Let me just start by saying that I usually enjoy covers of songs, but this version of “Young Americans” in the beginning of the movie is a desecration! David Bowie is turning over in his grave. Ok, now that I’ve got that off my chest…at the heart of this movie, is how these characters each mess up how they “do” life; until they rediscover each other and find love. There’s Sasha’s inability to stop continually striving in her career and enjoy life a little. For Marcus, he’s paralyzed and can’t even get started. For both, these seem like different responses to grief. His from the death of his mom when he was a teen. Hers from the rejection and abandonment she felt from her parents throughout her childhood. She’s fiercely independent because she has never felt cared for deeply by her parents. Makes her prickly and avoidant. His unresolved grief and maybe overdependence on his mom to take care of him, makes him melancholy and stuck. They are both miserable in their own ways and I guess misery loves company! It definitely brought these two together.
Interesting angle that love brings creativity and motivation to both to become more authentically themselves. That’s the true power of love – when you bring out the best in each other and help each other to grow from the stable foundation of a loving relationship. In this situation, it led Sasha to slow down and pursue the type of restaurant she really wanted. Heartwarming that it was also a tribute to Marcus’ mom, who nurtured her more than her own parents ever did. And Sasha’s love and encouragement led Marcus to step out of his rut, allow himself to be vulnerable and pursue his real passion for music. He was able to let go of his fear of the possibility of success. Love obviously makes these two better people.
Unfortunately, there was an appalling lack of chemistry between the costars that was a bit of a distraction. It was hard to ever believe they belonged together. Most of the time they just appeared painfully uncomfortable in each other’s presence. Look at how much more alive, enthusiastic and vibrant Sasha was when talking about Keanu vs any time in the movie talking about Marcus. Is the message here that true love doesn’t involve great sex and being hot for each other? That’s a shitty message! The Keanu cameo was a much-needed diversion from the misery of the 2 leads.
I enjoyed the scene that demonstrated how her parents’ way to show love was to pay full price in her restaurant. This represented a real departure from their relentless bargain hunting ways and spoke to her finally feeling valued by them. I like this idea that love comes in various guises and we all show it and feel it a little differently. This action was clearly meaningful to Sasha and her parents recognized that. Good for them to see it and do it it and for her to acknowledge it for what it was – an act of love. We could all learn from that example.