Marriage-ology

the study of marriage

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Movies: The Notebook

My husband and I watched The Notebook last night. (Yeah, I know, we are way behind the times.) I enjoyed the movie, loved the characters, and of course I sobbed like the mushy-hearted sentimentalist that I am toward the end of the movie.

WARNING: SPOILER AHEAD, for the three people in the world who are lamer than I am on keeping up with movies.

But at the end of the movie, when the sweet old forever-in-love couple die in each other's arms rather than face life alone...I wasn't crying. Actually it kinda torqued me off. The message is that "I am not complete without you" (gag) and "life isn't worth living without you" (more gagging). Why is it that we, the American movie-going public, think it's so romantic and cool and heroic to die rather go on living without a lover? What about the large family that this couple left behind, now having to deal with the simultaneous loss of both parents, rather than just the death of one? The old couple clearly chose that moment to die together, and I really think that's rather a cruel thing to do to one's children and grandchildren.

I also had some issues with the infidelity of the character of Allie. Sure, she wasn't married to the guy she cheated on, just engaged to be married and with a big fancy wedding all planned. But that doesn't make it cheating any less. I also find it interesting to think that, if the characters were reversed and it had been a man cheating on his suffering fiance...well then the outcome of the movie would have been entirely different, because men who cheat in movies are assumed to be inherently jerks, whereas women who cheat are assumed to be just confused and indecisive. Overall, I have to say, I don't like the romanticizing of infidelity; it's a bad value to be putting out there.

So, I liked the movie, but it's definitely not going on my very short list of "movies that illustrate important truths about marriage."

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