Someone linked to this on Facebook this past weekend saying that it is a perfect example of “unadulterated joy”, something that is harder to capture than any other emotion. Give an actor a tragic scene and the tears will flow easily, the howls of pain, they will go there no problem. But give them a scene of hysterical laughter? They might break out into a cold sweat. Tears can be faked. Laughter cannot. And Joy is something that is even more elusive. What is so great about this scene below (and yes, the quality of the clip does stink) is how long it goes on. And how it never stops its momentum. It starts with one person, then another is added, then another, and another … and the excitement of these people never stops building, and never stops being specific. Each one has his or her own type of response, but it adds to the symphony of the whole. If you’re not looking at this carefully, it may seem like a breeze: Just jump around and scream for 5 minutes, right? Not at all. This scene captures what it means to be thrilled, and to not be able to believe how thrilled you are. It is specific. I have a great affection for this film, and this scene is one of my favorites. I never get sick of watching it. Every actor here is like a different instrument in a symphony orchestra, all coming in at different times, all having to match what has come before, and all with their own specific modes of expression. It’s a mini-masterpiece, this scene. And the scene is not designed to be one big group hug, with everyone freaking out all at once. It is designed to build, to bring in this one, then that one, so that there are dips in the momentum. One person “doesn’t know yet”, so he has a different energy, more everyday, but when he finds out, then we watch him catapult up to meet the energy of the others.
Like I said: Joy is one of the hardest things to express accurately.
Here, they nail it.