5 Movies on the Family

5 Movies on the Family

Review of “The Vow” (Michael Sucsy, 2012)

Eternal love: that which a man and woman promise when they become husband and wife. That is, a promise to love one another all the days of their life, in good and bad, in sickness and health.

What becomes of a marriage, however, if one of the spouses forgets to have made that vow? Or, if one of the two no longer is capable of recognizing the face of the other person?

“The Vow”, 2012 film based on a true story and directed by Michael Sucsy, is about a newly married couple, passionately in love, but who become victims of a bad car accident. While he emerges practically unscathed, the girl loses her memory due to the strong impact. In consequence, and to his great distress, she forgets everything about her marriage.

The husband reveals then an unconditional love for his wife. With sweetness and great patience, helping his wife in all, he accepts her “absence” long term, and in this way honoring those promises she had forgotten, but that he nevertheless kept within himself.

Beyond simply accepting the difficulty linked to his wife’s memory loss, however, he tries in every way to reawaken in her the memory of their love, and to bring back to life their relationship.

It’s a touching film. While at times quite funny, it’s really a film that can help one to reflect on the significance of marriage. The love represented, in fact, goes beyond happiness related to time and circumstance, of being well together, of harmony, of constant agreement between the two. It is an authentic love. It’s a love without ifs and buts, a humble, patient love, capable of great sacrifice and able to survive great suffering. It is a love that knows how to accept death in order to be reborn.

Review of the “Incredibles” (Brad Bird, 2004)

Do you have to be superheroes to bring up a family in this world?

Perhaps no, but there is certainly an indispensable super power needed: the capacity to remain united in the moment of trial. The Incredibles – a normal family of superheroes - is a 2004 Disney action film, directed by Brad Bird, which tells the story of a family in which all members have particular powers, beginning with Dad and Mom, extending even to the youngest child, who don’t even know how to speak yet.

Husband, wife and three kids, habituated to living in hiding, find themselves needing to utilize upon their unique powers to save the city, and themselves, from great danger. As they fight great evil, however, they discover that the greatest and most precious “powers” to possess are the capacity to encounter one another, to compensate for the shortcomings of others, to communicate and forgive one another.

It is an entertaining and engaging animated film, enjoyed by and appropriate for both young and old. It shows how to grow closer as a family, rather than grow apart, despite difficulties encountered either within the family unit or arising from external circumstances.

Review of a “Walk to Remember” (Adam Shankman, 2002)

Many who face evil stop believing in God and in miracles. Why, in fact, – one naturally asks– if God exists and truly loves man, does He not heal all the sick, above all the young with a full life ahead?

This question however should lead to another: is healing the only possible miracle?

“Walk to Remember”, a 2002 film based on the novel by author Nicholas Sparks and directed by Adam Shankman, presents a great miracle, although not a healing. It was a miracle of love born from pain and to which it gives sense. It’s a love that redeems and helps men overcome desperation, mediocrity and nonsense.

The protagonists of the story are a boy and a girl. He is initially hostile, but then, meeting her, he is captivated by her way of life: simple, authentic, genuine.

Initially becoming friends, they fall deeply in love.

Yet, they find themselves facing a great challenge: her grave sickness, that threatens their dream of a future together. Despite that, the two decide to marry, to live fully for all that remains.

In an age which awaits all to be “perfect” before entering marriage, and which runs away from pain rather than affronting it, someone could ask what sense there is in marrying when one’s time is so limited, and most likely when that time will be marked by pain. This film helps, however, to consider the fact that it is not the time left to us that is important, or wellbeing possessed, but rather the love that is given in time and that is given to us.

Review of “Brave” (Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman, 2012)

Pride, misunderstanding, dishonesty, closure, and imposition of one’s own desires: these are only some of the obstacles that impede family happiness. They are the problems dealt with in the Disney animation Brave, a 2012 film directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman.

The story, set in V century Scotland, shows that the relation between Mother and daughter can be wounded by the incapacity to encounter and understand one another’s point of view. A free spirited teenager, Merida refuses the rules that her Mother, the Queen Elinor, tries to impose.

Crucial is the fight between the two over the decision pertaining to Merida’s future spouse. The latter, in fact, has no intention to accept a suitor from court, as was the tradition.

Following the fight with her Mother, Merida asks a ditzy witch for a spell to make her mother change. Accidentally, the sorceress turns the Queen into a bear. Given that no spell seems able to resolve the problem, penitent, the princess Merida tries everything to bring her mother to her former state.

Visiting more, constrained to find a solution together, mother and daughter cultivate a relationship. They learn that in order to truly know and understand one another it is worth the effort to find points of common ground.

From the film emerges the reality that to change, to improve, to recover relationships requires a tiring and taxing journey. No spell can and must change someone, as well as no spell can damage snags caused by pride.

Review “I Don’t Know How She Does It” ( Douglas McGrath , 2011)

Reconciling work and family: this is the problem and obstacle for many women with careers that love their work but do not want to neglect husband and kids.

It is also the big “drama” of Kate, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, in the 2011 comedy I don’t Know How She Does It?, a film directed by Douglas McGrath. Although aware that her husband and kids need her, and even desirous to be present to her family, the protagonist, overwhelmed by her work, neglects her loved ones and thus misses crucial moments of their life.

Frustrated by a sense of helplessness, and pressured by her bosses to place work above affection, Kate has to forcefully and decisively take her life in her own hands.

Touching and symbolic is the moment that, seeing it has begun to snow, she leaves everything upon remembering her promise to her daughter to build a snowmen together.

The film, although dramatizing a little the situation, nevertheless shows the consequences of a life lived in slavery to work. The basic underlying message is that work must be a means, not an end, above all if there is someone at home to love.