The tears. So many tears. It was unanimous amongst the french fry toting debaters at the Hot Docs round table that The Way We Get By was a sob-fest.
The film is touching and heartbreaking and inspiring. It follows three self-appointed airport greeters who welcome soldiers returning from Iraq. It is a sensitive portrait of how people find a sense of purpose and belonging after they have outlived society’s perception of usefulness. It is about loneliness and finding purpose and connection and love.
One of the greeters, Joan, was at the screening we attended. I was desperate to say hello and shake her hand. The Sweetie, having seen me in action when overwhelmed with emotion and on the verge of gushing, cautioned me before I approached. “Don’t scare her okay? She’s an old woman, try to keep it together. And let me say a few words to her first in case you completely fall apart and we have to leave quickly.” I was fine while The Sweetie spoke and told her how pleased he was to meet her and how much he enjoyed the movie. I was fine while our friends also expressed their gratitude and admiration. I was fine until I grasped her hand and started bawling and babbling something about “such an honour, sob sob sob, such an inspiration, sob sob sob, oh such a movie , sob sob sob,” until The Sweetie gently pulled me away.
In case you missed it the first time around, get some tissues ready and enjoy the trailer again.