Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cheating, Marriage, and "He's Just Not That Into You"



This weekend, my good friend M and I went and saw “He’s Just Not That into You”. While I had a great time with her and I was definitely entertained during the movie…

I’m about to say something that might be really unpopular in bloggy-world…

I didn’t love it.

In fact, I found it a tad bit depressing. Also, I really didn’t like its messages about marriage and amount of time it spent focusing on infidelity in marriage.

“He’s Just Not That into You” on Marriage: The movie treats marriage is treated as both a desired outcome and a burden. Women long for it, and men dread it. For example, Ben calls a wedding a "funeral". And even though some of the characters do value marriage, it's not necessarily considered a permanent, sacred commitment to be honored by others.

“He’s Just Not That into You” on cheating: A ton of the film focuses on Anna's affair with Ben. It made me so sad for everyone involved in that horrible triangle. I mean, I get the message it was trying to say, “If he’s cheating on you, he’s just not that into you.” But that aspect just really took me out of the film. I really wish that they hadn’t used a married couple. And Mary trying to tell Anna it’s ok to be perusing a married man in the name of true love made me sick. All I could think was “imagine if that was your husband, your best friend’s husband, or your sister’s husband. You would not say that.”

When the Mr. and I were doing pre-marital mentoring with an awesome older couple from our church they told us that they will not even watch a movie or a TV show with marital infidelity in it. Even if they are mid-movie they just turn. it. off. They said that they don’t like even having the idea of infidelity around their marriage and don’t want to validate how flippant society is about cheating. At first I thought “WHOA… that is crazy.” But now that I’m married, I kind of get it.

I know a lot of people loved it, so please don't hate me for writing this! Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy seeing it, but am I alone in feeling it was a bit depressing?

40 comments:

littlesack said...

hm... haven't seen it yet, so can't comment on that.

But--I really like the idea that couple from your church had.

Pink Pearls & Muddy Sneakers said...

I have to tell you, I try to do the same thing about not watching cheating, and it is not to make a statement - it takes all the fun out of a movie for me. It makes me sad, and I go to movies / watch TV to be entertained. And I am not even married! But I take marriage probably too seriously, and I am just waiting until I am very, very sure that I want to be with someone forever, and that means not being with anyone else. Anyway... I liked your post :)

Mrs. Newlywed said...

I found it a bit of both. I also hate the flippant attitude towards marriage, but I have to admit I generally love Jennifer Aniston so seeing her in it made up for it.

Sarah said...

You're entitled to your own opinions! I want to see it and I don't want to see it. I felt the same way about the movie "Trust the Man" it deals with infidelity as well. I just think that society has really downgraded the value of marriage nowadays. And it's really sad.....

Blablover5 said...

It is getting really tiring how hollywood can't break away from the stereotype that all women just want that rock on their finger and once they have it they turn into snarling beasts and men are just poor stumbling loveable oafs who get tricked into marriage and once in it are doing everything they can to get out.

It really demeans both genders and what I wouldn't give for it to stop.

Lucky in Love said...

I have plans to see the movie on Thursday with a friend. I'll let you know...but I totally get what you're saying about watching cheating. It makes me sad that it's viewed at sometimes as "expected."

Mrs. Cup said...

I'm so glad someone else feels the way I do! Mr. Cup and I went to see it and we did NOT enjoy it...I thought it was very depressing and I hated the message about marriage and relationships in general.

Nicole-Lynn said...

No, you're not alone! I enjoyed the ending (Ben Affleck and Jen A.'s relationship), and there were some funny parts and stuff... but their focus on marriage infidelity was pretty depressing. I leaned over in the movie and told my boyfriend that not all guys hate marriage that much!

Kara said...

I agree with you! My husband and I saw the movie and we thought it was cute, but it definitely was a little bit depressing.

My husband is also like your mentors - he does not like movies with affairs and doesn't watch them.

skinnyrunner said...

i havent seen the movie, i read the book a couple years ago. it was a lot of "duh!" stuff... if he doesnt want to hang out with you or disrespects you, he isn't that into you.
my mother in law told us before we were married to never joke about the "D WORD", divorce. and we used to, just in joking, before realizing how right she was. now we never do bc there's nothing funny about it and why bring it up in our marriage?? we just don't go there bc it isn't an option at all.

