It’s complicated

Nancy Meyers  was right, can be complicated.

If you haven’t seen Nancy Meyers’ new movie It’s Complicated, go. Many critics have labeled it a movie for middle-aged over-privileged white women. I think it’s a movie for romantics.
 
There is no arguing that Nancy Meyer is a clever and successful female writer and producer who can hold her own in a tough industry. She has written many popular romantic comedies about intelligent professional women with above-average dialogue and plots.
 
Now she has made movie about a sexy, successful woman of 60 — Meryl Streep as Janewho is simultaneously courted by her ex-husband, the extroverted Jake (Alex Baldwin), and her shy architect Adam (Steve Martin). She owns a fabulous house and successful gourmet bakery and has three lovely, intelligent children. The youngest is leaving home to go to college. This makes Jane a little sad. We learn that Jake broke up their marriage by cheating with a younger woman he later married. Agness seems brash, selfish and intent on having a second child. Her first child is an adorable hellion she had with man she cheated with, before marrying Jake. We never get to know Agness, except as firm-bodied brat. The story is told from Jane’s P.O.V.
 
At their son’s college graduation Jane and her ex-husband fall into to bed after an accidental meeting in the hotel bar, a good meal and a lot of wine. Jane enters into a reluctant, but head-spinning affair with her now besotted ex. Jake claims that “his love never died”. He craves the calm and order of Jane’s home, her lush confident, sexuality, and the endless gourmet delights of her kitchen. He even misses the way she policed his diet and health.
 
Jane is conflicted. It took her years to find herself after the divorce. She is not, as some critics claim, sad or lonely — although at the beginning of the film, she regrets that her last bird has flown the nest. Many of my friends, all happily married, were initially quite sad when their children went off to school. They got over it. But Jane  has wonderful friends. They are witty, supportive and fun. They gather weekly to eat, drink and laugh, not to bitch and moan. Yes they do talk about sex and love — and the lack of it in Jane’s life. They encourage her to get out and date. Darlings, what are friends for? 
 
There are many fabulously funny moments in this movie and quite a few predictable ones. It’s not the greatest movie ever made, but it’s really good. It tackles situations I have witnessed many times; that’s why I was floored by the charge that it was so unrealistic.
 
Divorce is hard on people and it is often harder on the woman. It can take time to recover. But, it’s not unheard of for men to suffer “buyer’s remorse” after marrying or dating much younger women. It doesn’t happen to all of them. Some of them love it; it makes them feel young to start all over again, with a new family and small children. But some hate it; it makes them feel old, starting all over again with  growing family. It depends on the man, how great the marriage is and whole lot of other intangibles. But it happens. Do men try to date their ex-wives or go back to them? You might be surprised, it happens more often than you may think — if the wives will have them. My husband pointed out that ex-wives often go back to ex-husband too – he is not wrong.
 
Some critics have taken issue with Jane’s fabulous house and garden. They obsesses about how she could afford it. Have these people ever shopped in a gourmet bakery of that size? Did they miss the line when her ex says, “you can open all the restaurants you want”. Why do they need to believe she would have no money or less money than she needs? Are all divorced women broke? Hardly. She has had 10 years post divorce to work, work, and work! And she divorced after years of marriage to a successful lawyer in California, a sensible community-property state. People get a clue.
 
And then there is view held by some critics and bloggers that It’s Complicated is a fantasy for women over 40; that men are just not attracted to mature women. One blogger quoted Diane Keaton, “men just look through me now”, to prove her point. Keaton has always been eccentric and artistic. I doubt she would have trouble finding a relationship when and if she wants one. She has had several interesting ones in the in the past with some of Hollywood‘s most desirable men.
 
The woman blogger who wrote this has always been single. She talked about how unrealistic the movie was and how unlikely men were to be attracted to a 60-year-old woman. She went on about the difficulties and pitfalls of dating after a certain age. This woman goes by the name of Boomer in her dating profile and online.
I think being cagey about your age is foolish, but I find advertising it in your online dating name equally unappealing. I can’t imagine why any women would call her “boomer” in a dating profile as it is so unfeminine. As I read her profile it became clear this was a woman with a lifetime of “singlehood” behind her – she has never married. She is not the same type of woman as Jane and would not understand her appeal. It may not be fair , but those who stay single too long, without relationships, in my experience find dating and marriage difficult as they age.
 
Granted, many things are not as easy after 40 as they are in your 20s and 30s, but a few are easier. You have more money, usually. I hope you also have more wisdom and confidence. You should know when to cut your losses; when it’s working and how to get out of a no-go situation fast and gracefully.
 
Some women whine that men want only younger women. Many do, but not all of them. And darlings, some of my friends, both young and not so young, only want young men. As the French say, "chacun a son gout" or more to the point, the heart wants what the heart wants. Mostly, men want attractive, sexy, intelligent, nice, women. Don’t you want the same in a man? I also think Nancy Meyers was on to something, placing Jane in the center of luxe home.

The men in Jane’s life flocked to her lovely home filled with creature comforts and fabulous food. Most men do like to eat well and be cared for, and many like to nurture in return. It’s not sexist, it’s sensual, and everyone wants chemistry. 
 
Love and chemistry happens for many more women of a certain age than the media would have you believe. Attraction, dating and relationships — at any age — are a knack and a gift from above. Some have it and some don’t. It’s hard to teach, almost impossible I have found. That’s because it is the essence of the person that sends out the signals that attract — at any age. I think it helps to believe in love and romance and embrace it. But, Nancy Meyers was right, it’s complicated.
 
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