Motherhood trumps silly love that tends to mean nothing at the end. Perhaps there is some truth to it, especially when we seldom hear of a single dad story…
Quite a cast, this film has. Claire Danes (Ann Grant) plays young Ann and appears in morphine-induced dreams of her older self , Ann Lord (Vanessa Redgrave). The film opens with Ann’s grown-up daughters, Constance Haverford (late Natasha Richardson), and Nina Mars (Toni Collette), sitting by her bed, and hearing her mumbling of non-sense or un-confessed mistakes she made. Constance is the had-it-all daughter and Nina is the “bad” one that cannot hold a job for long, as she describes herself, a commit-phobe.
Young Ann is the bridesmaid of her rich best friend, Lila Wittenborn (Mamie Gummer). She arrives in bus from New York City to Lila’s summer house where the wedding will take place. In the 60’s marriage and family are two priorities in life, and that is what Lila is doing what she thinks she ought to do, despite of her crush with the then housekeeper’s son, Harris Arden (Patrick Wilson). Lila younger brother is Buddy Wittenborn (Hugh Dancy), a drunk, a poet, a novelist, and a bit queer. His love to Ann is a camouflage, but it seems Ann is oblivious to it, which is an accurate account of what might have happened given what we know about closet gay men in the 60’s married with wives and kids. Although Buddy does not declare his gayness, the kiss he gives to Harris seals the doubt. Glenn Close (Mrs. Wittenborn) is the mom: guaranteed great performance. Another subtle depiction here is the social classes dictate who gets married to whom. In other words, a girl from a prominent family will never marry into a common class of housekeeper, despite Harris is a successful doctor with his own practice. Gradually, Ann realises Buddy is a lost-cause, she thinks perhaps Harris will be a better pick for herself, but they went their separate ways after a tragedy and dissolution; she marries one of the best-men, Ralph Haverford (David Furr), but things didn’t work out.
Nina is having doubts about her three years relationship with Phil Mars (Chris Stack), she does not know if she loves him enough, and she is hoping her mom will tell her what true love means to ease her confusion… a child is the best thing.
The moment of clarity comes when now the older Lila Ross (Meryl Streep) comes to visit Ann. They talk about Harris, and their lives and achievements. Lila has always loved Ann’s courage and desire, more so than the handsome Harris! Ann is finally at peace with herself.
It’s Valentine’s day, perhaps we should all put LOVE in perspective! especially it is an intangible of all intangibles.
WATCH! just look at the names on this list!