Neil Jordan’s Mona Lisa

Mona Lisa (1986), directed by Neil Jordan

Why, I ask again, is love the easy part? Why is love the primary reason for social action? Do things for people because you’re in love, then get pissed when they don’t reciprocate. I don’t get that. I mean, the odds of falling in love are small enough, that they will love you back, even smaller. An apt quote on the matter: “Loving people, and allowing yourself to be loved, was only worth the risk if the odds were in your favor, but they quite clearly weren’t. There were about seventy-five squillion people in the world, and if you were very lucky, you would end up being loved by fifteen or twenty of them. So how smart did you have to be to work out that it just wasn’t worth the risk?” (Nick Hornby, About A Boy)

And anyway, why would you necessarily want someone you’ve had time to fancy/fantasize/fantashize about to reciprocate? Then you’d have to spend all your time with them which would be great at first only that you would probably neglect the rest of your life then it’d get exhausting and finally you’ll probably get sick of the person anyway, or at best lose that wonderful fanciful love for them, as reality impedes on fantasy, and inevitable incomptabilities emerge, and you are forced to ask yourself, was this worth it? And chances are you will miss that love-from-afar, that pure emotion uncluttered by everday mundanity and inarticulation and idiosyncrasy, which never ever made you ask, is this worth it? It is always worth it, because there is always room for change, and control, and a separate life, if you so choose one.

Overall, though, personal issues aside, I enjoyed the film. Neil Jordan can do no wrong at this point, anyway, except maybe not giving Eamonn Owens enough screen time now that he’s an adult. I was a bit tired and will have to have another viewing, because, like his other films, this was… multifaceted. The pacing pulled me in many directions which I liked, but it kind of made me more tired. I loved the early attempt at the laugh-cry moment, absurdity during intensity and reveal. I liked the reveal, the gay thing, neither demonized nor exotified, unusual for 80’s British Isles. On that note—I am curious as to why ole Neil so often makes films in London. Demand? Money? Like the whole silly “Interview With The Vampire” thing?

Anyway, just some half-scattered thoughts on an early film by an extraordinary filmmaker. Oh yeah, and Bob Hoskins rocks.


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