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Don’t judge a movie by its trailer.

I’ve been sick since Wednesday of last week. Running a fever, feeling gross. Went to the doctor on Sunday morning and was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection (aka a cold) and I just have to let it run its course. Also, I’m contagious which means we had to bow out of all of our Memorial Day plans. Truly, I am thankful. I can’t really remember ever having a cold accompanied by a fever that lasted more than a few days, so I’m trying not to be a whiny brat about it happening now.

During the last few days, I’ve watched more tv than I care to admit. I can’t really lay down to rest since I keep myself up coughing, so I’ve been sitting on the couch watching movies to try to relax. I think I plowed through 7 movies so far, not to mention a ridiculous number of Battlestar Galactica episodes.

Two of the movies I watched really surprised me, and despite my complaining about being sick in the prior paragraphs, those two movies are really the subject of this post. I don’t normally write movie reviews, so bear with me. (Be warned, there are spoilers if you haven’t seen the movies.)

The first movie was The Switch, featuring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman. A summary from Miramax.com is below.

Kassie, a smart, fun-loving single woman who, despite her neurotic best friend Wally’s objections, decides it’s time to have a baby – even if it means doing it herself – with a little help from a charming sperm donor. But, unbeknownst to her, Kassie’s plans go awry because of a last-minute switch that isn’t discovered until seven years later when Wally gets acquainted with Kassie’s cute – though slightly neurotic – son.

Or if you’d rather, watch the trailer below.

Given the subject matter (sperm donation) I probably never would’ve watched this movie if I wasn’t held captive on the couch by this illness. Something about not wanting to support a movie that portrays this practice as an appropriate path to parenthood. I think this method of reproduction has serious, negative consequences for all parties involved. I expected the movie to romanticize the concept, but was pleasantly surprised when it instead highlighted one of the reasons it is so dangerous.

The son (resulting from the “anonymous” artificial insemination process) longs to know his father. He collects picture frames and keeps the stock photos in them, imagining each person pictured is a relative of the father he never knew. His father’s brother, his grandfather, etc. You can feel the young boy’s pain. The emptiness would be tragic if he weren’t only a movie character.

Children need a mother and a father. Intentionally creating a scenario where a child is deprived of either a mother or father is unfair, and it leaves the child feeling lost and confused. Though it is just a movie, I believe the emotions portrayed by this character are not too dissimilar from those a child in his circumstance may feel. He is a young boy, and he longs for a male role model – one to teach him how to be a man.

The second movie I watched was Mars Needs Moms. Summary from IMDB.com below.

His mother abducted by Martians intent on harvesting her maternal instincts to nurture their young, nine-year-old Milo stows away in an alien spacecraft bound for Mars in a bid to bring her safely back to Earth. Later, on the Red Planet, Milo befriends a subterranean-dwelling earthling named Gribble and a spirited Martian lass named Ki, who agree to help him locate his missing mother and confront the head alien in charge.

Again, here’s the trailer.

This movie seemed to be an extreme caricature of where our culture is headed if we continue to devalue and marginalize men and the role of women as mothers. Men are portrayed simply as tools for reproduction. They are “idiots” who can’t be trusted to be members of a family, so the women aliens turn child rearing into a manufacturing process, void of love and family life.

They use mothers from earth to program robots to raise, and more importantly to them discipline, their alien children. The leader of their civilization, the Supervisor, is an angry old woman who tries to empower the women in the culture by robbing them of their femininity. They aren’t exposed to men or given the opportunity to fall in love, but must be soldiers in an army whose purpose was never really revealed. They are made to believe they would be inadequate mothers, and that colors and expressions of tender, nurturing feelings are a sign of weakness.

Maybe I’m reading too much into these movies. Or maybe I’m just feeling protective and sappy toward men because my sweet husband has been lovingly caring for me while I’ve been sick. Either way, I was glad to see these movies expose the consequences of violating the natural order rather than glamorize doing so like many others. Definitely not what I expected from either of them based on the trailers.

Did you see either of these movies? What did you think?

One Comment

  1. […] As part of my visit to coldville, I watched lots of movies on the couch. A couple of them surprised me by demonstrating the value/importance of family life for children. I didn’t expect that, especially from The Switch, which was about a single woman who chose artificial insemination to become a mother. I expected it to glamorize her choice, but it did the opposite. Read the full post here. […]

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