Five Films That Are Basically Poems

1.      Her, 2013, dir. by Spike Jonze. A lonely, divorced man who writes personal letters for people who are unable or unwilling to write their own falls in love with an AI operating system named Samantha.

    “Sometimes I think I have felt everything I’m ever gonna feel. And from here on out, I’m not gonna feel anything new. Just lesser versions of what I’ve already felt.”

2.      Comet, 2014, dir. by Sam Esmail. The chronicling of the ups and downs of a six year relationship between a pessimistic young man and a pragmatic young woman after meeting by chance during a meteor shower. Set in a parallel universe.

    “I feel like I’m in the wrong world. Cause I don’t belong in a world where we don’t end up together. I don’t. There are parallel universes out there where this didn’t happen. Where I was with you, and you were with me. And whatever universe that is, that’s the one where my heart lives in.”

3.      Short Term 12, 2013, dir. by Destin Daniel Cretton. The young supervisor of a group home for troubled teens establishes a connection with a new resident whose struggles are astonishingly similar to her own while trying to open up emotionally to her long-term boyfriend.

    “Why are you so nice to me?” “It’s because you are the weirdest, most beautiful person that I’ve ever met in my whole entire life.”

4.      Phoebe in Wonderland, 2008, dir. by Daniel Barnz. A young, imaginative girl with Tourette’s Syndrome whose behavior hints at the future possibility of a serious mental illness clashes with the strict world around her while trying to pursue a role in her school’s adaptation of Alice in Wonderland.

    “At a certain point in your life, probably when too much of it has gone by… you will open your eyes and see yourself for who you are… especially for everything that made you so different from all the awful normals. And you will say to yourself… But I am this person. And in that statement, that correction, there will be a kind of love.”

5.      Synecdoche, New York, 2008, dir. by Charlie Kaufman. A theatre director starting a new play, whose wife and daughter have left him, struggles with a mystery affliction that gradually shuts down each of his autonomic functions. He gathers a cast in a NY warehouse to play out different roles in a mockup of the city outside, blurring the line between fantasy and reality as the actors hired to play him and his loved ones make it increasingly difficult for him to distinguish between the play and his own life.

    “And even though the world goes on for eons and eons, you are only here for a fraction of a fraction of a second. Most of your time is spent being dead or not yet born. But while alive, you wait in vain, wasting years, for a phone call or a letter or a look from someone or something to make it all right. And it never comes or it seems to but it doesn’t really. And so you spend your time in vague regret or vaguer hope that something good will come along. Something to make you feel connected, something to make you feel whole, something to make you feel loved.”

Contributing Editor

Meggie Royer is a writer and photographer from the Midwest who is currently majoring in Psychology at Macalester College. Her poems have previously appeared in Words Dance Magazine, The Harpoon Review, Melancholy Hyperbole, and more. She has won national medals for her poetry and a writing portfolio in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and was the Macalester Honorable Mention recipient of the 2015 Academy of American Poets Student Poetry Prize.