Something to Talk About – 3 Stars (Good)
"Something to Talk About" stars Julia Roberts, which immediately makes me think romantic comedy, but trust me when I said that this 1995 film has more drama than comedy as it tackles a subject prevalent in today's modern marriages-adultery.
Grace Bichon (Julia Roberts) comes from a wealthy Southern family that breeds and buys horses for competition in dressage, the art of riding and training a horse in a manner that develops obedience, flexibility and balance (or jumpers, as someone not into dressage may say.
Grace, who manages her father's riding stable, catches her husband Eddie (Dennis Quaid) cheating on her, and can not forgive or forget his egregious act of violating her trust in him as a husband and father of their young daughter Caroline (Haley Aull).
Unfortunately for Grace, everyone but her sister Emma Rae (Kyra Sedgwick) and Aunt Rae (Anne Shropshire) sides with her unfaithful husband because of their wealth and social position, including her father Wyly (Robert Duvall), mother Georgia (Gena Rowlands) and every social "friend" Grace counts on to understand her situation.
Grace's father has all of the compassion, understanding and tolerance of a steamroller flattening an ant on the pavement. His ego is bigger than his ranch and his word is law, or you will face the consequences.
The comedy part of this film owes a lot to Emma Rae, who, like her father, is not afraid to use enough strong language-along with Grace-to make it an R-rated movie. We are led to believe that the wandering Eddie was not trying to make a career out of being unfaithful, but was miserable in his marriage.
Grace feels totally abandoned until her mother learns that her father is also running around on the side. Then it becomes a battle of some very happy women who shut the men out of their life. What happens next is why you should watch this movie at least once.
One of the lessons of Something to Talk About is that couples can fuss about how to spend their money (or lack thereof), and how to raise their children, but what leads to the divorce court is a lack of communication.
We are reminded again that the opposite of love is not hate (both are emotions), but silence and withdrawal (the absence of emotion). Making a marriage work is a full time job and, if you are not working at it all the time, pretty soon your marriage will collapse.
This film throws around some very strong, vulgar language in some very public places, and challenges the viewer to put the language in perspective and try to see the underlying message about why marriages collapse, and the impact on the lives of those involved.
I would normally give a film like this an average (2 Star) rating, but I am big on relationship movies, and even larger on movies that convey a message that creates a learning situation. Credit writer Callie Khouri with the script and Lasse Hallstrom as the director; both made this more than an entertainment vehicle, they chose to do more than less and deserve my good (3 Star) rating.
Kyra Sedgwick's performance as Emma Rae was recognized with a Golden Globe nomination as Best Supporting Actress. What she does to the roaming husband Eddie is worth the price of admission alone.
Go ahead, see Something to Talk About, and you will have something to talk about.
Copyright © 2009 Ed Bagley
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