Mama by Spice Girls
(Video linked from Youtube)
Mothers know best. Do they really? It’s the time of the year when working adults get their “report cards” regarding how they’ve fared at work in the past year. The reward/results come in the form of bonuses and pay increments. I fared very badly. And I cried as the reality of the results sunk in. I cried because this thought came into my mind – “What do I tell my mother?”
Let me explain. In recent months, my mother has been first hinting, and now blatantly telling me I should get a new job. A better paying job. A 9 to 5 job that pays better. She’s been encouraging me to apply for a “creative position” at Google without really knowing if what this “creative position” her friend has been talking to her about entails. And just recently, while watching the Zombieland blu ray together she dropped a “so are you going to start applying for jobs” line just before the opening titles rolled out when the huge chunk of words under the heading “WARNING” appeared. Suddenly I wasn’t sure if the “WARNING” sign was a huge hint about my mother’s “nudging” or a warning against piracy.
All this reminds me of the way Diane Keaton’s character, in Because I Said So, “convinced” and “manipulated” her daughter, played by Mandy Moore, to date the man she deems suitable for her daughter.
A mother’s love. That’s what Because I Said So is mostly about. Mothers may or may not always be right. But mothers do what they do because they love you.
In 1992, Vivian Jansen, Netherlands’ Miss Universe representative, was asked this question during the live show: “Could you ever marry someone your parents disapprove of?” (You can take a look at the clip of her answer). And this question and theme is something that is explored in this film. What if you mother thinks she knows who is best suited for you, but you disagree and fall for someone your mother disapproves of? What then? Do mothers always know best? I hope I never have to face such a dilemma. However, I agree with Vivian Jansen’s response. I would go ahead and marry him. But first, one must have the courage to defy your parents’ wishes, and go for what you really want instead of what they think is best for you.
Mandy Moore is one of the earlier singer turned actresses in my growing up days. And I would say she is one of the most successful to do so. Katherine McPhee caught the acting bug and her feature debut was in the film The House Bunny (She now plays the lead role in the television series Smash) I remember watching Mandy Moore in A Walk To Remember, and loving her in that film. She also gave a stellar performance in Because I Said So as Diane Keaton’s youngest daughter Milly.
Diane Keaton great performance in the film made me feel so frustrated at her interference in her daughter’s life but also empathize with her because I understood where she was coming from.
After Tom Everett Scott’s charming and gentlemanly character in That Thing You Do! I was pretty annoyed with the way he treated Mandy Moore’s character Milly. But I guess this just meant that he’s a pretty decent actor to have pulled off the know-it-all, mildly pompous personality his character was supposed to be.
In all honesty, on top of it being a film about a mother’s love, it is also making a statement about my favourite topic of all, romantic love. While the whirlwind romance between Diane Keaton’s Daphne and Stephen Collins’ Joe (Johnny’s father) is very sudden, and seemingly contrived to fulfill a plot point, it is sweet to see Diane’s Daphne finally loosening up and finally having fun. And as for Mandy Moore’s Milly, she realises that love is about being with someone who loves you for you. When you find someone who understands the real you, someone you are comfortable being yourself with, never let them go. Not even if your mother objects to him. (Now this bit reminds me of the film What’s Your Number?, a film starring Chris Evans and Anna Faris)
(1) Director Michael Lehmann has directed films like The Truth About Cats And Dogs (1996), and 40 Days And 40 Nights (2002).