A Love Story

A few weeks ago I published a piece that for the most part was a meditation on joy, a commodity without which our lives, to put it mildly, would blow. Seeing that I’m a f*cking softie at heart, I’ve decided to turn my thoughts now to another precious emotion, the greatest of them all, for it sustains and usually nourishes life, giving us reason to go on. I’m talking, of course, about love. Sure, The Beatles overstated things when they sang “all you need is love.” But they weren’t too far off the mark, as there is no doubt that the following is true: If an individual doesn’t feel love for at least one other human being (or pet, I hasten to add), they are in a most unenviable position.

Now, I’m not exactly an expert when it comes to matters of the heart. I know that for a fact because nobody in my seven-plus decades of residing above ground ever has asked my advice on the subject. Come to think of it, just about nobody ever has asked my advice on any topic or situation. Man, I should start an advice column called Maybe Neil Sort Of Knows, So Give It A Shot And Ask Him. That would show ’em how deep my font of quasi-wisdom is!

Anyway, getting back on track, what else might I say about love? Well, it’s innate, in most cases blossoming automatically between parents and their children, to mention one obvious example. But it sure doesn’t blossom automatically between everybody. That’s a main reason why it can be so difficult to make true friends, to find a partner to spend your life with, and to keep the fires burning with said partner after you’ve found them. Yup, love is a powerful force, but cultivating it properly requires skills that many do not master adequately, if at all. When we allow love to bubble within us consistently, though, our lives are much the better for that.

Love probably wouldn’t be on my mind so much were it not for the movie CODA, which my wife Sandy and I saw at a cinema early this month a few days after it grabbed the Oscar for Best Picture. It’s still in some theaters, by the way, and is streaming on Apple TV+ too.

CODA is a tale that revolves around Ruby, a high school senior who is the only hearing member of a family of four. She is devoted to her parents and brother and, in addition to attending school, spends mucho hours each week working on the fishing boat that her dad and sibling operate in order to put bread on the table. Whew! This girl, who also sometimes acts as an intermediary between her deaf kin and outside parties, has a whole, whole lot on her plate. Ruby’s life becomes even more complex when she is encouraged at school to develop her vocal skills and pursue a music career. This new element becomes the movie’s fulcrum.

Sandy loved CODA, which is an acronym for child of deaf adults. She thinks it’s very great. Although I found CODA too formulaic to be placed on a pedestal, I enjoyed the hell out of it. It’s an old-fashioned sort of story that I’m certain would move anyone whose heart is not fashioned from stone. Why? Because CODA, at its core, is all about love, the kind of love that holds steady, not wavering even for a moment. What’s more, there’s nothing sappy about the love on display in CODA. A tight screenplay by Sian Heder, who also directed the flick, and four actors who tap into genuine places within themselves, see to that. Hats off, then, to Emilia Jones, who plays Ruby, to Marlee Matlin and Troy Kotsur (Ruby’s parents), and to Eugenio Derbez (Ruby’s music teacher).

I’ll close this love-centric essay on the right note, by presenting Beyond, a love song sung and co-written by Leon Bridges. Sweet and sultry as you could hope for, Beyond very well might put you in the mood to . . . yo, I don’t need to tell you where this sentence is headed. I accept your thanks in advance!

127 thoughts on “A Love Story

  1. gabychops April 13, 2022 / 12:22 am

    Thank you, for making me smile! I love your essay on joy and love. I will listen to the video later.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. viewfromoverthehill April 13, 2022 / 12:23 am

    Gosh, haven’t been in a theatre since COVID began, however, I got to work with a lot of deaf people by volunteering for years for a charitable organization which serves them. All the best, Muriel

    Liked by 2 people

  3. thelongview April 13, 2022 / 1:17 am

    Nice review and great build up to the topic of love 😊 Hope to see the movie some time. And yes, a life without love in unthinkable.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lynette d'Arty-Cross April 13, 2022 / 2:06 am

