DKC and I watched Parenthood last night, a movie that came out when I was 11, and which I remember thinking “maybe I’ll watch that when I’m an actual parent” at the time it came out. It just wasn’t interesting to me back then, but I recognized that it might be interesting later on.
So was it?
Well, yes. But I’ll throw some disclaimers in there after I get done saying what I liked about it. The movie felt fairly real. As in, the characters all had flaws, and they were believable flaws. They made mistakes. They were consistent in the mistakes they made and how they dealt with them. Of course, they made so many mistakes, that at times it pushed the suspension of disbelief, but for the most part, it felt like condensed version of the many facets of parenthood. Ron Howard (the director) did a good job with it, and the cast was good, as well.
What didn’t I like? The fact that it seemed to have a “cheesy” button that it liked to jam down repeatedly. It was just too schmalzy at times, and that got a bit old after a while. Don’t get me wrong–the film was plenty funny, and had a lot that was just cheese. But there was enough cheese in it to keep distracting me.
If you’re easily offended, the movie might not be for you. Like I said, the characters make all manner of bad choices throughout the film. Choices everyday people might well make. (In fact, according to IMDB, the movie’s based on the real life experiences of a number of the film’s creators–something I readily believe. Cramming all those real life experiences just makes the film feel too full (and therefore unrealistic) at times.)
Long story short: three stars. But a highly recommended three star film, if you’re interested in thinking about parenthood.
One concept particularly stood out to me. It’s based on the following exchange:
Grandma: You know, when I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster.
Grandma: Up, down, up, down. Oh, what a ride!
Gil: What a great story. (sarcastically)
Grandma: I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn’t like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.
At times, I wish I were on a merry go round. At other times, I wish I were on a roller coaster. My life seems to teeter back and forth between which one I want. When everything’s falling apart, that merry go round seems awfully appealing. When everything’s dull, I’m up for some excitement.
When all’s said and done, I think I prefer the roller coaster.
How about you?