Betty Duffy

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Nights in Ro-Duffy!

Last night was movie night at the Duffy's, and because the guy at the movie store was able to convince my husband that "Nights in Rodanthe" was "not as much of a chick-flick as you might think," we spent the evening with Richard Gere and Diane Lane, reunited in that sizzling chemistry that made "Unfaithful" such a hit. Well, Nights in Rodanthe was not a conventional chick flick, it's a new breed of chick flick created with the special needs in mind of the More Magazine generation (that's you, Mom). The primary purpose of this genre is liberating middle aged women from the patriarchal confines of suffocating marriages that stripped them of their creativity and true selves.

When the movie begins, we learn that Diane Lane's husband wants to come home from his adulterous relationship and work things out. Their two kids want them to get back together as well. But no, it's time for Diane to do something for herself because she's been a good mother and faithful wife for too long. No more! She's going to go help out a girlfriend by operating her inn by the sea while her friend is off on a love vacation with her boy toy. You see, a mysterious stranger (Richard Gere) will pay any price to stay at the inn on this particular weekend, when it was going to be closed.

It's worth noting that mousy, suburban Diane's unlikely friend represents a new stereotype in modern cinema and pop novels: the independent, hyper-orgasmic, earthy, creative black woman with a deep affinity for various pagan gods. We saw how the women of Sue Monk Kidd's "The Secret Life of Bees" turned Our Lady into a pagan she-god of independence and creative fertility. If I had to guess, this stereotype was inspired by Oprah, but it's getting a little tired already. Naturally, Diane's friend would never suggest that she go back to that crazy institution of marriage where people you love can hurt you, and you still have to look at them day after day. What Diane really needs is to get laid. And that's exactly what she's about to do.

That mysterious stranger at the inn does not remain mysterious for long. He has garden variety baggage: a failed marriage, a bad relationship with his son, a career that turned sour. And he's here at the inn to work it all out, which means, he needs to get laid too. And so Diane and Dick set about their work in a classic "falling in love and doing it" musical interlude.

Here, my husband interjects: "PUT YOUR CLOTHES ON, SENIOR CITIZENS!!!"

I reply: "We need to be opening our hearts to senior love. By the time we can do it with abandon, we'll be senior citizens too." (Inside joke for practitioners of NFP)

My husband: "I hate these people."

I hate them too. You may be asking yourself at this point why we didn't just turn the movie off, and that is a good question. The answer is that I have a naive and unquenchable thirst for redemption in the movies, and I am still holding onto hope that both Diane and Dick's marriages can be repaired after this token sexual re-awakening. But it's hard to watch people you hate fall in love, and believe me, it's not just because they're old. I think it's the screenplay that's the problem. So I'm going to take a stab at this scene, where a shaw-clad Diane Lane, spent and glowing from her weekend in bed, has to say good-bye to her mysterious new lover who needs now to go address his baggage:

Diane struggles against the wind to hold onto her shaw. She makes many eye-brow tweaking expressions of sadness while she holds her hands to her heart in disbelief that her new lover is departing.

Gere gets into his car and begins to drive away.

Cut to Gere, inside his car. He stops at the end of the driveway, looks meangingfully down at his lap. He purses his lips. He thinks to himself, but does not say, "This is CRAZY!" He shakes his head in surrender then recklessly backs up his car, jumps out and passionately embraces Diane.

Notice there are no words to this drama. Just ACTING!!! ACTING of the finest variety, with close-ups and hand gestures and music!

SPOILER ALERT: To wrap things up, Gere writes many letters to Diane while he is away, being a man changed by good sex, and patching up his relationship with his son. In the meantime, Diane goes home, tells her husband off (and she is still married, by the way), reads her lover's letters, and takes up woodworking. Then tragically, on the night before the two lovers are to be reunited, Gere dies in a mudslide. Yes, a mudslide. Cue tears.

But this story isn't over yet, because Diane's bitchy daughter is about to be transformed as well, by another great dramatic convention: The Catatonic Mother. Bitchy Daughter, who used to only snarl and yell at her mother knows something's up because her mother, who used to roll her eyes helplessly at her bad behavior, now only stares off into space for days on end. So, Bitchy Daughter waits patiently, taking care of the house and rubbing her mother's shoulder, until one sunny day, sitting out on their front porch, Diane's ready to talk.

Bitchy Daughter: "I used to want you and Dad to get back together, but now I know how he hurt you and I wouldn't dream of asking you to do such a thing. So go ahead and tell me why you're catatonic because I've learned a lot during these days of neglect and I think I'm ready to hear about your sex life."

Diane: "Well, Bitchy Daughter, I can see that you've changed since I went MIA, so I too am ready to tell you about my sex life. You see, there's another kind of love besides sacramental married love. It's called adulterous illicit sex. And now, your father and I both have experienced it to catastrophic effect, and I wouldn't have it any other way."

...and curtain.



jen said...

2 days later and i'm still laughing about your comment about johnny truant on the forum. you can put it to someone. that was funny. and true.

Aimee said...

My husband and I are laughing so hard right now that my child-bearing induced incontinence is becoming an issue. THIS is the kind of review I need to read on the back of those little red Netflix envelopes :)

Anonymous said...

Did you have a post about Rush Limbaughs comments today concerning the Pill and washing machine? Google directed me here. Please re-post it! I have already emailed him several times. i am SO mad that he thinks he has the perspective to begin to understand that. And yes... the washing machine is so much more liberating.

Lisa Paul said...

Love this review. Just one issue. Diane Lane is looking great and is NOT a senior citizen. Richard Gere, spot on. I, too, suffered through the movie, so at least this review brought some redemption for my time.

Also, you are spot on about the forums. I've been privately emailing Chuck the same concerns: lack of diversity, lack of participation by the featured bloggers once they get their fame. He's never responded. I've given him tons of suggestions for featured bloggers who are of color, blog about religious life or in general are much different than the 30 something slackers who seem to be featured.

(Note, I'm atweed in the forums.)

Betty Duffy said...

I did have a post about Rush Limbaugh, but my husband keeps telling me that he was joking. I was going to download the podcast to try and detect some sarcasm in his voice, but I thought for certain he was serious, and I haven't had time to devote to listening to him again. Then again, I'm not a regular Limbaugh listener, so I could be wrong. But, I'll repost, just for kicks, whether I'm wrong or not.

Atweed! Thanks for your comments. And you're right about Diane Lane. I was just trying to be funny--she does look great. My husband suffers from ageism, but what goes around comes around. His time will come.

I think I'm closing the book on the Westbrook project though.

Dana (Duffy) Williams said...

Hello!! I just stumbled across your blog because for some reason, I was googling my grandmother's name -- Betty Duffy! :) What a coincidence that I am a Duffy, and my family lives in Indiana as well! I am now married, but my husband and I are considering the name Betty for our first child. I know... totally random. But I just wanted to say hi! :) -d

Betty Duffy said...

Dana, was your Grandfather named Everett by any chance? If so, email me at