    I would read your advice column. You’re telling it like it is (maybe Neil sort of knows). 🙂

    I agree that we need more love and joy. I love how you share your music choices – another excellent suggestion here. Cheers.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 13, 2022 / 2:30 pm

      Hey, Lynette. You know, this is the third or fourth article in which I’ve included music by Leon Bridges. He should pay me royalties!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. johnlmalone April 13, 2022 / 2:31 am

    I like your self deprecating humor, Neil. Always have. Yes , love is innate. It does require skills and a willingness to learn. I have learned to love again and it’s wonderful. And yes, we wants to see ‘CODA’

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Ananda April 13, 2022 / 3:02 am

    Am looking forward to seeing this movie after reading your description . Not sure about love advice columns, but you would do well with movie reviews

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 13, 2022 / 2:34 pm

      Hi, Ananda. CODA is a good one. I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t expected to win the Best Picture award at the Oscars event. But it obviously connected with a whole lot of the people who vote for the Academy Awards.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Jane Sturgeon April 13, 2022 / 4:32 am

    Neil, love is felt right through this post and your view on the world. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  8. swabby429 April 13, 2022 / 6:26 am

    Presenting the concept of love without becoming maudlin about it is a special skill.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. JOYCE HAMILTON April 13, 2022 / 7:43 am

    Good post good song.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Laurie Graves April 13, 2022 / 7:55 am

    Your take on “Coda” is similar to mine. I found it enjoyable but too formulaic to be considered a really good movie. But the film is certainly about love. Listening to “Beyond” right now. So tender and lovely.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 13, 2022 / 2:38 pm

      I saw a few of the pictures that were nominated for Best Picture. Of the ones I saw, I’d say that King Richard was the best.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Paddy Tobin April 13, 2022 / 8:41 am

    I’ll look out for that one though I don’t have Apple tv so may have to wait a while. In the meantime I will continue to cultivate the love in our lives.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. mariezhuikov April 13, 2022 / 8:53 am

    Thanks for the review! I hope to see it soon. Did you know that the actor Daniel Durant (who is in it) is from DULUTH? Our city had a big celebration for him.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 13, 2022 / 2:42 pm

      Hi. He’s good in the movie. He undoubtedly was thrilled to be honored by Duluth. You’re going to like CODA — that’s my prediction!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Cindy Bruchman April 13, 2022 / 9:05 am

    Too predictable for my liking to be considered a Best Film win of the year, but it was charming. It did not stop me from crying at the end.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. greenpete58 April 13, 2022 / 9:30 am

    Heavy topic. Of course, there are different types of love. I haven’t seen this film, but I’m usually wary of Hollywood, particularly today’s Hollywood, attempting to tackle complex ideas. I’ll stick with Shakespeare, or maybe secular concepts in the New Testament. Still, I always enjoy your posts.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 13, 2022 / 2:47 pm

      Afternoon, Pete. CODA is a family drama, and doesn’t try to tackle too much. Like I mentioned, it’s pretty formulaic, but it’s a good one despite that.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Donna Cameron April 13, 2022 / 11:31 am

    Loved the tone and subject of this post, Neil. Thanks for the reminder that love surrounds us … and it will ultimately prevail.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Ally Bean April 13, 2022 / 11:36 am

    Maybe Neil Sort Of Knows, So Give It A Shot And Ask Him is a perfectly reasonable title for your column. After all, Anna Farris Is Unqualified is an advice column podcast that is very popular. Same concept and look how well she’s done! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  17. rivertoprambles April 13, 2022 / 11:43 am

    Whether we’re self-styled experts on the subject, or not, it doesn’t hurt to overstate it in this day & age. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 13, 2022 / 2:54 pm

      Yeah, man. The more love that’s on display in behavior and relationships, the better.