Elizabeth said...

I completely agree with your comment about non watching things involving fidelity. Its almost like you get more and more used to it that it becomes okay. The same goes with things showing violence and drug use etc. Good post.

Lil' Woman said...

I hven't seen it and I want to see so I'll make my assumptions when I do...but I agree with what your saying..marriage now a days is not something that is sacred. Movies just fling it around like it's no big deal.

Mrs. Smith said...

Thanks so much for the review. I was thinking about seeing it last night...decided not to, because there are so many conflicting reviews about it. If I'm going to watch a movie about cheating - and how it's supposedly "normal" these days - I'll watch it at home and not pay $10 for it!

With Love from New Orleans said...

Good to know! I definitely agree with you on all your points.. glad to get a different perspective! Also glad to know there is a lady out there who has the same morals!

XO

Aliya said...

I wasn't too wild about it either.. it was a fun girls night out, but I felt like the movie gave a twisted message... especially to men!

Saskia said...

I haven't seen it, so can't comment on the film, but I think I would feel the same as you. I often feel sad at how trivialised infidelity is, especially on tv here in the UK. Sometimes it feels like there are only a handful of people that consider marriage sacred...

Miss Adventure said...

Haven't seen the movie, but I really like the point that you are making here. While I think its not a bad thing to bring it to the surface so that at least its not a taboo, I don't think it should be viewed as something that "just happens", if anything it should be paid attention to so that people can what is wrong with society. I'm really glad you brought this up.

ali said...

I couldn't agree more. I thought I would love this movie, because I love all the actors, but I left feeling sad and just plain icky! I haven't posted anything about it because I thought the rest of the world was in love with it.

Mrs. Hibit said...

I haven't seen the movie (like many previous commenters) but I wholeheartedly agree with you. I remember flipping through the book at B&N in college and thinking it was very relevant for me - at that moment, a young single woman.
IMO, "He's Just Not That Into You" is FAR too casual a concept to apply to a supposedly committed marital relationship between adults. Vowing before a crowd of witnesses to be faithful until death sets it just a tad apart.

Jess said...

I reviewed the movie about a week ago, which you can read on my blog....

http://allamericanjess.blogspot.com/2009/02/hes-just-not-that-into-you.html

I loved the movie, but I get what you're saying. The reason it depressed me is that there is a lot of truth in it, you know. Many, many women give up so much of their time and emotions to men who don't deserve it.

While it depressed me, I don't think the movie made it seem like what Anna and Ben were doing was ok. Both of them lost, in the end. They were alone and unhappy. And, Ben's wife (whose name escapes me) ended up being alone, but ok.

So, I do get what you're saying, but I did like the majority of the movie. There were several parts that I was so embarassed for the people in the film, that I couldn't watch, lol.

Random Musings said...

I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU!!!

I was really hoping that when he kept saying "i'm married" and he fought he off that he would have stuck to his morals and just not cheated.

Ugg I was disappointed too

The Thompsons said...

Thanks for your comment on our blog! Also this is a great post, and in addition to sharing a wedding date, it seems that we share similar opinions. Before we got married, my husband's aunt gave us the book "His Needs, Her Needs" by Willard Harley. It was a great book for us to discuss. Affairs are not something that should be treated flippantly and I too hate how Hollywood constantly portrays them as acceptable.

Brittany Ann said...

I, too, took issue when I saw that Drew Barrymore's character supported the pursuit of a married man simply because it might be "true love." I would be furious at any woman for encouraging this kind of behavior in a fellow female, who would in turn hurt another fellow female because of it.

And yes, while men view marriage through different lenses, many men enter into marriages not just willingly, but with glee. Married men are rated as happier than unmarried men, according to the research I've seen. My husband attests that he always knew he wanted to be married, from the time he was a little boy!

Thanks for your sound criticism, Mrs. Newlywed!

Gretchen and Jimmy said...

I saw it and I liked but it was depressing in parts!!! I cried through half the movie! I liked it but I totally know what you mean :)

Mrs. Nurse said...

I really loved the movie; however, I didn't like the cheating aspect of the movie. I thought the message it gives about the boy not being into you was wonderful. I feel that is a message many girls need to here instead of being at the beck and call of a man who will never care unless its his last call from a bar. Glad someone else found that part wrong :)

La Bella Weddings and Events said...

