Couples aren’t the future. You gotta have back up.
– Marcus in About a Boy.
I’ve never really liked Hugh Grant. I liked him even less when he cheated on the hotness that is Elizabeth Hurley. I didn’t enjoy Notting Hill. I really enjoyed him getting punched by Colin Firth in Bridget Jones’ Diary. Overall, I never saw the sex appeal. I thought he was a pasty, unattractive Brit, the same way I’m sure Englishmen consider Vin Desiel a real American neanderthal.
So when About a Boywas released 6 years ago, I had no interest. I was too busy watching 8 Mile, Bowling for Columbine and 28 Days Later. I was at Film School and “oh so hip.”
Being a Pisces, I’m going to romanticise a little bit. I’m going to vault into the whole “magic of movies” schpeel, because it was my sad, simplistic truth. I left Durango, Colorado, a wide-eyed, Titanic-loving, child-of-the-Fantasy-Movie-80’s to be 100% engrossed in the magic of movies. I moved to Boston and attended one of the most competitive film schools in the country; a school that did its best to turn the innocent dreamer into a well-oiled machine.
The beauty of movies remains in the story. The longer you live, the more stories you can share, relate and empathize with. Books can be read over and over again, and each time the meaning changes a little. What you experience in life constantly adds flavor and insight to the ideas, messages and stories you absorb.
This is why I was able to return to the movie About a Boy with renewed interest, despite my blase feelings about its star. Since becoming a single mom, I’m obsessed with seeing how we are presented to the world. What jokes are made about us? What do we look like on film? Are we good parents or bad? Are we heros or villains?
Hugh Grant’s sums up his first date with a single mom by saying, “How come nobody told me about them!?”Of course, he plays a scheming, lackadaisical fashion statement who lazes around the house and spends his daddy’s money, so the audience isn’t meant to take him very seriously. But the single mom in me squealed with delight as he professed his new-found obsession with passionate, sexy, amazing single moms.
After being bitting with the single mom bug, Hugh attends a single parent support group (to pick up women), and after hearing all their sob stories, he professes:
I’ll tell you one thing. Men are bastards. After about ten minutes I wanted to cut my own penis off with a kitchen knife.
Yeah. Me= Dying with laughter at this point. All faith in Hugh Grant restored.
He says dating a single mom is so awesome because compared to the man who abandoned her and her child, he’s like Hercules. I bristled a little bit at the “plenty of ego-stroking” comment, but maybe there was some truth behind it. If I were dating a man who did so much as open a door for me, I probably would faint. I haven’t even been touched by a man in 6 months. Who knows what kind of spastic reaction I might have at the slightest hint of kindness.
Another great line that’s shot right out of single mom reality is during the scene where two sons of dating single parents are discussing the impending relationship.
The main character, Marcus, says to the other boy, “I think your mom is really keen on my dad.” To which the other boy screams in fury, “She’s NOT keen on him! She’s only keen on ME!”
The overall debate in About a Boyis Hugh’s rejection of the quote “No man is an Island” because he is “F***ing Ibiza!” His unexpected involvement in the single parent world constantly tests and ultimately disproves his philosophy.
Even though the characters in this single parent world are broken, akward, lonely and confused, they are all united. In the final scene, the following people all spend Christmas together:
- The single mother of the “boy”
- The boy’s father
- The father’s girlfriend
- The father’s girlfriend’s mother
- The best friend of the single mother
- The best friend’s daughter
- Hugh Grant
- The single mom who is dating Hugh Grant
- The son of the single mom who is dating Hugh Grant
Talk about a glimpse into the single parent world. I think about my daughter’s Thanksgiving experience at her dad’s house, and it must have looked something like that. If Rooferman and Blondie were friendly enough, I would have been included, adding yet another degree of separation/inclusion.
The point of the movie, as quoted at the top of my post, is that families are changing. They don’t just consist of a mom and a dad and 2.5 children anymore. Hugh Grant confesses that being a part of that random group of people, he felt happy. For the first time he preferred being with people instead of alone on “his island.”
Yeah there were some cringe-worthy Hugh Grant moments in this movie, but for the most part, I really enjoyed the laughs, the honesty and the warm-fuzzy feelings it gave me. Plus its a Christmas movie, so now is a perfect time of year to watch it.
Add it to your Netflix and tell me what you think. As single moms, did you like it? Do you think it was honest?