Thursday, March 31, 2011

Getting Tall


"Getting Tall"
by Maury Yeston
from Nine (1982)

Scraping knees, tying shoes,
Starting school, paying dues.
Finding there’s no way
We can spend a lifetime playing ball ...
Part of getting tall.
Learning more, knowing less,
Simple words, tenderness ...
Part of getting tall.

Guido, you’re not crazy, you’re all right.
Everyone wants everyone in sight ...
But knowing you have no one
If you try to have them all
Is part of tying shoes,
Part of starting school,
Part of scraping knees if we should fall ...
Part of getting tall.

I was watching the film verson of the musical Nine last night and, though I appreciate the ending of the film, I can't help bemoaning the loss of this incredibly beautiful song.  The musical is based on the classic Fellini film 8-1/2 and tells the story of a famous director, Guido Contini, struggling with a midlife crisis and a script that isn't written, all while trying to balance the romantic "web" of women in his life.  This song, sung in the final moments by Guido as a boy to the adult Guido, is nothing short of inspired.  The device of having an adult speaking to his inner child is commonplace, but how often are the roles reversed?  Here we have the child counselling the man, telling him to let go of the inner child, telling him it's time to grow up and to face the defeats and difficulties that we learn about as children.  Once again, it's the simplicity that draws me to these lyrics ...

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