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Stories From Home

This is from an article/review of Gabriel Byrne's new doc, Stories From Home.
I copied it because I wanted to write a review of the actor, and his doc., but this person did a great job and pretty much summed up how I feel about the film, Gabriel and myself. The filmed moved me and stirred emotions that I haven't felt in years. Gabriel spoke afterward, and talked about "loss", which I know a great deal about. He said, "you are never the same after suffering loss, there is before loss and after loss". How I wish I didn't know what he was talking about, but I do and it meant something to me to hear that someone else knows EXACTLY how I feel. I too, just like the writer of this article, will watch this over and over and discover new things about myself in doing so.

Though provoking, personal and entertaining, I highly recommend you see this.


As I approach the end of this unbelievable year, I realize with some certainty and a bit of nostalic sadness, that while I will always love Gabriel Byrne, I am not the giddy fan I was last spring. My desire for him no longer soars to Himalayan altitudes nor does the certainty of living without him plunge me hopelessy downward. This does not mean he is forgotten, far from it. He is the picture in my head, tucked away in a place of easy access. Like a mental Blarney Stone, I touch him for good luck or conjure his image whever I feel the urge. But I have worn this adoration down from jagged, unmanagable peaks to smooth and rounded hills. When I think of Gabriel Byrne now, I am Tuscany. I am sunny and green and undulating. But there are still times when he can surprise me, he sneaks past the castle guards and comes crashing through my mental wall, leaving a big clumsy Gabriel-Byrne-shaped hole where a smooth white surface used to be. There are still times when he floats like a ghost into my field of vision, head tilted, smile tilted, eyes like those cartoon poker-playing dogs, big and sad and heart wrenching. I can set him aside most days, but he will always haunt me just a bit, there will always be moments where I can get distracted and get lost meandering in thoughts of his secret, inexplicable appeal.

After watching
"Stories from Home", I feel sure I am having one of those moments right now.

This movie has answered so many questions, not just about Gabriel Byrne, but about me as well. I do not mean this in an arrogant way. I do not mean to imply that I have the talent, the intelligence or the physical beauty of Mr. Byrne, but I see so many similarities between this man and myself and I bet I am not the only one on these threads to harbor thoughts like this. A long time ago, I said that I thought we were so attracted to him because we all wanted to be him, wanted to be beautiful and talented and special just like him. But now I think I may have been wrong. I suspect that many of us love him because we are like him
already. We have always felt that somewhere underneath all that beauty, intelligence and talent, there lived a sad, mistreated, self-destructive, soul; a soul that lacked self-confidence, that felt like a failure in personal relationships, that tried to navigate the murky waters of depression by reaching again and again for a bottle. Like moths to a flame, we can't stop trying to get closer to it, we recognize it because we live it and when we see it wrapped in such a beautiful, perfect package, it makes us all feel better about ourselves. It validates our own shortcomings to see one so perfect being so damn imperfect. We ache to gather him in our arms and keep the bad things away from him because we know it is what we want most in the world for ourselves. Our empathy is real and it is visceral. We feel his pain and confusion firsthand and when our heart breaks for him, it is breaking for our own selves as well. He is a stranger to us, as we are to him, yet some of us secretly believe his is our reflection, our twin, and in another life, perhaps he could have been our best friend and soul mate. I can see that this melancholy angel has done it to me again. He has sucked me back under his spell with this brilliant documentary of his life. Strangely, by exposing his mistakes and admitting his cowardice, he has demonstrated his extreme bravery. I'll probably watch this movie many times before I can successfully put it aside. In the meantime, I have to get busy patching. I have a big hole in my wall that desperately needs repair.


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