh. Seek it with your hands, don’t think about it. Feel it. Your hands is wiser than your head ever gonna be. Now I can’t take you there Junuh, just hopes I can help you find a way. Just you, that ball, that flag and all that you are.
—The Legend of Bagger Vance, screenplay by Jeremy Leven
Bagger Vance: Yep. Inside each and every one of us is one true authentic swing. Somethin’ we was born with. Somethin’ that’s ours and ours alone. Somethin’ that can’t be taught to ya or learned. Somethin’ that got to be remembered. Over time the world can rob us of that swing. It get buried inside us under all our wouldas and couldas and shouldas. Some folk even forget what their swing was like.
—The Legend of Bagger Vance, screenplay by Jeremy Leven
Fanny Brawne: I still don’t know how to work out a poem.
John Keats: A poem needs understanding through the senses. The point of diving into a lake is not immediately to swim to the shore but to be in the lake, to luxuriate in the sensation of water. You do not work the lake out, it is an experience beyond thought. Poetry soothes and emboldens the soul to accept the mystery.
Fanny Brawne: I love mystery.
–from “Bright Star” written by Jane Campion
We get a lot of movies about noise these days: gunshots, screams, explosions, fist thunks, thunderous roars, revving engines, squealing tires and those deafening sonic swooshes that accompany nearly every corporate logo before the feature even gets started. But we don’t experience many moments of silence at the movies (and I’m not just talking about the audiences). “Into Great Silence,” though devoid of narration, musical score or much at all in the way of dialogue, encourages us to listen closely: to the sound of snow falling in the mountains, a nocturnal prayer whispered in a small wooden cell with a knocking tin stove, a bell rope pulled in a chapel. Nobody yells. Nothing detonates.
— Jim Emerson reviews Into Great Silence
Of Gods and Men strives for simplicity; cinema is usually about dynamism, attraction, ego, but this movie concerns the renunciation of these things, in art and life.
— Peter Bradshaw reviews Of Gods and Men for The Guardian
Hal: Well, let’s say that since you were little, you always dreamed of getting a lion. And you wait, and you wait, and you wait, and you wait but the lion doesn’t come. And along comes a giraffe. You can be alone, or you can be with the giraffe.
Oliver: I’d wait for the lion.
Hal: That’s why I worry about you.
–from Beginners, written by Mike Mills
What the film makes clear, with unfailing sensitivity and wry humor, is that for Shira and her family the ordinary arrangements of living are freighted with moral and spiritual significance. Their routines are dominated by prayer, ritual observance and obedience to Jewish law, but their world does not seem narrow and austere. On the contrary, it is at times almost unbearably full of feeling and significance.
— A. O. Scott reviews “Fill the Void” in The New York Times
Calvin Weir-Fields: This is the true and impossible story of my very great love. In the hope that she will not read this and reproach me, I have withheld many telling details: her name, the particulars of her birth and upbringing, and any identifying scars or birth marks. All the same, I cannot help but write this for her, to tell her “I’m sorry for every word I wrote to change you, I’m sorry for so many things. I couldn’t see you when you were here and, now that you’re gone, I see you everywhere.” One may read this and think it’s magic, but falling in love is an act of magic, so is writing. It was once said of Catcher In The Rye, “That rare miracle of fiction has again come to pass: a human being has been created out of ink, paper and the imagination.” I am no J.D. Salinger, but I have witnessed a rare miracle. Any writer can attest: in the luckiest, happiest state, the words are not coming from you, but through you. She came to me wholly herself, I was just lucky enough to be there to catch her.
Harry: Quirky, messy women whose problems only make them endearing are not real.
–from Ruby Sparks, written by Zoe Kazan