The magic of the movies

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There isn’t much that compares to the magic a child feels when they run downstairs on Christmas morning to find a pile of presents under the tree, or when they stand under the boom of fireworks over Cinderella’s castle at Disney World. But that feeling fades as you grow older— that magic becomes harder and harder to find.

• • •

I sat alone in the aisle of a theatre as the light of the screen reflected off on my hands. The camera panned upward, showing hundreds of actors dancing on top of their cars on a Los Angeles overpass during the opening musical number. As the song hit its final note, the title appeared on the screen in bold yellow type—”LA LA LAND”—sending chills throughout my body.

I spent the next hour and a half in awe of the spectacle that had unfolded before me. The lights turned on while the ending credits rolled up the screen. I felt euphoric as I left. The small, vintage theatre kept me in the magic of the movie even as I walked the parking lot. The feeling of Christmas and Disney World that had faded away with my childhood was stirring in my stomach for the first time in years.

• • •

The low rumble of the trumpet echoed throughout the Ambassador theatre. A jazz overture swelled as the stage lights revealed a full band playing on the stage. They were joined by ensemble members dressed in various degrees of fishnets and mesh, dancing in the style of Bob Fosse.

The score blended seamlessly into the beginning of “All that Jazz.” I reached out and grasped the hand of my friend. We both looked at each other and tears welled up in our eyes. My focus went back on the show as the Velma Kelly stood about six feet from us on stage. My heart fluttered as I sat, transfixed on my first Broadway show.

As the number came to a close, Velma took her place, center stage. She was almost close enough to touch. And with the final “that jazz,” every actor struck their final pose. Velma stood center stage; the ensemble members framing her. The tears that had been stuck in my eyes streamed down my face. The familiar butterflies that I had been missing had returned—almost to tell me this was where I was meant to be. This was home.

• • •

Film and entertainment brought back the magic I had been missing since my childhood ended. I got the same Christmas morning feeling watching Luke Skywalker blowing up the Millenium Falcon as I got walking up to Cinderella’s castle for the first time. I found myself watching all of the old classic films from the 30s and 50s. I was falling for Fred Astaire’s charm, Gene Kelly’s footwork and Ginger Roger’s witty comebacks.

I loved studying the way the films were put together. From the camera work to the cinematography, I started to appreciate all the little details in a movie that completed the final picture. And then it hit me— I wanted to become a film critic. It was a way to combine both my passion for film and writing and turn it into a career.

Growing up, I thought I had to choose money over passion when it came to my future career. Later, I learned that you can never be successful at something if you’re not passionate about it. I know that the road won’t necessarily be easy, but I am willing to put in the work it will take to make my dream come true. I thought that I had lost the ability to feel those emotions again, but I discovered an opportunity that would allow me to do just that. Now, I know that you don’t outgrow magic—sometimes it just becomes harder to find.