What attracted me to this movie was
Max Greenfield the idea, I thought it would be a bubbly romcom about a delusional, yet adorable, old lady with lots of laughs and aww moments. A bit like Happy Go Lucky or Frankie & Grace. Yep, I do love stories about older folks finding love. Psychoanalyse me! 🙂
I did not realise this would be – spoiler alert –
a movie about love addiction. A romcom drama. A tragic comedy. I cringed through it and could only watch with frequent breaks… because I used to be Doris.
This story ticks so many love addiction boxes – Doris has issues (grieving death of her mother and her ‘could have been’ life), she is unfulfilled, lonely, she has a clearly manifested lack (expressed through hoarding), she has a bouquet of psychological issues that she is not aware of or not addressing. Instead, she escapes by choosing an impossible object and fixating on him. She builds a fantasy based on unrealistic expectations which justify stalking and lead to loss of any objectivity, perspective or compassion – it’s all me, me, me. Doris is trying to grab with both hands what’s not hers to fill the gaping existential void.
I had to stop watching just before the end – partially because I was on a train with no signal, partially because I could not bear to see her come down crashing hard in the end, like any of us, love addicts, eventually do, her little fantasy bubble burst, her having to face the reality – and LET GO.
It’s not easy overcoming any addiction, coming to terms with and accepting the reality and the reasons that drive you into addiction, to escape. This movie was uncomfortable to watch because it stirred up past pain.
The ending was too hopeful in my opinion. From my experience, love addiction object never reciprocates, never. They may feel warmth towards you (if they are aware of your feelings) and even offer to stay friends – perhaps this is what John (Max Greenfield’s character) is going to do. Doris may be braver than me in that she will be able to be friends. I had to refuse. I cut ties and go cold turkey – this is my version of fully letting go. Out of sight – out of mind.
Don’t feel sorry for Doris. She learned a lesson. Like every one of us, love addicts, do. We need to learn to let go. We need to face our demons and accept them. We need to fill our lives to the brim, with meaningful pursuits and keep ourselves busy in a healthy, good way. We need to find ways to feel alive without falling in love. In the process of doing so, we can only hope we have not screwed up anybody’s life, including our own.
Bravo, Michael Showalter and Laura Terruso, not sure which one of you is/ was/ knows a love addict, you clearly know the subject well. And well done for telling a real, brave and optimistic story that the world needed to hear and see.