Movie Matches - My 'Cinema Spirit Mammals'

Like many of us, I love movies.  And, also like many, I always find myself drawn to certain genres, particularly those that fall into the RomCom, Action or Fantasy/Adventure type.  I was recently watching a re-run of one of my favorite movies and the jewelry in it inspired me - as it always does - to identify my 'Cinema Spirit Mammals.'

These are the movie characters which somehow spoke to the inner jewelry lover and collector in me.  Maybe because these are the characters that I secretly (or not so secretly) wish I could be.  Or, maybe these are the characters that I already feel a kinship with because we share similar traits, emotional connections or aesthetics with a particular piece of jewelry, period or style.  And in other instances, I connected with the sentimentality that the character felt towards a very specific piece of jewelry.

Ranging the gamut from humorous to the sentimental and romantic and even to the adventurous, here are my most endearing 'Cinema Spirit Mammals' from my five of my favorite movies.

*Caution - if you haven't seen some (or all) of these movies, there may be a few spoilers ahead!*

Niffler from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 
The Scene:  Jewelry Store Break-In
I am a huge Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them fan.  I find the movies a wonderful departure from the (sometimes) uninspired day-to-day droll that adult life can become comprised of.  In the context of this post however, the scene which resonated the most with me is the one in which Newt Scamander and his new-found friend, Jacob Kowalski, are chasing Newt's escaped Niffler through the City of New York before he steals more than his little pouch can hold.  As they race down the street, Newt spots the Niffler in a jewelry store window attempting to look as nonchalant as he can given his rather furry appearance.  As an avid jewelry lover and collector, there have been many a time when I wished that I could simply fill up my "pouch" (purse) with every sparkly bauble my eyes were drawn to from antique and vintage pieces by Harry Winston, Cartier and Garrard to stunning modern collections by designers such Judi Powers, Laurie Kaiser, Margery Hirschey and more.  Niffler and I have very similar character traits!  

Niffler doing his best impression of a jewelry display.
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Claire Smith-Wyman from Letters to Juliet 
The Scene:  Claire shows the Secretaries of Juliet the ring Lorenzo gave her when she was a teenager.
Claire Smith-Wyman was a teen when she studied abroad in Tuscany, Italy and fell in love with a young Italian named Lorenzo Bartolini.  Lorenzo and Claire planned to marry but as she was supposed to meet him so they could run away together, the young Claire gets scared and returns to England, heartbroken.  Fifty years later, with some encouragement from the Secretaries of Juliet via a response to the recently discovered letter she had left at Juliet Capulet's house in Verona some decades earlier, Claire returns to find her lost love.  In the scene, Claire and her grandson are having dinner with the Secretaries of Juliet and she recites the story of leaving Lorenzo and her decades-long regret before pulling a simple ring in the shape of a heart from a chain around her neck.  The ring isn't flashy by movie (or jewelry collector) standards but it is obviously extremely sentimental to the character.  It is this sentimentality that draws me in every time.  Jewelry should tell a story - our story - and as a collector and jewelry lover, it is these stories that add to the allure, the associated memories and devotion of every single piece which come into our collections.  These pieces are our collective history and we are their momentary guardians.

Lorenzo and Claire reunited 50 years later.
Photo Credit:  
Summit Entertainment

Astrid Leong from Crazy Rich Asians 
The Scene:  Astrid enters a jewelry store to review their new collection.
From a wealthy Singapore family, Astrid is the epitome of class and sophistication with style - and money - to spare!  In one of my favorite scenes in the movie, Nick and Rachel are on the plane flying to Singapore when he begins to tell her about his family, mentioning that the cousin he feels the most close to is Astrid.  Cut to Astrid stylishly walking into an impressive jewelry store and shown to a private viewing room with their latest pieces laid out in front of her - and an even more impressive antique jewelry collection on display lining the walls around the room.  As she sips her tea, a pair of antique pearl drop earrings catch her eye.  The jeweler has them brought over for her to look at.  After describing them to her, she simply asks, "How much?"  He responds by telling her that her wearing one of his pieces is "better publicity that [he] can buy" so he'll let them go at his cost - $1.2mil dollars.  I'll be completely honest, I am drawn to the character of Astrid out of pure jealousy!  

Astrid reviewing a jewelers' newest collection.
Photo Credit:  Warner Bros. Pictures

Marisa Ventura from Maid in Manhattan 
The Scene:  Marisa is spotted wearing an icon Harry Winston Wreath Necklace under her sweats.
A modern day Cinderella-esque RomCom, Maid in Manhattan tells the story of a single, working mom, Marisa, who works as a maid at a fancy uptown hotel when she gets caught trying on a guest's fancy clothes by another guest, Christopher Marshall.  He is immediately taken by her and attempts to garner her affections.  Marshall is a local politician with a family political dynasty to uphold who is running for office (a nod to JFK Jr., anyone?).  In order to save face, and her job, Marisa keeps up pretenses while trying not to fall for the handsome politico.  As a culminating, glass slipper moment in the film, Marisa agrees to attend Marshall's Fundraising Gala as his date determined to end things when the evening is over.  Hotel staff assist her by loaning her a dress, shoes, make-up and the like - including an icon Harry Winston Wreath Necklace with the promise that she doesn't take it off the entire evening.  I mean, can you imagine?!  Marisa can't help herself and spends the night at the hotel where she is spotted leaving Marshall's room the following morning in the wreath necklace.  Every girl wants a 'Cinderella moment' in their lifetime where they have the opportunity to wear the most stunning dress; get the full glam treatment, fabulous jewels and are the center of Prince Charming's eye.  Bonus:  If the amazing jewels are Harry Winston.  Where do I sign up?

Marisa wearing the Harry Winston Wreath Necklace the morning after the political fundraiser.
Photo Credit:  Revolution Studios

Debbie Ocean from Ocean's 8 
The Scene:  Debbie opens the fridge to reveal an entire Royal Collection of stolen jewels.
Debbie Ocean and her merry band of thieves team up to steal a priceless Cartier necklace directly off actress Daphne Kluger's neck during the annual Met Gala - all while framing the ex that sent Debbie to prison.  I think everyone has a bit of badass in them somewhere and what is more badass than committing a felony; providing a bit a payback and walking away a multi-millionaire in the process?  Getting together a team full of badass women to help you and then taking it to the next level by stealing a collection of historically significant European Royals' jewels from none other than the most highly policed and secure museum fundraiser of the year.  Yes, Debbie Ocean is a badass.  And, Yes, I not so secretly want to be her....with a fridge full of jewels from European Royalty and a first class ticket to paradise (with no extradition).

Debbie Ocean reveal the stolen Royal Collection from The Met.
Photo Credit:  Warner Bros. Pictures

Like many movies and their characters have done throughout time for thousands of movie-goers before me, some characters have reached out and grabbed someone along the way - meaning something very different to every viewer and speaking to some more deeply than others leaving an ever-lasting impact.  These particular characters are but a few of the many which have resonated with me over the years as a jewelry lover and collector.  So who (or what) are your 'Cinema Spirit Mammals?'

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