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crazy, stupid, love

December 15, 2011

Crazy, Stupid, Love, though at points overly sentimental and weirdly inappropriate, is brilliantly casted, saturated with memorable lines and laugh-out-loud scenes. But the film’s strength is its inspiring portrayal of love.

In the opening scene, Cal Weaver (Steve Carell), a boring, passive, khakis-with-white-tennis shoes-wearing husband and father is told by his wife Emily (Julianne Moore) that she wants a divorce. Cal accepts her wishes. He doesn’t protest or ask why. They go home and he gathers his things and leaves.

In subsequent days, Cal experiences transformation. He is transformed from an apathetic and complacent husband to a committed one. Jacob (Ryan Gosling), a smooth talking ladies’ man who apparently owns a number of tailored suits and works out a lot (particularly his abdomen), takes Cal on as a pet project. Jacob teaches his new apprentice the ways of style, confidence, and allure.

In addition, Cal’s 13-year old son, an unlikely sage dealing with his own broken heart, imparts wisdom to his dad: Love demands action, perseverance. When you are convinced that you found your soul mate, you must not give up. Cal reflects on his son’s perspective:

My son, not him, my actual son believes in grand romantic gestures. He believes in the existence of one soul mate. And it’s easy to just look at a thirteen year old and say; ‘You don’t know what you’re talking about. You are wrong.’ But I’m not so sure. I met my soul mate when I was fifteen years old…I don’t know if it’s gonna work out, I don’t know what’ gonna happen. I’m sorry, Robbie. I can’t give you that. But I can promise you this, I will never stop trying. Because when you find the one, you never give up.

Cal’s words are beautiful and inspiring. We long to be loved in this sort way. We want someone to never give up on us, especially a spouse.  Love is indeed crazy and stupid because there are times when it just seems irrational to keep pursuing and absorbing wrongdoings.

Though Cal’s expression of love is beautiful, I question his motivation. Cal is committed to loving Emily because she is his soul mate. He promised to love her and he will continue to, no matter the cost. Really? His motivation is ultimately his own love and promise to Emily. But he is only human and humans have limited resources. What will he do when he wants to give up? Why will he continue to pursue when he doesn’t really want to anymore?

The Bible teaches that we are to love because God first loved us. His love is unconditional and never gives up on us. He pursues us despite the fact we turn our back on Him. Most importantly, God does not run out of resources, or reasons. In Himself there is an infinite well of love.

When we begin to experience this sort of love, it become the motivation for and foundation of our love, even when it seems crazy and stupid to keep loving.

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