  18. Jacqui Murray April 13, 2022 / 11:46 am

    I have eyed this movie, but couldn’t decide if it would be too sappy. Thanks for your thoughts.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Monkey's Tale April 13, 2022 / 12:21 pm

    Thanks for the review. I didn’t know anything about the movie and probably wouldn’t have looked for it but maybe I will now. Maggie

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 13, 2022 / 2:56 pm

      Hey there, Maggie. I’m always impressed by people who take on big projects and complete them with skill. The director of CODA, for example, because she also wrote the screenplay.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Ann Coleman April 13, 2022 / 12:21 pm

    I love the title of your proposed advice column…..go for it! I’d write in with a question or two.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Alyson April 13, 2022 / 12:30 pm

    What a ‘love-ly’ post, with a lovely song attached. I’ve still got to see CODA but looking forward to it. Emilia Jones is the daughter of Aled Jones who is a household name in the UK. He was a boy chorister who recorded Walking In The Air the song from The Snowman (if it’s familiar to you) and is now a TV presenter. I had no idea he had such a talented daughter.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 13, 2022 / 3:00 pm

      Hi, Alyson. I’m unfamiliar with Aled. I’m going to head off to Google in a few minutes and read about him. Thanks for stopping by and adding your thoughts. Take care.


  22. andrewcferguson April 13, 2022 / 12:34 pm

    Well said sir. If we can all advance the cause of love one tiny bit each, it sure as shit beats the alternative. A life-affirming post.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Helen Devries April 13, 2022 / 12:52 pm

    I think your column would be a great success……knock the ‘agony auntie’ ones into a cocked hat.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 13, 2022 / 3:03 pm

      The problem with my advice would be this: Some of the advice might be helpful and insightful. But a whole lot of it would be very, very dubious. Enjoy the day!

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Rosaliene Bacchus April 13, 2022 / 1:40 pm

    Enjoyed your lead up to the review of CODA. I agree when you say: “Yup, love is a powerful force, but cultivating it properly requires skills that many do not master adequately, if at all.” How do you love others when you have never known love?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 13, 2022 / 3:21 pm

      Most people, I think, have a decent amount of love in their lives. But there are quite a few unfortunates who have little or none.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. JT Twissel April 13, 2022 / 1:44 pm

    How about the more positive: Neal knows a lot but you can still ignore him! I haven’t seen that movie yet but I agree with you about formulaic plots – you can like a movie despite however it takes away from greatness.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Sam Gridley April 13, 2022 / 5:02 pm

    Let’s start a club for people whose advice is never solicited by others.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Suzanne April 13, 2022 / 8:06 pm

    They reckon the older we get the softer we become 🙂 I am looking forward to seeing that movie when it arrives down here.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 13, 2022 / 10:29 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Suzanne.. CODA has a lot of heart. You’re going to enjoy it, I think.


  28. Paula B April 13, 2022 / 8:23 pm

    I loved “Coda” and didn’t care whether it was formulaic or not because it’s so well acted and breaks a lot of barriers. I cried like a baby and so did my spouse, who NEVER sheds a tear at movies. I think that between my increasing age and my increasing unwillingness to engage with all the bad news around me, celebrating love in any way is my prescription for my own sanity!

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Fran Johns April 13, 2022 / 8:38 pm

    That’s one of a zillion movies I oughta see & haven’t — need a few more hours in my days. But you got me with the song. Now back to my Share Love Not Hate signs. PS, Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 13, 2022 / 10:32 pm

      Fran, I’m always glad to hear from you. Your input is appreciated. And don’t stop making those signs!


  30. Joni April 13, 2022 / 10:12 pm

    I think you mentioned in a previous blog that you had enjoyed the miniseries Anxious People…..I watched it last week and thought it was great, esp. the ending. It made me wish I had not abandoned reading the book.

