Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem
Assalam alaikum wr wb and howdy.
There are some movies that just get you. That crawl into your skin and stay there. That touches a nerve. And you keep returning to them over and over again trying to figure out how it works.
I didn’t expect Crazy Stupid Love to be one of them. I expected it to be a star vehicle for Ryan Gosling’s abs.
But it was a surprisingly vulnerable, sweet, non-cynical movie. About, oddly enough, crazy stupid love. I got the product advertised AND I wasn’t disappointed. Score for the Hollywood star machine!
I am personally sick of one-note female characters that are about as deep as a puddle. Many people however fail to realize that, as the foils to their male counterparts, these flimsy characters simultaneously cheapen the male character who romances them.
Now I’ll admit the women in this film didn’t have much to do. This movie failed the Bechdel Test resoundingly (though frankly I have my reservations about that test). They were, as always, the receptacles of male desire and nothing more. We only hear the men’s side of the story and not much else.
But somehow there was a little more at stake here. Cal was Emily’s soul-mate. As Jacob may well be Hannah’s. Call me love-struck, but that’s hugely different. Even if it wasn’t alluded in film time, that gives the impression of a shared history, a shared LIFE. That’s no small thing to share. Even if the women were simply plot devices, in the ‘real’ world, they would have been much more.
Okay, let me get into what I really love about Crazy Stupid Love and leave the complicated stuff aside for now.
- A man was treated like a piece of meat and hated it.
Throughout the movie, the camera lingers lovingly on Ryan Gosling, tracking slowly up to him in a very well-cut suit as he munches on pizza.
I’ve only ever seen that kind of shot used on women.
At one point in the film, Hannah orders Jacob to take off his shirt. Jacob is distinctly uncomfortable; he even asks whether he can put it back on again.
Now he knows what the women feel like.
- The same man was treated like a complete human being and loved it.
Moments after this scene….well, I don’t want to give anything away. There was a strong emotional connection between Jacob and Hannah that moved well beyond the physical. It was so refreshing to see something other than ‘wham, bam, thank you ma’am’ between two people under 30 on screen.
- A man became a womanizer and hated it.
- A man admitted desperate unhappiness.
And it wasn’t an emo support group moment. It was simply a change from being lonely to not. And everything that he’d missed became clear.
- Women recognized what they wanted and went after it.
Both women in the film did precisely what they intended to do. They didn’t doubt their power for a second.
- They later realized they made a huge mistake.
Women are always under pressure to be perfect in every single way. Sometimes what you want isn’t what you need. You find that out in a strange twisted way. Fate’s funny like that.
- Genuine good humor and affection in the war of the sexes.
Where’d the love go? Seriously. I thought we were all in this human boat together. Cal and Emily didn’t treat each other like enemies, even though they didn’t always get along. They were always vulnerable with each others. Tears welled. Voices shook. There were never any secrets between them.
*sigh* Now that’s love.
Godspeed and protection.
The Happy Muslimah.