Tuesday, February 17, 2009

He's Just Not that Into You

So, I attended the movies with my mother this weekend, and watched "He's Just Not That Into You." It was, to say the least, an entertaining movie. Funny at some moments, emotional at others. I would lump it into a category with Sex and the City. In fact, the author of the book was a writer for the show Sex and the City, and developed the story out of a line in one of the episodes.

All in all, it was a very interesting movie. Not quite as fluffy as, say, "You've Got Mail" or "Sleepless in Seattle." More along the lines of Devil Wears Prada or, as I said above, Sex and the City. Definitely a genre I go to when I want to be entertained without having to think too hard, although these movies usually cause me to consider some interesting constructs within the society it represents.

For example, He's Just Not That Into You focuses very heavily on heterosexual relationships, with little consideration for homosexual relationships of any kind. In fact, what little representation of homosexual relationships exist in the movie is used as comedic relief, reducing sexual interest to 3 seconds or more of eye contact, while less than 3 seconds indicates a lack of sexual interest.

Furthermore, I don't really like the way women are represented in the film. I mean, yes, I do think the very underlying point of the movie is actually true. It opens with a young girl playing in a sandbox, and a little boy comes over and kicks her sand castle, saying mean things to her, such as she is "made entirely of poop," or something very comparable to that. The young girl's mother explains to her that the boy did this because he likes her, and doesn't know how else to show it. Thus, girls are taught from a very young age that when a guy treats you like shit, it's because he's interested. As we grow older, our girl friends give us excuses for the bad behavior on the point of males, explaining it in a million ways that don't indicate a lack of his interest, but rather his inability to commit, the fact that he clearly feels intimidated by you, etc. I agree that this is a lie fed to most young women, and that we would all be served better if we realized that men who treat us badly aren't worth are time, whether they are just that into us or not. Of course, the focus of the movie is not to not waste time on men who are jerks, but rather men who are just not that into you. So that you can spend more time finding the man who is just that into you.

Now, being that I actually am in a committed, loving relationship, I am not going to poo poo on the concept of love. However, the idea of needing to find a man to be happy and complete is exactly why women settle for men who treat them as less than the best. Furthermore, the representation of women, particularly Ginnifer Goodwin's character, is appalling. She just waits by the phone, calling the man she wishes were calling her, leaving bumbling, rambling messages on his voicemail. Her life it completely defined by trying out multiple dates, desperate for someone, anyone to call her back. Her eventual love interest hits the nail on the head, accusing her of waiting by the phone, anxious for the man to call, even though the date was mediocre at it's very best. Jennifer Anniston's character is upset that her boyfriend of 7 years won't get married because he doesn't believe in marriage, even though they are committed to one another in every other way. Though she breaks up with him, after a family tragedy, she realizes her relationship with him unmarried is more equal and loving than the marriages of each of her sisters, and is willing to live with him without getting married for the rest of her life. This would be a wonderful ending, and a strong statement on the social construction of marriage, except of course, the boyfriend decides to make her happy by marrying her anyway. Jennifer Connolly's character decides to put up with her husband's cheating, although she shouldn't. However, she does snap, kick him out, and ask for a divorce after discovering that he repeatedly lied about quitting smoking. Fair enough, I suppose.

The whole movie is full of stories like this. And of course, in the end, everyone finds their perfect love. Well, except for Jennifer Connolly, who simply has to put the pieces of her life back together after leaving her lying, cheating husband. At least she left him.

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