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Do You Believe in Magic? In America Twenty Years On | Features




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Mateo says the baby will bring its own luck, but once complications arise, Johnny confronts him about this, grappling with his own helplessness. He lashes out, accuses Mateo of having designs on his wife.

Mateo does love Sarah, but he loves all of them. “I’m even in love with your anger,” he says, his voice building to a bellow, tears building with every word. “I’m in love with anything that lives.”

For all the threads of death and grief in this film, I find it reassuring. A cleansing cry. Sheridan has called it a “love poem” to his family, the city, and that time in their lives, and it reminds me of my time there in my twenties, when I lived in Brooklyn. (I looked at an apartment in Hell’s Kitchen, with a window overlooking a shaft between buildings and a hole in the door where the deadbolt should have been.) My railroad-style apartment had wood floors, a white tin roof, and a nearby movie theater and Italian bakeries with walk-up windows for ices in the summertime. It also had a bathroom the size of an easy chair and a view of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Once I moved to Florida, I had to play traffic noise to fall asleep.

I’ve collected books and pictures of the city since then, but like Christy, I prefer the pictures in my head. Ginger ice cream from Peter’s on Atlantic Avenue. Talking with a friend on the F train steps for hours. Free movies in Bryant Park behind the library. Walking through Central Park in the dusk of summer. Gerbera daisies at the bodega in the spring. The woman at the vintage shop watching “Moonstruck” on a tiny TV and saying, “This is everybody’s family, this movie.” The man walking home who pointed out a comet for me in the night sky. Climbing the fire escape to the roof to watch Fourth of July fireworks and seeing three pockets of them. Standing on the Brooklyn Bridge boardwalk above the East River, feeling the traffic hum beneath my feet.

Not every corner of New York is tinged with magic, though the concrete sometimes glitters. Not every corner of life has magic, either, but like that knock on the door, it’s there if you listen. Like how the dispatcher for the cab Johnny drives chats with Christy and Ariel over the radio while their dad has an audition. How the woman at the ice cream parlor where Sarah works watches the girls so Johnny and Sarah can have time alone. How friends referred me to jobs when I’d lost mine and did our laundry when our son was in the hospital. How people at the cancer center chat about HGTV and offer saltines and applaud when you ring the bell once chemo is done. How bird lovers on social media now mourn the death of Flaco, the magnificent owl sprung from the Central Park Zoo who enchanted them with his flights around town and hoots from above. How we pitch in when someone needs us, whether they say it or not, and sally forth, waving to those we love as we imagine them pedaling across the moon.

Before calling the girls to wave to their loved ones, Johnny fears Frankie’s death has wrecked his spirit. So, Sarah tells him to pretend. “Sometimes I think our entire lives are make-believe,” she says. “Make believe you’re happy, Johnny. Please. For the kids.”

That’s the sublime thing about magic. Sometimes what you pretend to believe becomes real.

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by Xtreme HD IPTV

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