As children our parents read us stories with happy endings; it’s just part of the innocence of childhood and into adulthood we come to expect that big Hollywood ending. The first movie I saw that didn’t go the way I wanted it to was My Best Friend’s Wedding starring Julia Roberts. I was angry that Julia Roberts’ character didn’t end up with her best friend. It was only years later that I began to respect the unhappily ever after and understand the fulfillment that can be achieved from being on your own. I can still be caught by surprise when something doesn’t end in a perfect picture, but then I smile and am thankful because I feel like someone is telling me the truth rather than lying to me.
Pippa Lee looks like the picture perfect suburban housewife and a caring mother of two adult children, but hidden under that façade is a woman struggling to find herself. In The Private Lives of Pippa Lee we’re taken back to Pippa’s impetuous past as she tries to come to terms with her current life. Moving into a retirement community with her much older husband, played by Alan Arkin, she confides in a neighbor’s thirty-five-year-old son, Chris, played by Keanu Reeves, who also feels like he is in a trapped situation. Through their friendship she gets the courage to hope for something more than just her inevitable mid-life breakdown.
In the novel The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano we meet Alice and Mattia, both damaged in their own way, who have a connection to one another. Alice is damaged physically after a childhood ski accident, which in turn leaves her very much scarred in more ways than one. Mattia wants to fit in as young children do. While he attends a birthday party, he leaves his mentally handicapped twin sister alone in a park. When Mattia returns she is gone and never found. From tragic childhoods that defined them, to their awkward teenage years we travel with these two into adulthood. As we stumble along with their misunderstandings and missed opportunities we find these twin primes paired up only to be separated.
The movie Come Early Morning stars Ashley Judd as the haunting and beautiful Lucy Fowler. Lucy is stuck in a rut and doesn’t know how to make the changes it will take to pick up the frayed edges of her relationships and mend them. Working hard for a construction firm by day and pounding drinks by night she rarely lets a man keep her bed warm for long until she meets Cal Percell, played by Jeffrey Donovon. Cal makes her confront her demons and ask herself if she is worthy of love. Lucy believes she is not only unworthy, but incapable. Lucy can only move ahead when she thinks she has lost everything, but really she’s gained herself.