Good Morning Heartache: Song for the Tragic Soul

Good Morning Heartache is a famous blues song sung by none other than the queen of the blues Billie Holiday.  The song which dates back to 1946 is loved by every melancholic soul. It is a beautiful song addressing the very familiar heartache which sensitive souls often experience.  Some people are even stuck with a feeling of longing and nostalgia forever. This song simply urges one to make friends with one’s heartache and oneself. In fact song gives a tragic comic identity to heartache. Billie Holiday’s entire life was marked by struggle for survival and she lived through many failed romances and in the later life was even hooked to drugs. She died at 44, her tragedies and drugs killed her.This song is truly the song of her own tragic soul.

Maybe the song has also inspired the contemporary Italian movie by the same name.  Good Morning Heartache, the movie was released in the year 2008 and was also nominated for Golden Palme’ award at Cannes film festival that year.  The movie itself is an amazing comic take on human emotional follies which lead to heartaches. The dark tragedy often looks best through the lens of comedy.

The best part of the movie is the ‘movie within movie’ style of narration. Two struggling film makers decide to make a documentary on a yet another struggling actor’s life. The actor has a beautiful wife and toddler. As the cameras roll and begins to document daily struggles, joys and arguments of this family a sudden tragedy unfolds. In a sheer frustrated moment the actor dumps his young wife and the child and walks out.  For the two film makers this circumstance opens up new exciting possibilities and challenges. They decide to follow the estranged husband and wife independently.

What unfolds and gets recorded are the typical moments which follow separation – frustration, struggle of wife to cope up with new situation, her friends and their take about the whole thing, husband’s stubbornness and his new affair, wife’s new job and babysitting issues etc. The situation totally spins out control and each day there is a new development. The documentary makers keep moving behind all the characters with their cameras. Here camera becomes the silent witness to the extraordinary realistic tale of love, rejection, coping up and finally each character moving on while discovering their own identity and also deficiencies of their relationship. After a certain point the whole seriousness of the problem starts to look comical too.

The film totally remains committed to realism. In the end one of the hands behind the camera gets involved in the whole story. Though camera is a mute witness to extreme loneliness and frustration thrust by life on young wife, the camera man finally breaks the silence. Thus tragedy ends and a new story begins. A story which can turn tragic again…

Both the song and the movie look closely at the heartache. Billie Holiday’s song addresses heartache as an entity living inside one’s own self. The movie takes a perspective of a camera to reveal subtle human emotions and follies that lead to heartache. One can never really wish away heartache but can certainly make friends with it.


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