    Liked by 3 people

  31. sniderjerry April 14, 2022 / 8:02 am

    Hey there Neil, I think this one of your best essays. As a wise man said, “Love might not make the world go round but it sure makes the ride worthwhile.” And as far as your advice column goes, I’m reminded of Groucho Marx who said, “Take my advice, I’m not using it.” Thank you too fot the great song. All the best. jerry

    Liked by 2 people

  32. talebender April 14, 2022 / 12:54 pm

    So…..a must-see movie for me and my wife, thanks to ‘Maybe Neil Sort Of Knows, So Give It A Shot And Ask Him’!
    Nice elaboration on the nature of love, too.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. annieasksyou April 14, 2022 / 8:13 pm

    Very nice, Neil, though I was kinda looking forward to a small window into the lives of Neil and Sandy. I, after all, told a lot about my marriage in my romantically titled post “It’s the Cereal, Stupid!”

    Liked by 2 people

  34. eden baylee April 14, 2022 / 10:45 pm

    CODA is on the list, and I love that song, thanks Neil for sharing both!

    Liked by 2 people

  35. Linda Pearce Griffin April 15, 2022 / 11:30 am

    Watched CODA on Apple. Thought its portrayal of love in all its forms – giving, patient, selfish, sacrificial, painful – was right on. The Beatles had a lot to say about this subject and I pretty much agree with them. Thanks for the essay. I vote for a column full of your wise(ass) wisdom. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 15, 2022 / 2:49 pm

      Hi. Right, The Beatles recorded some fine songs about love. To name a few: All My Loving; And I Love Her; Something.

      Liked by 1 person

  36. selizabryangmailcom April 15, 2022 / 2:58 pm

    CODA sounds like a nice respite from all the crap going on in movies and real life today. I think one of the worst things that can happen to a human being is living in loneliness. If “it takes a village” was really true (anymore) the world would be much more pleasant.

    Liked by 2 people

  37. George April 16, 2022 / 4:17 am

    I think Maybe Neil Sort Of Knows, So Give It A Shot And Ask Him could be a runaway success.

    Liked by 2 people

  38. D. Wallace Peach April 16, 2022 / 12:57 pm

    This sounds like a movie I’d enjoy, Neil. I need something heart-warming these days. Love isn’t easy, but its always worth the effort. And I love the idea of your advice column. 😀 Have a great weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  39. alhenry April 16, 2022 / 11:06 pm

    Yes! CODA is a terrific film and I was happy to see it got the Oscar. A film about love and art and the conflicts inherent in living your own life–that’s kind of the whole ballgame.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 17, 2022 / 7:39 am

      Morning. I wonder if movie theaters are going to survive. I don’t see how. We saw CODA soon after it won the Oscar, yet there was only a few other people in the theater with us. We went yesterday to see The Lost City. Two others were in the theater.

      Liked by 1 person

      • alhenry April 17, 2022 / 10:56 am

        I know. This makes me really sad. At a time when we can use all the communal opportunities life affords, movie theaters (being one of the biggest and best of these opps) are shutting down all over.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 17, 2022 / 12:12 pm

      Hi Steve. Thanks for stopping by. CODA is the type of movie that opens up our floodgates and lets warmth and love flow in. Have a good upcoming week!

      Liked by 1 person

  40. kegarland April 17, 2022 / 2:58 pm

    Your movie reviews always make me want to watch the movie, so I’m going to do that tonight. Also, I need this column Maybe Neil Sort Of Knows, So Give It A Shot And Ask Him lol

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Pam Lazos April 19, 2022 / 12:12 pm

    Great blog and great song, Neil! Thank you for a great start to my day.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. roughwighting April 22, 2022 / 7:44 am

    “All you need is love” because “love makes the world go round.” Love love love. “The greatest of these is love.” Oh, so many truths spoken throughout the ages in songs and poems and prose. And now, in your blog post. And hey, I’d ask your advice about stuff. Sometime I will. But back to love. When I see movies like CODA, or hear songs like “Beyond,” I burst into tears. Love is the center of our soul, and if all humans (and animals) had access to love, wars would cease to exist. Love to you, and your Sandy, and to all within your sphere.

    Liked by 1 person

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