Kirsten! WOW. Thank you so much for posting this. After seeing this movie with some of my single girlfriends who were dying to see it (I kinda just went along for the ride thinking it would be more of a romantic comedy - which in my opinion it was NEITHER) I left feeling kinda blah. I also felt that while yes SOME men string women along if you need a movie (or a book) to help you notice signs that he's "just not that into you" then you might need to do some self evaluating and soul searching. I was kinda peeved watching Scarlett Johanson's character...it just all together was not a good movie IMO.

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StylishSuburban said...

I agree with you about the movie. I didn't like it at all. I hated the movies perspective on marriage and cheating as well. Such a waste of my money. Funny thing is I went with a friend of mine who is married as well and we both walked out and looked at each other and said the same thing....guess the writer of the movie didn't like being married.
Great post!

Rachel said...

I've haven't seen the movie or read the book, but I will say that this is exactly why I never read the book when it was all the rage a few years back. I didn't want to rely on a book to tell me that a guy wasn't "into me"...I am a level headed girl with a good head on my shoulders. I just couldn't bring myself to read it. Looks like everything worked out okay for me!

And as for cheating...don't even get me started! Any movie that puts in it in a positive light makes my heart hurt. The couple you wrote about seems to have it all right. Not society!

shalay said...

I totally understand what you're saying. I saw the movie and loved it, but yes, it did make me sad to see how unhealthy relationships and men and women's perspectives could be. And I KNOW all men are not like that, just like I know all women are not like those depicted in the movie. In fact, I'd say most aren't.

I understand that many people choose not to watch any movie that involves infidelity, but I feel very differently. I don't shy away from movies because they might be depressing or disturbing. In fact, I think the most brilliant films contain completely dark subject matters. Sure, it might not make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, or even leave you with the desire to see it again. But I believe movies are art, and as long as they evoke strong feelings, whatever those feelings may be, they are serving their purpose.

My name is Megan... said...

I do agree with you! I think a lot of it just portrayed unfortunate situations! The ending created a healthy big picture perhaps. I thought the actors were pretty and funny. I think some people just don't get it!

Mrs. D said...

I thought the movie was cute. I pretty much new what it was about because I have some friends that read the book. I didn't think it was the best movie ever and I do agree with you. I really just love Jennifer Aniston and I watch pretty much all of her movies.

Lindsey said...

I TOTALLY agree with you!!! My husband and I loathe watching movies with cheating, it ruins the movie for us.

Shannon said...

I haven't seen the movie, but I've noticed this outlook in other shows. That marriage doesn't and wont ever last, that cheating is a way of life, etc. I HATE it! As if we don't have enough odds stacked against us, they have to plaster that crap all over the t.v. and movies. Yeah, like that's gonna help anyone's marriage. I totally, totally agree with you.

Taryn said...

I have not seen the movie yet- and probably won't. But I thought the premise of the movie looked cute.
I am struck by the idea to turn anything with infidelity off. What an idea. We already have pretty strict guidelines about what we watch concerning skin exposure, but not so much about content (usually they go hand in hand though). Thanks for the good idea.

MsKate said...

Great post! I enjoyed this movie but you're right-how Drew Barrymore was telling her friend to go after the guy even though he was married...who says that? I don't care how much a friend of mine might like a married guy-that is never good news! If you want to date a married man, wait until his divorce is final-then you'll really know he's into you!

It does scare me how movies portray men cheating as such a common thing.

Michelle S said...

I have to agree. I didn't not love this movie. I went to see a comedy and came out depressed if anything. I thought it was so sad!

beth said...

I agree in principle--but what is most wrong about that movie is the way it depicts women as needy, desperate and ridiculous human beings. It is a misogynist film in my view.

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dede55 said...

I recently saw the movie on dvd at home with my husband, whom unfortunately is not that into me. It was painful to watch with my daughter who thinks we are still in love. Our marriage was never great and we are one of those couples that others look up to and can't imagine one of us without the other. Yet I am starting to imagine it. Maybe I am a bit dumb, but when I saw that character go through scenes that I have gone through it helped me to see things clearly and it was scary but liberating, I like the part when he said, sometimes moving on is the happy ending.

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