Family Movie Night
By Karyn Bowman
For whatever reasons, whenever it rains for days in a row, I am reminded of One Fine Day starring Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney.
Set in New York City on a rainy spring day, the storyline is about two single parents who manage to miss the school field trip on a big day for each of their careers. Melanie blames Jack because she was trying to grab his daughter to take her to school. That made her late. Jack, on the other hand, did not know he was taking care of his daughter for a week until the morning of the field trip. Through the course of the day, they try to figure out what to do to make their meetings, run their work errands, and take care of the kids.
Along the way, each parent develops an appreciation for the other while holding on to their own prejudices and fears. For moments at a time, they let go of those fears to begin the steps of falling in love again. It is filled with wonderful moments of truth telling, happy moments, and fear.
I have no idea why rain makes me think of this movie because for one, I have never been to New York City. But when I watch it, I wonder if you can really get around Manhattan in a taxi. Or if Serendipity is really that good. The film makes me want to take a trip there to see Washington Park and the museums and Carnegie Deli.
While the setting and the music are wonderful side characters, what I really love about this movie are the two leads – Melanie and Jack (Pfeiffer and Clooney, respectively). They portray a certain constant weariness that is always present in parenting. Even when you think you have gotten enough sleep, you have not gotten enough sleep. But they also show that parental love has no limits.
Secondly, these are two people who are a little broken by their relationships that didn’t work out. Each character has trust issues and they wonder if they can trust another person once again. That both are attracted to another person and see the possibility of hope in that person is a huge emotional step. What is even better is that they can admit it openly. How many of us ever want to admit to the soft parts inside our souls.
But, lastly I love some of their arguments that talk about the truth of life. If we like what we like and want things to go that way, are we control freaks or people who know what we like? As parents, especially single parents, keeping everything going means juggling and relying on yourself. Sometimes we have to admit that we are out of options. And sometimes, we have to admit we want the magic of love in our lives.
The movie is now twenty years old and there are some things that are incredibly out dated, such as their cell phones and Jack’s baggy pants. And then there are some things that never grow old, such as Melanie’s suit, how kids behave, or men and women trying to figure out the life/work balance.
This may not be a movie to watch with younger kids because Jack tends to say G-D, a lot. This is more of a movie to watch with girlfriends who can agree or disagree with whatever is happening on the screen.
Bring on the rain just so I can hear the Natalie Merchant take on that classic old song once more.
Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.