Apr 2, 2012

Riding in cars with boys, 2001

Riding in Cars with Boys, 2001
Director: Penny Marshall
Cast: Drew Barrymore, Steve Zahn, Adam Garcia, Brittany Murphy

Home TV selection, late Sunday night.

Riding in short: Seriocomic story based on the memoir by Beverly Donofrio, the movie follows a young woman who finds her life radically altered by an event from her teen years. Born in 1950, Beverly grew up bright and ambitious in a working-class neighborhood in Connecticut; her father was a tough but good-hearted cop who listened to his daughter's problems, and her mother was a nervous woman eager to imagine the worst. From an early age, Beverly displays a keen intelligence and an interest in literature, and dreams of going to college in New York and becoming a writer. However, she also develops an early interest in boys, and at 15 finds herself madly in love with a boy from her high school. However, an attempt to get his attention leads to an embarassing incident at a party, and Ray, a sweet but thick-headed 18-year-old, steps forward to defend her. Beverly and Ray end up making out, and after one thing leads to another...

Preps: Hm. Drew Barrymore, Brittany Murphy. I am interested. Plus, seeing the trailer, kinda draggs my attention. I would like to see someone in a role of a "single mum", making on her own.

Reality: Well, the movie has a strong message. Don't get pregnant at 15 if you don't have any means to support your family. It happens to two best friends, each one with a different background, hence, different Chances to succeed in life. To marry because you are obliged to due to a child seems nonsense, however, in some environments or time, the only thing possible.

I personalize with the movie, because I am a child deriving from the same environment. My two got married because of the pregnancy, disregarding the fact they weren't meant to last (which they knew when they got hitched), anyhow, it ended up in a divorce and me being the only child with a single and very poor mother. Somehow very similar to this storyline, depicted here. In some sense, I believe people with a similar story, will find this one to be extremely deep and filled with emotions, without any possible escape to live up her dreams, as Drew Barrymore (Beverly) so intensively wants to. The difference is that having a child and making a decision when you are 15 (when you almost completely depend on the parents) is one thing. My mother in this case was fully adult and way beyond 18 when this happened. The point is, that no matter when it happens, it's never a walk in the park, if you don't have the financial backup and are a single mother (or father for that matter).

In some sense, the movie wouldn't be as emotional if the roles were given to a single father. I believe the target audience for this piece to be women, beyond 30, possibly with a child. So you can easily interact and depict yourself in the same situation.
I must confess I wanted to stop watching the movie after 20 minutes. It didn't have any energy, I thought the dialogues were awful. As if the movie was from 1980, not 2000. The characters were lame, Drew or Murphy were awful. I thought this would be a painful experience, I hated the scenes, found the words outspoken, stupid as hell.
Then something changed. When the couple decides to have a baby despite the youth and get married, I am suddenly interested, whether they would make it and how the flow is going to continue. Hence, I didn't stop watching, and was deeply rewarded for this. The movie directly reminded me of my deceased mother and was indeed painful, however in true dramatic sense. I was amazed by the way this mother and her child handled everyday truth and challenges, and how one or another made everything revolve around them, disregarding the world around. As I saw the wreck that the father became, it also reminded me on my own situation and my own feelings when I was just in my early twenties.

In any case, for me the piece brought some interactions with my history and therefore I liked it. I wouldn't disregard my first feeling about it. I think most of the audience, that cannot connect on this level, won't find it attractive enough to watch it to its end.

My personal rating: 7,0
(The movie was something personal to me, as I could personalize with the characters, the situation and I could see my mum carrying the same burden for my complete childhood)

Riding in cars with boys on IMDB

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