Friday, May 18, 2012

The Five Year Engagement

Spoiler Alert - I will be talking about themes and instances from the movie.

I just watched The Five Year Engagement with a friend. Overall, I thought I liked it.

But it also hit a little close to home.

In short, the main couple gets engaged, and then while attempting to plan their wedding, decide to move for the woman's "career". She just got a post-doc position in Michigan. So the man is giving up his successful career as a sous chef (he was about to be promoted to head chef) in San Francisco to support his future wife. It's supposed to be for 2 years. But she does well, the get more funding, and it starts looking a bit longer term. And he basically becomes a tragic shadow of himself who is borderline insane. To be fair, she has continually asked him if he's happy, and he's continually denied their move is a problem - but it's clear to everyone that it is. And still they persist. Until finally they break up. After 5 years. In the end, they do get back together. After a bit more drama and soul searching, blah blah blah.

Let's recap my history with Mr. Random. We married, then immediately moved to another state so I could go to graduate school. It was supposed to be for 2 years and then we'd move elsewhere. We're coming up on year 6 here as I opted to continue for my Ph.D. And I've worried a bit that Mr. Random is not happy here. Or has felt limited by my "career". Thankfully, he didn't give up some big career to come here, and he's not gone off the deep end like Jason Segel's character. And we don't keep putting off our life until things are "perfect" (see: Wiggles), but it was little close to home.

And the more I think about the movie, the more I am irked by several themes that cropped up.  There's the implication that a lot of the reason our main heroine has been miserable for the past 5 years is because she (selfishly) wanted a Career.

A counterpoint to the main couple is presented when the post-doc's sister gets knocked up by her fiance's immature "screw up" friend at their engagement party. This couple seems much less responsible, much less educated (he throws out the f-bomb at their quickie wedding!) but we're to believe this couple is much happier. In fact, we're encouraged to believe they are happier because they are less exacting. Less careful. Less responsible. Perhaps, even, because they are less educated.

As an exacting, careful, responsible, and highly educated woman...I find this somewhat offensive. Or at the very least distressing.

I can well believe that one will be happier when they're less exacting and careful. Even less responsible to some degree. And ignorance is bliss, or so they say, so I suppose less education can be helpful as well, in the pursuit of happiness. I'd say I'm more concerned that it seems to be yet another example in "popular culture" that vilifies or otherwise makes less desirable intelligence and education. When did we as a society become so anti-intelligence?

1 comment:

  1. Has there ever been a Hollywood movie about a woman going crazy because she can't pursue the career of her dreams because things keeping happening with her husband's career? Nope. Therein lies the problem. I plan to never see this movie. It's sexist.


About this Blog

I have a journal. You know, the real kind...paper, bound in a book form...nice leather cover. And I do write in it...every few months. I like it, but somehow I find it hard to keep up regularly. I'm at a computer nearly all the time, so I find it easier to keep up on this blog. So, that's what this blog is for. To help me journal when I'm away from my journal. A place to collect my thoughts before I lose them to the chaos of my mind.

Or see my first post here. That's why I started this blog.