Spoiled Children of Divorce


“Please Give”

Movie time.  I saw some really interesting female Children of Divorce characters in an indie movie this week-end.  The movie is called Please Give.  The plot centers around a New York family of fairly contented well-adjusted people who still manage to crack good jokes.  It actually seems to be a movie about people to whom nothing ever happens.  The Children of D are part of a side story.  They are the ones who the family watches and says, “At least we don’t have it that bad.”

The couple is played by Catherine Keener and I’m sorry I don’t know the Actors’ name who played the husband . I don’t know the names of any of the other actors, basically, the whole cast is great and Keener was the reason why I went to see the movie.  At any rate, Keener and her Husband are sort of hitting midlife and are trying to figure out where to go from now.  Keener’s having some ethics problems from working as a “Dealer.”  Her husband is having some problems with why he doesn’t have a problem with the ethics problem.  They own a business, a home, have a daughter, have built their lives well and now are ready to make some mistakes in order to open their hearts once again. Throughout the movie the characters struggle with the ideas of give and take in what is generally pretty funny New Yorker openness. In the end they learn some valuable lessons and make some great changes in their outlooks.

But, basically, the movie would be really dopey without the additional drama from “the catastrophic family” who exists on the sideline. These are the neighbors in the apartment next door.

The “catastrophic family” is basically a shell of what’s left over from a nuclear family.  The parent generation is gone and the Grandparent and Children are left.  The “couple to whom nothing ever happens” has bought an apartment from the Grandmother of the Catastrophic Family next door.  The old woman is really mean and really old and everybody is basically waiting for her to die.  The couple plans to renovate and expand their apartment into hers which is a cold-blooded thing to be lording over your next door neighbor.

The two granddaughters take care of the Grandmother.  These are the Children of Divorce characters.  They are two sisters in their 20s or early 30s.  Warning: I’m putting in some spoilers here but am not giving the ending.  The girls’ Father abandonned the family long ago.  The Mother committed suicide when the oldest daughter was 20 and the youngest daughter was 15.  It’s very clear to everyone in the story why the Mother committed suicide after watching the Grandmother complain and insult people. It’s not real clear why the younger daughter takes such good care of her aside from the fact that there must still be some angels living in Manhattan.  Go figure.  Oh yeah, and the big “D”?  It’s never mentioned.  That’s right, the word “Divorce” never comes up.  The Father has abandoned the family.  The Mother commits suicide and the reason that’s discussed in her bad Mommy situation.  If “D” were mentioned, there would have been no funding.  Divorced parents and even kids aren’t going to pay good money to see that crap.  (So negative.)

The two daughters live together in a cruddy apartment and bicker about how to cook food in the microwave.  Both work in girly caretaker vocations.  They are probably Community College educated.  At the beginning of the movie they are both single.  The oldest has just been dumped.  The youngest seems fated to become an old spinster.  Otherwise, they seem trapped in the cocoon of a childhood which was taken away from them bit by bit.

The youngest is a Medical Tech who takes Mammograms all day.  That seems to be a great metaphor for the fact that she is extremely loving and caring and visits her Bitchy Grandmother almost every day after work without complaining.  Through her depressing work she seems to be facing her Mother’s death everyday and has no interest in going out to view the changing autumn leaves the way everyone else in the city seems to.  Beauty?  What Beauty?

The oldest daughter gives facials in a salon.  She’s a Bitch but everyone seems to like her because she is pretty.  She maintains a very phoney looking tan.  She can’t stand her Grandmother, stays away from her and argues very coldly with her meanness. Because of that resistance she seems to be in danger of becoming just like the old woman.

In the end, the Grandmother dies, and the two families sort of merge emotionally through a couple of moments of true giving.  All the Characters enjoy the best possible ending and that’s all that really matters to me these days.

~The End~


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