Don't worry. This is more than just a movie review.
My husband and I watched It's Complicated last night with Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin. The basic premise of the story is that Jane (Meryl) and Jake (Jake) have been divorced for 10 years. Jake is remarried but unhappy in his new marriage finds himself longing for Jane. Jane is still attracted and drawn to Jake, after all they did have a 20 year marriage history between them and so they fall into an affair. While Jane struggles with the rightness or wrongness of now being the "other" woman, Jake seems to feel like he has gotten his groove back. In the meantime, Adam (Steve Martin) enters the scene and is obviously attracted to Jane and they both really hit it off. Intertwined in all this is their three children and lots of comments about how nice it is that mom and dad are getting along (although they are unaware of the affair)
Got it? Pretty simply storyline right? As you can probably guess this storyline has lots of opportunities for pie in the face type of humour and boy does it deliver. At several times in the film, I was laughing so hard I was slapping my leg and even at one point and stood up and turned around in anticipation of the embarrassment that was about to unfold. I thought it was a great film, thought the ending was perfect and was left feeling optimistic and upbeat.
It was nice too seeing Steve Martin play a more serious role. Not that he hasn't in the past, but all I can recall lately seeing of him are his roles in Pink Panther and Pink Panther 2. While I appreciate his comedy and humour it was nice to see him as a regular guy.
Meryl Streep as usual is fantastic. She is such a talented actress. Alec Baldwin did a great job as only he can do. Unfortunately though his roles are often similar. While essentially he seems to be a nice guy he always comes off as a womanizer and a little sad at his inability to look after himself.
It's funny though how this movie did not make my husband feel the same way. In fact, it made him feel a little depressed. I was surprised at this because he was laughing at the funny bits just as much as I was. When pressed further he said that the whole divorce thing was depressing. On reflection I could see why it would affect him that way. While we are both dedicated to this marriage and come from the perspective that "divorce is not an option", I am realistic enough to realize that it does happen (obviously) and that families on a daily basis struggle to work through divorce. What he saw was what could have been and now wasn't.
When I start to break down the film a little more I got what he was saying. It is obviously sad that they got divorced. It is sad too to see them recognize 10 years later the role that each played in the break up while if they had been honest at the time, they might have had a chance to save their marriage. That they were obviously still good together and could make each other laugh. It was also sad that their three children are still affected by it even though they are now grown. Despite all the funny bits about the film the message that "divorce hurts" still carried throughout it. Which is a good thing because we don't want to glamorize divorce at all. Any single parent out there knows how hard it is to be one!
Of course this all got me to thinking this morning of a conversation I had with my daughter and a friend. I guess divorce had been coming up in school lately and for the first time my child has been realising that not all mommys and daddys live together. She expressed concern about K and I separating and who would she live with etc. I was so dismayed by the thought that this would be going through her head that I promised her very emphatically that her Dad and I would never divorce. That we would always work out our problems.
That was how I felt after all and felt that the certainty of my faith and beliefs supported me making such a large promise.
When I shared this conversation with my friend, who is also a believer, she was surprised and concerned. She told me that I should never have made that promise. I was astonished that she would consider it to have been a mistake, after all my husband and I have been married almost 11 years and while life is not perfect there is nothing in our marriage that would make me ever think I needed to get out.
She then reminded me of someone who was married to a pastor and had been for years. She too made that promise to her child and now they are getting divorced. He had had an affair. Now all the ins and outs of their relationship are not known to me. What part she played in their estrangement I have no idea. But she regretted having made that promise to her child.
I started to argue that I know that K would never do that to me. That it's not in him to go after another woman. But then I stopped because obviously the woman didn't go into her marriage thinking her husband might have an affair either. No one wants to suspect the worst of their mate.
Still in the end I don't regret having made that promise because it was absolutely the way I felt at the time and still do feel that way. Who knows what 10 years could bring us. We may drive each other to the point of divorce or we may love each other more than ever. I just don't know but I don't regret trying to give my little girl some security in an unsecure world.
I guess if a movie like this can get you all thinking about life and your own relationships and maybe make some changes for the better that it becomes more than just a comedy.
Have you seen? What did you think?
BTW this wasn't a sponsored or requested review, I did it because it got me thinking. As many of you know I own a video store and watch these movies for my work, poor me;)