by Stella MacLean

Movies are a wonderful form of entertainment, and the better ones can often shed light on how we live our lives by holding a mirror up to our perceptions of the world around us.  This movie is essentially a moment of reflection, an exposition of the similarities between being a private individual and being alone. 

Entering the world of the movie we discover from the basic story line that Pippa is a woman who has turned herself into an enigma in order to totally commit herself to the success of her marriage to an older man, a marriage already life support. 

In fact, in the opening scene, her son calls her an enigma, her friend refers to her as a sweet woman and her husband remains out of the conversation.

Running in a parallel universe beneath the surface is the story of a woman who felt invisible and unloved by her mother, and carried those feelings into all her adult relationships including her marriage and her relationships with her friends.

Pippa is clearly her own worst enemy because she can’t stop herself from playing the role of long suffering comforter to an emotionally neutered love object, whether that be a mother, a lover or a friend.  In other words the need to please meets head on with the emotionally indifferent recipient, leading to the inevitable loss of the relationship.

In the final months of her marriage, the relationship becomes one of convenience...for him.  Meanwhile she has a philosophy about marriage.  Marriage is an act of will, not of love.
And so the question becomes this:  Has Pippa, in her bumbling, big-girl-lost approach to life, stumbled upon a fundamental truth about marriage?

Is a long-term adult relationship between a man and a woman more about convenience than about enduring love?

Or has Pippa’s inability to emotionally disconnect from her childhood fundamentally altered who she is and how capable she is of finding true love?

Whatever your conclusions, I think you will agree that Robin Wright, Alan Arkin and Winona Ryder create the kind of emotional dilemma that leads you to consider the possible answers to the question—What does it take to keep true love alive?


  1. Hi Stella,

    Did anyone ever tell you that you'd make a great film critic? I haven't seen the movie, but what an insightful analysis of the essential conflicts in the story. And the question of love vs. convenience has been one that has driven many cultures for centuries. Thanks for a thought-provoking post. As for me, I'll take love any day :)

  2. Hi Pam,
    Thanks for the kind words. Yeah, I'll take love any day as well.

  3. Stella, this sounds like a very intriguing move. I hadn't heard of it before but your analysis makes me want to see it.

  4. Sounds like an interesting movie, Stella! Enjoyed your analysis. Tks!

  5. When it comes to people marrying someone when there's no love involved, I have two things to say to them:

    Room mate.

    Get one.

  6. I love Robin Wright. Great review and definitely a movie I'd like to check out.


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