Juddy Talt gets over the girl with the help of his new film, “Language of a Broken Heart”
By JUDDY TALT April 16, 2013 2:22AM
It was Henry Miller that once said, “The best way to get over a girl is to turn her into literature.” So began my journey of writing, starring in and producing my first film, “Language of a Broken Heart,” which was filmed partially in Rockford and opens Friday at the Regal Theatres in Skokie and Lincolnshire.
The film is a fictionalized romantic comedy based on all of my past heartbreaks. Did it help me get over my exes? I don’t know yet. But I certainly enjoyed taking circumstances from these past breakups and letting them play out on the big screen so that I could relive them over and over. Maybe I’m just a masochist. Or maybe I’ll learn something.
One particular breakup inspired much of the movie. I was a complete mess afterward, and I went to see a therapist, who told me the things I should be doing and the things I shouldn’t be doing (like all therapists do). Finally, I asked him, “How is your love life?” And he said, “I just got divorced for the third time.” But of course, I still listened to him, even with his track record. Better than listening to myself.
Enter Oscar Nunez from the hit NBC show “The Office.” He plays that same crazy shrink in the film, doling out terrible advice like, “Go out, party and hook up with a random girl.” My character takes his advice, and it doesn’t work out too well. We’ve all gone through awful breakups, and everybody gets all types of bad advice — but the fact of the matter is, we have to figure things out on our own. As I wrote these scenes in the screenplay, I found myself learning from my character and finding ways to get over my real-life girlfriend. It seemed Henry James’ suggestion was working.
After the breakup, I did some things that seemed tragic and romantic at the time, but were actually quite humorous. Have you ever sent flowers to an ex? Romantic, right? Who doesn’t want flowers? No — it’s actually stalking. This behavior inspired the scene in the film when my character asks his publisher, “What’s the difference between being a romantic and being a stalker?” And the publisher replies, “Jail time.”
I never went to jail, but it’s so funny to me that we put ourselves through such hell over people who aren’t even right for us. I think it’s because we all have a dream of what a relationship could be, and once the dream dies, we start to panic. It hurts to lose a dream.
In the film, my character loses his dream quite abruptly: He finds his fiance in bed with another man. He responds by returning to Rockford to visit the only woman he ever left: his mother. I’ve spent a lot of time in Rockford in my own life — my real-life mother grew up there.
Later on, my character walks in on his mother (played by the fabulous Julie White) naked. Did this happen to me? Let’s just say turning THAT into literature only made it worse. There are some things we just aren’t meant to see. But once he recovers, my character also reconnects with the important people in his life that he left behind. And he meets a quirky antiquarian bookseller that teaches him a few things about love.
In real life, I thought I was lucky to have found my own antiquarian bookseller. But unfortunately, that relationship failed recently. Again — I’m still learning.
Now that the film’s finished, I can sit in the theater, watch it and try to figure out where everything went wrong. At the very least, maybe seeing my relationships on the big screen will remind me not to be so dramatic this time around. Otherwise, I still have my shrink on speed dial.
“Language of a Broken Heart” will play April 19-25 at the Regal Gardens 7-13 (4999 Old Orchard, Skokie) and the Regal Lincolnshire Stadium 21 (300 Parkway, Lincolnshire).