Not all movies make me cry. I’m not necessarily a major weeper, but if a movie or a TV show strikes just the right chord, then my tears are a melody of all my feels.
That being said, there are some movies that make me cry more than most – and make me cry every time I watch them. This is one of those movies. (Beware: there are obviously spoilers.)
Okay, okay. I know it’s not a movie. But just shush about that, okay?
Because we need to talk about Rory’s graduation speech.
As you probably don’t know, Gilmore Girls finally arrived in bingewatching homes thanks to our favourite best friend, Netflix. And since that has coincided with shorter days, longer nights and rainy weather, it felt necessary for me to start watching it from the beginning. After an entire season and a half of “Ugh, Dean!” with another season and a half of “Come on, Jess!” and three seasons of “Luke and Lorelai are each other’s twue wuvs!,” the day finally came: Rory’s graduation from Chilton.
To be unnecessarily critical, her valedictorian speech wasn’t the best. I mean, the first half was great. She starts with a light joke and says the typically nostalgic things that fill up hearts of students and parents alike. She talks about living in two worlds, one of books and the far better one of real life (which I’m not sure is entirely true since she lives in a dramedy, so of course her life is better than a book). But then she goes on to talk about her grandparents. And she spends quite a bit of time talking about “the dazzling woman from whom I received my name and my life’s blood: Lorelai Gilmore.” She talks about how her mom encouraged her and talks about the loving childhood she experienced. Which is great, but, if you really think about it, that part of the speech doesn’t apply to her peers.
I can’t help but think Paris would be feeling bad about her childhood and the fact that the most loving parent she has is her nanny. And Brad would presumably just be thinking about what song he should’ve sung instead of the one he chose. And Madeline and Louise are probably scanning the crowd for make-out buddies.
But in that moment, we don’t think about the overly personal speech Rory gave at her high school ceremony. We think about our Gilmore girls. We think about the fact that Lorelai learns just how much of a role model she’s been to her daughter. We think about the feeling of pride Richard and Emily Gilmore have for their granddaughter. And we think about the fact that everyone is crying – including Luke.
Yes, Luke. The grump from the diner. The one who barks orders and has dark days. The one who doesn’t know how to hug and is uncomfortable with public displays of anything, but nonetheless awkwardly hugs Rory when he finds out she got into three Ivy League schools.
Luke, the man who has been the greatest father to Rory for her entire life. The one who was always there for her with a cup of coffee and a reliability she didn’t have in her own father. The one who made her a coffee cake for her 16th birthday and didn’t tell Lorelai. The one who is finally celebrated for all his fatherly influence in the character reference that Lorelai writes up in season seven (which subsequently ends her stupid marriage with Christopher – “Dammit, Christopher!”)
Because it’s not Christopher who celebrates her birthdays. It’s not Christopher who moves her into Yale. It’s not Christopher who makes her breakfast every morning. And, in this episode, it’s not Christopher who cries and blubbers at her high school graduation.
It’s always Luke.