Definitely, Maybe (2008)

Rated: PG-13 for sexual content, including some frank dialogue, language and smoking.
Length: 105 minutes
Grade: A-C+BA=B+
Budget: $7 million
Box Office: $62 million ($32 U.S., $22 Intl., $8 DVD)

Written and Directed by: Adam Brooks, with his first major directing work, who previously wrote Bridget Jones 2, Wimbledon, and the screenplay for Beloved.
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Abigail Breslin, Isla Fisher, Elizabeth Banks, And Rachel Weisz.

Desperately wanting to understand why her parents are divorcing, Maya coerces her dad into telling her the story of how he and her mom got together. He does this by telling her the tale of the three loves of his life but without telling her in advance which one is her mother.

Entertainment Value: A-
The concept is quite clever, and the overall movie is thoroughly engaging. It’s funny. It’s painful. It’s (mostly) believable. And it’s basically a Jane Austen novel where the main character is a guy in 2008 rather than a woman in Victorian England, hence the heavy presence of Jane Eyre. It’s clever, witty, and very well-written.

Superficial Content: C+
Drugs/Alcohol C, Sex/Nudity C, Violence B, Language C, Illegality B
The whole movie is about a series of romances, which means some mild sex scenes and sexual discussion. The premise is a divorcing couple, so there are some adult themes here. There’s drinking and drunkenness. I’d put it on the light end of PG-13. Maybe PG-10.
Significant Content: B
The movie winds up being essentially anti-divorce emotionally while being pro-divorce rationally. The idea of there being just one true love is mostly here, although getting the timing right between both halves of that equation is more difficult than it should be. Even sad stories can have happy endings. Even if a marriage is a mistake, the children born in that marriage are never a mistake. Hope and happiness are both very important.

Artistic/Thought Value: A-
One of my favorite little byproducts of this movie is the built in premise that children are owed an explanation for divorce. Not just them, of course, but the whole community that affirmed the marriage. I also loved to see a movie where a male lead is portrayed as something other than inept and confused. He’s surely not perfect, but it is the women in this movie who seem fundamentally flawed rather than the man.

Discussion Questions:
~Would you want to know all the sordid details of your parents’ love lives, especially prior to marriage? Is it wise for parents to tell this stuff to their children? What happens when we withhold it and then our kids find out how messy life is? Consider the transparency of the Bible when it comes to the difficulty of life and love.
~Do divorcing couples owe their children an explanation? Do they owe the pastor and witnesses at their wedding? What about their friends now?
~Do you agree with the decision in this movie to divorce? Is it on Biblical grounds?
~What do all the Jane Eyre references mean?
~Do the three different women in this movie represent three different kinds of women as symbols or just three particular women?
~Is marriage more a matter of whom or a matter of when?
~How would any of the characters in this movie been happier or behaved differently if they had been committed to Christ?
~What do you think of Will’s choice in the end? Will this be successful?
~Do you think people would date and couple differently if they thought ahead about needing to tell their own kids everything they’ve ever done?
Overall Grade: B+
This is a very entertaining romantic comedy mystery. Don’t let Ryan Reynolds fool you. He’s actually quite good here.

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