movies, single mom

Noteworthy Single Mom Character #3

When I did my stint in Hollywood, I was 21 and about as stupid as the next club kid. From my apartment complex, you could see the searchlights criss-crossing the night sky on premiere night. Under the Tuscan Sun opened at Disney’s El Capitan theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, so we all got drunk and went downtown to go clubbing and stalk Diane Lane.

Unfortunately, you needed an armed gaurd to approach the red carpet, and we were too blitzed to deal with the crowds, so we went to increase our intoxication and bump and grind with the local trendsetters.

Watching Under The Tuscan Sun, now 5 years later, I can appreciate the movie itself, instead of clinging to those memories of Hollywood; a place that would have swallowed me whole had I stayed any longer. A movie-obsessed, club-obsessed, drunken addict does not belong in Hollywood, just the way a compulsive gambler does not belong in Vegas. I was way too eager to experience the celebrity lifestyle. I don’t know if I would have survived it.

I relate to this movie for two reasons: 1. Diane Lane’s statement “How are you supposed to survive someone saying, ‘I never loved you’ ? That should kill you, right there.” 2. Sandra Oh’s role as a single mom.

Both women play characters who are attempting to survive heartbreak. Diane Lane’s husband left her to start a family with a younger woman (hmm, yeah, I can relate to that). Sandra Oh plays a pregnant lesbian who is consquently ditched by her partner, who realized she “just wasn’t ready to be a mother after all.”

Ouch. Been there (except my partner was a man).

Sandra Oh’s part in Under the Tuscan Sun is very small, mostly there for comic relief, and to fulfill Diane Lane’s dream of “having a family” in her house. But that statement alone make the movie worthwhile. That a single mom and her daughter are recognized as a family; not a broken family, not half of a family, not a dysfunction family, but just a plain old family.

The love theme in the film is pretty obvious (being a chick flick and all). Its about surviving love, finding love, defining love, recognizing love, protecting love and falling in love. Both characters survive their pasts. Diane Lane finds her hot Italian love affair, only to realize her definition of love still continues to hurt and hinder her own self-worth. At one point, she takes on the role of a single mom, declaring herself “family” to a young man who is desperate to get the blessing of his True Love’s parents.

Sandra Oh falls in love with her daughter, exemplified in a scene where she dances around the courtyard, cooing to her baby in utter joy. Diane Lane calls out to her, but she is enrapt in oblivious mommyhood. Its in that moment that Diane Lane realizes her friend no longer needs to be comforted through her grief. The joy of being a parent outweighs the pain of love lost, even if our transformations aren’t as instantaneous as crying in one scene and dancing around a courtyard with our babies in the next.

The underlying message of the estrogen-infused Under The Tuscan Sunis “life goes on” (oh blah dee, oh blah da..), which is a good mantra for anyone who’s been through pain, misery and heartbreak. Plus what single mom/divorce’ doesn’t enjoy watching a shirtless Italian say “I’m going to make love all over you.”

Sometimes you just need a movie like that, especially when you haven’t had sex in 6 months.

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13 thoughts on “Noteworthy Single Mom Character #3”

  1. That movie has always stayed with me – particularly the line about how divorce doesn’t kill you.
    I’m so bummed I didn’t know you during your Hollywood days. Then again, I was already a single mom by this time so we wouldn’t have run in the same crowds.

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  2. I love this movie! I recently bought it and watch it when I am in need for a good cry. I watched it before Bug, and after, and it definitely hit me differently than the former. This movie is close to my heart because I took a trip to Italy through my college’s photography department. I went to the small city of Cortona where they filmed this movie (the tour guide told us) I like watching this movie for all the reasons you mentioned as well as reminiscing about a trip that changed my life. This post was beautiful, thank you!

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  3. Sounds like a really cool chick flick! I actually havent seen any of the movies you mentioned!

    Kids are at their dad this weekend so I may just have a single mom movie fest!

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  4. I’ve never seen this movie either! I’ll have to pick it up soon. It sounds great.

    And no, my sister doesn’t actually have 29 kids. Between her and her fiance they have 6. I just think after 3, it may as well be 29! lol

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  5. LOL….Shirley Valentine is the movie that does that for me…it reminds me that once upon a time I lost myself for a while, I had to take a jopurney of self in order to find ‘me’ again and once I found myself, I liked who I was/am and will never change that for a man again…

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  6. Hey Hanna, this is my first time visiting your blog and thanks for visiting mine!

    I too loved this movie, because of the theme of following your intuition even when it’s scary. I couldn’t get as much into the book, perhaps because in the book the main character is not going through a divorce. I liked the way the story unfolded onscreen better 🙂

    Leah from iHeart

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  7. I love that movie…have it on DVD…watched it many many times…I was a single mom for like 7 years…it is hard..specially when dealing with an a** for an ex…my is not remarried and I am not sure if he will ever get remarried…and frankly I do not care…He is in and out of my kids lives..he sees them like 2 times a year…my new husband is their father now!..it took a long time to to meet him, it was a long road of tears, freak outs, boyfriends, living dirt poor and wondering what was wrong with me till I figured out who I was and what I wanted out of life…and it also took getting a computer so I can met my hubby online…lol… being a single mom can be tough…but it is not impossible…life does go on…it may hurt at times…but without the hurt…we could never figure out what we want…does that make sense? lol…love your blog! 🙂

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  8. Just checkin’ in and catching up — I know I’m late on this comment but had to tell you how much this movie means to me.

    I was 8 months pregnant, MP’s dad was completely absent, and I had just purchased my first TINY house. I was scared out of my mind. My best friend Tea spent that first night with me in my strange new surroundings, bringing with her a housewarming gift — this movie. We’d seen it together in the theater, and now it just FIT my current situation.

    I LOVE losing myself in movies like this, especially ones with happy endings.

    🙂

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