Apparently, it seems that one of my children have made off with one of my writing notebooks in which I took notes for this morning’s writing. Now I have to rely on my memory sans the notes. Look, this has been brewing in me since Sunday morning! (Oh, that was only yesterday!) At the risk of forgetting any more than I’ve forgotten already, I better quickly get in the flow.
I watched Every Day, an independent film starring Liev Schreiber and Helen Hunt, on Saturday, with hubby dearest, and it raised some good discussion. This film was beautifully done as it took the viewer into the personal aspects of this family’s life. Liev plays Ned, a husband of nineteen years, a father, worker, son-in-law, while Helen plays Jeanne, his wife, a daughter, mother, and worker. Ned is going through a mid-life crisis of sorts: he seems less than satisfied with his gig; he’s still making sense of how to best protect his fifteen year old son, who opened up to the family as a young gay man six months prior; his marriage already appears strained; and to top it all off, his bitter father-in-law (played by Brian Dennehy), who is ill has just moved in to live with them. Oh happy day! Amidst all the hoopla, Ned has an affair with a co-worker during a “creative” session for his job, in which they are under the directive to concoct material that’s sensational enough (ie., vulgar, raunchy, over-the-top bizarre, sex-laden, out-there) enough for film. Juicy? Well… not really.
This film’s approach at showcasing a family’s every day struggle to just keep it together, as they confront real issues that are a far cry from trivial or mundane, was rather tempered. None of the subplots took precedence over the other, nor were they themselves sensationalized. At the end of the day, this family loved each other. It wasn’t implied. They were actively engaged in loving their children. Despite the hardship of this particular stage of their lives – caring for aging family members, a teenager coming of self, parents feeling less than satisfied with their careers and sense of living out purpose – they’ve managed to raise two compassionate sons whom they love dearly. In an instance when Jeannie’s dad (I didn’t get his screen name) launches fierce criticism at her youngest son for not playing the violin quite right, Jeannie interjects like a Mama lion to emphasize that he’s only playing for enjoyment. Clearly hurt, the boy walks away with a look of puzzlement and irritation which probably only I interpreted as “you know what, you’re a blankety-hole, but I’m going to let you slide because your blank is sick”; nonetheless, he demonstrates compassion toward his old grandfather, who insists on not dying alone. Ultimately, the grandfather does die, shortly after this same grandson comes in to hold his hand while he takes his last breath.
Ned and Jeannie truly need each other like they’ve never before, but Jeannie, admittedly, isn’t quite available. The responsibility of getting her father the care that he needs, including staying on top of the seventeen prescriptions that he’s required to take, rests squarely on her shoulders, and it is has clearly taken a toll on her life, let alone her sex life. I don’t believe that Ned went looking for an affair, but it sure didn’t take much cajoling! After all, he was love-starved, and definitely unattended in the intimate department, given his wife’s recent role as caretaker of critical, bitter dad. I feel for the two of them. Clearly, they need reassurance from each other. It’s obvious that they love and need each other…however, the subplots of their life have taken center stage.
My husband and I asked the question of whether Ned should let Jeannie in on his little affair, and believe it or not, our answers surprised even us! Perhaps, this was Richard Levine’s goal in writing this film, which is based largely on his own life. Every Day forced us to be nonjudgmental in areas where we thought we had answers. We believe in truth and honesty, but agree that there is no right time to unveil this particular truth, given the new circumstance of the father-in-law’s death. I can take that, but I do believe that they should not waste too much time to address the elephant in the room – that is, non-intimacy – before it takes them down this road again. After all, we know nothing about what similar fate might befall Ned, should he have to care for his own father. You know what they say about women as we come of age. Ha!!