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Without Conventions in Waiting for Forever
by Crystal O'Gorman

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Here's the poster for the 2010 film, Waiting for Forever.

Here's the poster for the 2010 film, Waiting for Forever.
Can you imagine living your life without convention?

Social norms and anything attributed to the day-to-day are just thrown out of the window and you begin to live your life just as you want it, only from your perspective. Wake up when you want, eat what you want, and do whatever you want to do, when you want to do it.

Sound like fun? DUH!

Who wouldn't want to live life like this?

Well, this is exactly how Will Donner, played by Tom Sturridge, decided to live in Waiting for Forever. Will wore pajamas every day, all day, because the material felt nice against his skin. He got rid of his car, because it was a hassle to find somewhere to keep it. He doesn't have a regular job; he juggles to make money. He lives in a pay by the week motel instead of an apartment or house.

What else...

Oh! And he "follows" the childhood girl-friend next door/love-of-his-life/Emma Twist, played by Rachael Bilson, everywhere she goes. It's not that they still live in the same town and he tries to bump into her all the time, but he actually moves where she moves and watches her from a distance. It's kind of like stalking, but in a more reserved, I love you and want to be near you not staring in your windows at night and going through your trash can kind of way.


I know! It's one of those things that would be CREEPY in real life, but it works for a romantic movie.

Here is a true to life shot of the wild and zany Will Donner!

Here is a true to life shot of the wild and zany Will Donner!
will be tazzed, kicked in the nuts or worse, arrested!

Okay, back to the story.

So Will "follows" Emma everywhere she goes, waiting for the right moment to confess his love to her. Of course, like in the REAL WORLD, you cannot plan the right moment. You have to let it happen. He starts out innocent and romantic by taking her back to all their childhood hang outs, but when he tells her about "following" her from town to town she gets freaked out and tells him to leave her alone and NEVER "follow" her again!

He was devastated, but like any good romantic movie, all is well that ends well and he finds a way to save her (from a distance) from the worst possible relationship (marrying a murder and real stalker type). In the end, she realizes the he has always been her one true love and comes to appreciate his simplistic and unconventional lifestyle. Finally, she "follows" him to prove her love and it ends with a kiss.


Like I said, it can only happen in the movies.

Believe me, I am all for unconventional, but if everyone just lived as they chose it could get a bit scary.

Not mention old those old wrinkly butts!

You know you thought about it too!

I'm sure grandma wouldn't mind being a nudist if she didn't have to live in one of those communes!

All jokes aside, this movie is not only about being unconventional, but I think the biggest message is about PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

You see, Will
Here's the way life can feel with PTSD.

Here's the way life can feel with PTSD.
fell in love with Emma because she was there for him when his parents were killed in a tragic train crash when he was only eight years old. After the funeral, she whispered into his ear that he would always be loved and that his parents would always be with him. That stayed with him literally, because he talked to his parents all the time (even as an adult) and in front of anyone, as if they were really still there.

According to his brother, Jim Donner played by Scott Mechlowicz, Will lived in a fantasy world where life was just "peachy" and their parents were in love and living happily ever after when the accident occurred. In actuality, their parents were always fighting and drinking and they were even considering a divorce when their mother got cancer. Their parents were on their way to her chemo treatment when the train crashed.

The fantasy of memories and the fantasy that had become Will's life, although beautiful in concept, it was actually his way of dealing with the tragedies of alcoholism, living with a seriously ill parent, divorce and the tragic death of his parents. Instead of getting therapy, living with depression, or self-medicating through drugs and alcohol as most who suffer from PTSD do, Will created a life that he wanted to live and made that fantasy his reality. And it worked until he tried to completely bridge the two worlds by confessing his love to Emma.

Fortunately for Will, he was able to get out the
Are you suffering from PTSD?

Are you suffering from PTSD?
emotional baggage between him and his brother by professing that he knew what was really going on with their parents before the accident and create a REAL future with Emma. In REAL LIFE, it's not so easy.

If you think you or someone you know is dealing with PTSD, please get help. Whether that is therapy, group meetings, talking it out with a friend or medication, you cannot and shouldn't deal with all the stress and anxiety alone, because chances are slim that you will end up as lucky as Will.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, "PTSD is an anxiety disorder that occurs after seeing or living through a dangerous event".

Here is a list of symptoms.


Bad dreams

Frightening thoughts

Staying away from places, events or objects associated with the event

Feeling guilty, tense, emotionally numb, depressed or worried

Difficulty sleeping or enjoying activities that you used to love

Trouble remembering the dangerous event

If you or anyone you know has or is experiencing some or all of these symptoms, don't hesitate to reach out. We all need help at some time or another. And imagination can only get you so far. Don't be afraid to ask for help, you deserve it!

And men remember the "NOTE" above, I would hate it if this film was the reason someone was suffering from PTSD instead of healing from it!

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The Big Picture
Every other Thursday

Using the Big Pictures as a bigger picture into the world around us, follow me as I explore this window of opportunity into other perspectives on life, love, and happiness. I will peel back the layers of fiction and movie making magic to show you the truth within. Sat Nam.

Other Columns
Other columns by Crystal O'Gorman:

Lessons Learned from Movies

127 Hours

Kid Movies

Children of Men...'Nuff Said!

The Yin-Yang of Perfectionism and the Black Swan

All Columns

Crystal O'Gorman
I am a big dreamer from a small town searching for the meaning of life and using movies as a window of opportunity to understand the world around me. I remember working at the local, family-operated movie store as a teenager and being completely fascinated by the way movies bring the rest of the world to your finger tips.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Crystal O'Gorman by clicking here.

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