The Clock

The Clock ★★★★★

at the end of WrestleMania 20, lifelong best friends and eternal underdogs Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit pulled off the impossible. after years of being told they were too small, not main event material, and being relegated to years of undercard work, both men beat WWE legends to cement themselves as the two world champions at the end of the biggest show of the year. these two brothers who the fans adored with all their hearts got to celebrate a lifelong dream together, holding each other alongside their titles as tears pour down their face and Madison Square Garden erupts in joy for their achievement. it is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen in my life. within three years of that, both men would be dead. Eddie would be a hero forever, passing away the next year in one of the most tragic losses in the history of professional wrestling, but continuing to inspire millions of fans to this day including myself. Chris would kill his wife, child and himself three years later, forever destroying his reputation and creating this permanent black cloud over every special moment that he had in this business, every memory and life moment he affected fundamentally shifting in the wake of his sickening actions. both of these one time heroes dead just a few years after this eternal moment, a moment that is now defined by loss, heartbreak and sickening disgust in equal measure. yet, every time I go back and watch it again, the persuasive melancholy of what happened after haunts me but it gets overwhelmed by the sheer emotion of the moment. in fact, it just becomes more stimulating and devastating knowing that this was the only chance they’d get to live a moment like this in front of the camera, that it was the only world title both men ever held in the WWE, that they’d both be gone weeks before winning their planned second. sometimes things are so beautiful and emotional, little fragments of time, that even a lifetime of tragedy and devastation which follows can’t sabotage it. there is still beauty even as the darkness consumes.

Robert Walker, the male lead of The Clock, died in 1951 at the age of 32, just six years after this film came out. Judy Garland, his co-lead. would be dead before she was 50 years old. both died over complications from drugs, after years of mental health issues and tragic heartbreaking relationships. their characters are destined for sadness, with the context of the film being love over the course of two days before Walker returns to fight in World War II. it ends before we ever know if he returns to come back to her, unlike its spiritual successor Dogfight (another movie that reaches unbelievable melancholy due to the young passing of its lead actor River Phoenix) and we’re just left with the reality of the love they could express in two days. there’s sadness in thinking of these people, these beautiful performers with such vulnerability and conviction in their displays of romance, who were broken and destroyed by the world, who never got the chance to be truly happy. yet, in this film, despite the obvious fiction, their avatars get a few beautiful kisses and moments that exist forever. sometimes it feels like destiny to meet another person that you love more than life itself. you cling onto them for as long as you can, no matter what the future holds, love is real and worth fighting through the uncertainty for. 

watching this after six months of relentless intensity in my own personal life, with my own girlfriend being in hospital for what feels like eternity, is a different kind of experience. I am so tired after months of not knowing if the last time we talked would be the last words we’d ever exchange, if I’d lose her after so little time with her love in my life. there is a part of your brain that cannot compute imagine the person you love dying, a space in your heart and mind that can never be imagined or processed, an empty space in the mind where only sadness lingers. I didn’t know if she was going to be okay, and neither did she. there was nothing but uncertainty to stake our realities on, whether or not she’d survive COVID, how long it would take for her to recover, all these doubts and unknown truths in a situation like this which you can’t prepare for. yet no matter what, there has never been doubt between both of us to commit, to love each other as openly and romantically as much as we can for every second we get with each other. I hope more than life itself that soon, I will be able to step off of a shitty plane with too many bags in my hands to see her looking at me with a smile on her face and tears in her eyes, and everything bad that’s ever happened to us will fade away as we begin to embrace. that’s the hope in love that keeps you going. this movie understands that choosing to love isn’t always easy, that the world is heartbreaking and that nothing is guaranteed, but that making the choice to embrace the feelings in your heart and step forward into the future together is the only way to truly exist. I would choose you every day, no matter how much time we get.