The magic of repetition

You all might know the scene in ‘Good Will Hunting’ in which the psychologist breaks up/consoles the genius juvenile Will Hunting by repeating over and over: “It’s not your fault”. I hate/love that scene and for a long time I had thought it’s just appealing to people who have been abused themselves in whatever way. ‘Hate’ because how dare Hollywood touch us there with its dirty hands.

Now I feel that – similarly to Audrey Hepburn calling out for “cat” in the rain at the end of Breakfast At Tiffany’s, and like the endless repetition of “it’s alright” in Ted Leo’s ‘Little Dawn’ – it somehow manages to be both: cliche and whatever the antonym of cliche is, it breaks the cliche by making it unique again for a moment. By repeating those simplest of words – “it’s not your fault”, “it’s alright” and, yes: “cat” – over and over they tip the scale from empty sentimental gesture to brimming with emotion.

That vague feeling of being lost and scared that seems to connect many of us like an endless drone humming and vibrating underneath, a vague feeling of guilt, humming, like a far too tightly wound bass string vibrating so softly that we hardly can hear and feel it most of the time, but when we do, then it gives us that feeling within our stomach, the feeling that it’s always our own fault if we don’t ‘make it’. If we don’t earn enough money. If we don’t manage to control our body and looks. If we disappoint expectations. For some even just: if we let go. Those two scenes and that song manage to disrupt that for one sweet moment using the magic of repetition.

Or at least I like to think so.

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