He is an aristocrat from the previous century who landed up in present day NY. She is an ad executive who lives inn the apartment above where he stays. (In the present, that is. I doubt they had ad execs back then.) He’s doing his best to cope with the future, and she is doing her best to cope with the fact that she is attracted to someone who claims to be from the past.
There is a scene late in the movie where they are sharing a quiet moment, and she asks him: “Do you miss where you’re from?” It is, I suppose, the safest way to put the question, given her skepticism about his stated origins.
And he answers, “In a way. I miss… I miss its rhythm.”
It is a beautiful line, and the single brightest point in an otherwise dull rom-com.
I suppose my reasons for picking this scene are a lot more subjective than with my other freeze frame posts. You see, whenever I think of my life back in Kolkata (on the IIM Calcutta campus, to be precise), this is the line that comes to mind. Wherever else I may go (including this large, noisy, bustling city called Mumbai that I now find myself adrift in), I find myself missing that rhythm.
But the use of that word is beautiful, isn’t it? It has such a personal meaning to that character, but you find yourself relating to it. When I watch a beautiful period movie like The Age of innocence, or the quiet yet compelling midsection of Cast Away when Tom Hanks builds himself a life on the island, or the first act of Manorama: Six Feet Under, the word that comes to mind is “rhythm”.
While on the subject, go read this wonderful article by a friend of mine called Sandeep Mittal, titled Things sought in songs. In it, he uses words like “soul” and “flow” and “sound”. It is not so much how he uses it, but the examples he picks to explain it. When he talks about “the nerve jangling gut turning time stilling thrill of hearing the opening notes of Shine On live at the Waters gig”, you realize how perfect his word choice is.