Monday, October 5, 2009

Children are People

Movies about families that stay in theatres for more than a couple of weeks usually do so because they shed different and more compelling light on child-parent relationships. Such is certainly true of the film "My One and Only" with Academy Award-winning actress Renee Zellweger.

In a period piece set in the 1950s, Ms. Zellweger plays an engaging but self-centered mother who is forced to put her and her two teenage sons' lives back together after a philandering husband goes too far. She takes her sons out of the prep schools she realizes they have been going to, loads them into a car they can barely drive, and sets off on a cross country journey to find a new life and a new husband.

During the trip she is forced to face the reality of her relationship with a son she loves dearly but hardly even knows. In one of the finest scenes in the film, the son confronts her egocentricity by asking her such questions as does she know his favorite color. Unable to respond with anything other than random guesses, she begins to realize she has done little to get outside of her own needs and wants to find out what sort of a person her son is.

An almost tragic and certainly poignant realization is this -- a realization that resonates with all too many other parents and teenagers.

Bravo to the film makers for bringing such painful truths to the screen. Caution to my fellow parents who do not allow the people who are our children to be the people they are.

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