Monday, January 14, 2013

"And Then Came Love" Critique


“Successful New York journalist and single mom Julie Davidson's (Vanessa Williams) six-year old son Jake (Jeremy Gumbs) is acting up, so she finds his sperm-donor father Paul Cooper (Kevin Daniels), who's a struggling actor and law-school drop-out. Paul starts hanging out around Jake, and they instantly bond, much more than Jake does with Julie's boyfriend Ted (Kevin Boatman), who's asked her to marry him.

Julie discovers her growing feelings for Paul, who soon becomes Jake's new nanny. Her meddling mom Mona (Eartha Kitt) doesn't help things out by unknowingly revealing to Paul that Jake's father is a "D-O-N-O-R" who went to the same university as him, which pisses Paul off. Julie breaks off her engagement with her boyfriend.

Her book tour takes her to Boston, where Paul has an engagement in a play. First they almost meet, then they do meet, make up, and relationship ensues. Roll credits.” From .

Or “A movie to strike fear in the heart of any aspiring Single Mother by Choice”. My mother and I sat down to watch another movie yesterday morning and didn’t make it 5 minutes in before deciding it was a little more than we wanted to see (ahem!) and looked for something on Direct TV. Encore was having a free weekend and this movie came up on Encore Love. I thought it would be great to watch with my mom since she has not voiced any opposition to my shared thoughts on the future possibility of becoming a single parent. Well, not very far in to the movie I could sense that she has merely been trying to be supportive and actually quite agreed with Mona,. The movie starts out with the son, Jake, and a classmate fighting. Jake makes up a story about his dad being a Yankee (as in baseball, not a Northerner). Busy Julie is called to meet with the teacher. Fist beef- Julie works far more than needed. The teacher suggests medicating Jake to solve his behavior. Julie jumps to the conclusion that such behavior is genetic so it must be the donor’s fault since it can’t be hers. She hires a private investigator to track down the donor. Second beef- this is why they call it anonymous donation. You don’t track the donors down (even if it is possible). She approaches the donor in a bar and discovers that he is an aspiring actor now, not the law student he had been when he donated. Disappointed she leaves abruptly. Now he tracks her down to invite her to his play and meets Jake who takes to him instantly—as does Jake’s nanny. They begin to watch Jake together. Well, they talk and flirt while Jake does his own thing. Somehow this is okay with Julie. Third beef—would you really be okay with your nanny bringing her boyfriend along while she watches your child into the night while you are working? In fact, leaves this child alone with her boyfriend because she had to leave? Julie has a confrontation with her mother, well, several, where Mona  tells Julie that all her problems are due to the fact that Jake needs a father and that Julie is SELFISH to have chosen to become a single mother. Fourth beef—I’m just flabbergasted that no objections were raised to Mona’s assertions. I think having a two-parent home is ideal, but it’s no longer the norm. Mona reveals to Paul that Julie’s child is fathered by a sperm donor and he puts the pieces together quickly and is enraged that Julie didn’t tell him. Again, that’s why it’s called anonymous donation. She in no way was obligated to tell him! Meanwhile, Julie is also going through nannies and ends up calling her mom and begging for help. Fifth beef- there’s nothing wrong with asking for help, but Julie is over-reliant on her mother because she continually chooses to put her job over her child. Julie and Kevin meet back up and declare their love. Sixth beef- Really? If he was in his first year of law school when he donated, he is approximately 27-28 years old. Based on the age of women who are on forums and blogging who have realized  that if we don’t have kids now, we won’t ever have them, Julie is 41-48. That’s quite an age difference. Now, it’s quite realistic and I will say that at least they referenced in the film that there was an age difference. But there’s also a big maturity difference. Kevin is on his third or fourth career choice and at 28, that’s okay if you’re single, but maybe not so much if you’re contemplating a relationship with a 40-something with a child. Biggest beef- Jake’s behavior is due to bad parenting. It has nothing to do with being raised by a single parent. Julie needs to make him a priority. She does a good job of explaining that “there are different kinds of families” but it is obvious that she isn’t surrounding him with people who will advance that idea, such as his teacher and other care workers. While I can say this, it still scares me. I look at the statistics. I know that children raised by single parents by choice turn out just as well as children raised in two-parent households—sometimes better since the child doesn’t have to suffer the trauma of divorce (or more correctly, the conflict that proceeds it)—but I still wonder what you say to your child when he asks, “Why don’t I have a daddy?” and your mother calls you selfish for having a child on you own?

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