Remember this 1998 flick that got mixed reviews, but was visually stunning? I’m talking about Great Expectations, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Ethan Hawke, Anne Bancroft and Robert DeNiro. Anyone else remember this movie?
The book, Great Expectations happens to be my all time favorite Charles Dickens novel. I first read it in fifth grade. It was way over my head then, but it gave me the seed of what I would come to love in all storytelling — suspense, a turn of fortune and unrequited love.
The film is scarcely faithful to Dickens’ classic tale. Retold by director Alfonso Cuarón, the film is set on the Florida coastline and in New York’s contemporary art world. Yet, it contains the bare bones elements of boy pursuing untouchable girl, jilted, crazy aunt and mysterious, dangerous benefactor. What sets this movie apart is the original artwork from Italian painter, Francesco Clemente, that took the inspiration of Dickens’ novel to a new level.
While I watched the film twice when it came out and then bought it and watched it many more times over, what does it have to do with Big Baby Small Space?
Color Me Green
My favorite color of all time, green, was visually infused with my favorite classic, Great Expectations. Doesn’t matter what any film critic said. This movie changed the way I see color. The director, Alfonso Cuarón on the set of Great Expectations, said to Jean Nathan for The New York Times:
“I have to say that green is the only color I understand. I can really frame it; I know how to work with it. I see other colors, and they feel alien. I cannot give you a rational explanation why.”
Each scene in Great Expectations has an element of green, from Donna Karan’s stylish clothes to the over grown lush gardens of Paradiso Perdudo. Yet having green everywhere is not overwhelming. The first time I watched the movie I didn’t even notice it. It was only after the second time did I leave the theater and wonder, “Was I just suffused in green?”
Alfonso Cuarón is a man after my own heart. I can’t tell you why I love the color green. I don’t remember when it was cemented into my consciousness, but I do know that in all of its shades — blue greens, brownish greens, cool greens — it makes me happy. It calms me down. It creates a feeling of comfort and expansiveness.
How to Bring Your Favorite Color Home
When it came to decorating my home as a new wife and then a new mother, I didn’t realize how much Alfonso Cuarón affected me. It wasn’t until a friend asked me to help her decorate her home that I took a step back and looked around my own home. I saw that every aspect of my home was in a shade of green. I didn’t do it consciously. I was just drawn to it.
I told her I had a throw pillow that contained a few shades that I liked how they worked together — an earthy green, a dark rich red, a soft brown, a dijon mustard yellow with a slight accent of twilight blue. I took this pillow with me everywhere. When it came to deciding what furniture, what baby gear, wall decals, bed linen, etc, etc, I put the throw pillow up against the object and tried to visualize it in my home.
So what do you think happened? Do you think my home is all green, red, brown and yellow? In some ways it is. My kitchen is in a very calming sand color with touches of red and green. My kids’ room is filled with bright green, blue and white. My bedroom is more masculine with darker shades of green, brown and gold. Is it jarring? Do you think I get a response, such as quoted in the Los Angeles Times,
“When I told Gwyneth all her costumes would be green, she said, ‘Oh, my God,’ ” recalls Cuaron. “Everyone is so afraid of green. They’re afraid it will make them look pale. But when she started wearing it, she was into it.”
Does any one notice the color scheme besides me? Probably not. What people notice is that my home has a calm, flowing feeling. The fact that green dominates has all to do with the fact that I love it. Plain and simple. Like Alfonso Cuarón, I understand the color green.
For other all things green, check out:
What’s your favorite color?
So when you are decorating your home or your baby’s first room, just think you will be spending a lot of time there. Look at your wardrobe, your jewelry, even your eye color. One friend has sky blue eyes. It wasn’t surprising that her home is infused with cool shades of blue. Visit a paint store and by instinct pick out colors. Come home, don’t over think it, just observe how a color makes you feel. If you have a rug you adore, a wall paper pattern, an art piece, a movie you love, take a picture, take a sample, take it with you every where.
Have you used your favorite color in your home without even realizing it? I’d love to hear how. Did you do it consciously or did you just notice it for the first time today?