“We are all fools in love”
— Jane Austen
Harry met Sally. Monica married Chandler. Cary Grant finally took Grace Kelly into his arms and outside: fireworks! Inside the curtains flutter and that’s when mothers hit the fast forward button or push the kids out of the living room until she says “Okay, it’s over.” Oh those Thornbirds and the naughty Father de Bricassart. Finally, a film written to go beyond the meticulous tension build to the crescendo’d self-indulgent …make-out scene. I knew there had to be more afterglow post curtain-flutter.
This film banks on the much debated thesis that soul mates exist and must be continually fought for. It is also about choosing wise counselors.
A good mentor is hard to find, and over and over I wondered why no one was listening and speaking into the life of the babysitter who finally takes her cues from the school slut? In awkward parallel, Steve Carell‘s frumpy but faithful leading man allows sexy, sarcastic Gosling (from Notebook to notable) to show him the ropes. And by ropes I mean game-playing, pretending to listen by asking questions that make it look like he cares, blatantly objectifying women, and finally wooing young women to his bed. Gosling wants to help him regain his manliness, but all he makes in this carbon copy attempt is another lonely man. Sex is not a healer. It doesn’t solve the problem. Rather, it sets the house on fire, burning up a marriage when played with outside of the context of loyalty and faithfulness.
Ironically, Gosling’s character is always hungry. Ryan Gosling is a smart actor. He knows to give his characters an outward manifestation of his inward truth, which he finally speaks to Emma Stone in confidence. He’s been trying to buy away his loneliness and emptiness, but can’t . Meaningless sex can’t even fill the void. Shocker.
“My dad’s the better man, and he’s going to win.” Before the too-long 2nd act montage showing easy women on the heels of both men, I wanted to claim this film. I’d love to write something this funny and serious at the same time. The first hour is truly brilliant – every character says what he or she means with true intention, even tossing the “L” word about freely like a frisbee to a waiting dog.
All in all, this film proves to be as hilarious and heartbreaking as …well, as love itself.