I meant to write about this movie when I first saw it several months ago. It’s a really good movie, but it left me emotionally stirred and I couldn’t figure out why. The whole time boy and I were watching it I fluctuated between really wanting to turn it off and really liking everything about it. B/c I’m a girl like that.
But I think there were 2 things that caused this: the love story and the family aspect.
The love story – Steve Carell’s wife died and left him raising 3 teenage girls that hate him in only the way teenage girls can. He’s a funny-tragic character and is too hung up on his dead wife to date. (I know, I’m not good at movie reviews.) But anyway, he meets a girl and decides she’s his 100% perfect girl only to find out it’s his brother gal. Hysterical temper tantrums of self-pity ensue (I so relate to temper tantrums of self-pity.) It’s all about mixed up timing when you meet the one you want to be with, but trying to go after it anyway. I like this idea, because I think timing is an important element to love, but no one goes without getting hurt in real life. And in the movie it seemed too simple. That was my first frustration.
The family story – I don’t know where it took place. Over Thanksgiving in a big wooden house somewhere in upstate New York. Big family, all together, playing games like crossword puzzle competitions, talent shows pulled together in the living room and casual dinners around a big table. Kids, grand-kids, brothers and sisters and cousins. I don’t have any cousins. And my family is scattered all over the place. And our holidays went from formal dining to a split between having to choose between real family and step family. I turned to boy during the movie and asked if he could imagine having a family reunion like that where everyone gets together to play board games. No, he couldn’t imagine it either. But, it looked really nice. It looked like fun. And this frustrated me because I think I’ve convinced myself that families like that don’t exist. All families are highly dysfunctional and you can’t convince me that there wasn’t some cousin Johnny cut out from the scenes because he was drunk at the other end of the table shouting obscenities at someone. The more I watched the more I wanted to turn it off but the more I couldn’t turn away.
I expect there to be a big divide between friends who know exactly what I’m talking about and those that don’t have a clue. Scenes like that in a movie make me want to not have kids because I don’t want to have them if I don’t have a big family to surround them with. Of course the family scenes were a bit idealized in the movie, but I’ve seen families make it work. Anyway, it’s something to think about.