The other night, I watched ‘Last Chance Harvey’. A third of the way through this sweet and charming movie, a small and passing visual shot caught my eye (see above). The two main characters, Harvey and Kate, meet in a quiet airport restaurant. Harvey is an American man troubled by work and father-daughter matters. He is en-route to New York. Kate is laden by a failed date and a trying mother. She works at the airport as a statistician. He is at the bar and she is sitting on a nearby table. Having crossed paths a few days previous, when a weary Harvey rudely ignored the research-led advances of Kate as he left his inbound plane, the now relaxed American seeks to make amends by building conversation.
Kate, unwinding with a novel and glass of white on her break, is not keen on reciprocating. Undeterred, Harvey ushers into a seat nearer to Kate, and before long his persistent yet unthreatening approach brokers a smile. They begin talking about who has had the ‘shittier day’ (Harvey won) and this leads to a conversation around what is meant by having a ‘stiff upper lip’. At this point, and with Harvey trying to act out a ‘stiff upper lip’, the camera pans out and a gentle and upbeat background score settles in.
It all seemed rather fitting for the connection that had been born.
What struck me about this shot was seeing Harvey’s luggage left against the bar he first sat down at. He moved to be nearer to Kate, but his luggage remained. It was still safely in view, but Harvey was not preoccupied by it (as I certainly would have been!). I couldn’t help but be taken in by what this simple scene represented. For a moment Harvey was lost in the moment with Kate. She first captured his eyes and soon she was capturing his heart. He was having a bad day, but this short exchange took his mind away from all that. It was as if all his troubles were for a moment left in the luggage propped-up against the bar.
I love getting lost in the moment, but it feels as though it does not happen as much as it should. Lost in the community of others, the exchange with one, the beauty of a view, the story of a book or movie or picture, the world of a song. And yet the demands of the day and week, the worries of yesterday and tomorrow, can stop me from getting lost. Luggage clinging all too obtrusively. I don’t know whether the director intentionally had this thought in mind when crafting together the scene, but regardless it’s a sweet reminder of the importance of leaving be for a moment the luggage of our own lives so we can get lost in the moments that are too precious to miss out on.