Let me first say that I have not seen Let the Right One In , either. Although, Rob has told me all about it. He was so very excited for me to see this flick (Let Me In). The thing about that kind of hype from Rob is that it inspires in me a kind of bias. He loves (and has subjected me to) movies like Leaving Las Vegas and Rush, which kinda make me feel suicidal afterwards. So I wanted to keep my head clear for this film (a bias free zone of pretty flowers and awesome sword fights). Although, just before we watched it, he compared the ending to The Graduate. You know, when all the characters suddenly feel trapped, doomed, uncertain that they made the right choices. Dammit Rob, don't tell me shit like that. So we viewed the flick (well, I did anyway; the little old man fell asleep). And I did not get that "Graduate" feeling from the ending. To me it felt sweet (the kind of "sweet" that allows doomed lovers to transcend their doom because of their love; like Sun and Jin on Lost). Sure the boy has an idea (a very certain idea) as to what his fate with the vampire will be, but he showed no doubt. Instead, just as he is certain he will lead a difficult life (roaming, hiding, murdering, etc.), he is equally certain that is exactly what he wants. He loves her. Real love.
Rob is very fond of the author Irving Welsh. In one of his novels (which I have not read, but know vicariously through Rob; like so much of my knowledge) the main character's father is dying. The son says his goodbyes and then the father kicks him out of the room so he can spend his last moments with only his wife (the main character's Mum). This is Rob's favorite example of perfect, true love. And this is what I thought of at the end of Let Me In. Love is the focus of the whole film. Not Chick Flick love, but David Bowie's Soul Love love. The vampire (who insists she isn't a girl) is doomed by her condition and helpless in her eternal youth (I watched the special features, as always, and saw a cut scene showing her being turned into the vampire; it was intense, the violent theft of her life and rape of her innocence). The boy is caught up in the shit storm that is divorce. I know this character. His parents may not consciously want to use him as leverage in their little war, but he is caught in the cross fire nonetheless. The setting (the cinder block apartment building, the school, the people) makes me empathize with this character even more. His violent fantasies are neither surprising nor disturbing; he's gonna be swallowed whole unless he learns to hit back. I love the Romeo and Juliet undercurrent. These kids are definitely star-crossed lovers; doomed to survive (which is not the same as living) rather than die like the Shakespearean youths. It was the Morse code conversation on the train that made the ending so sweet, showing their unity. She saved his life and he will sustain hers for the rest of his (in a side note I see her feeding from her previous Lover as a mercy killing). They will survive the sorrow and guilt of the murders they have and will commit to protect each other, and only real love can carry them through that.
My favorite definition of love is from a cartoon (Disney no less). In the Sword and the Stone (which is based on The Once and Future King) Merlin turns Arthur into a squirrel. Having nearly plummeted from a tree, Merlin explains the concept of gravity to the boy (the powerful force that pulls you down, keeps you on the earth). Then there's a very sweet little squirrel chase with a girl squirrel (who risks her own life to save Arthur's, un-huh), but in the end Arthur is turned back into a boy and the girl squirrel is heart broken. Arthur is sad for the girl squirrel and Merlin says "Well, that love stuff is a powerful thing", to which Arthur responds "Greater than gravity?". Sadly Merlin replies "Yes, I'd say it's the greatest force on earth".