Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sweet Home Alabama (2002)

Directed by Andy Tennant (1)
Cast: Reese Witherspoon (2), Josh Lucas (3), Patrick Dempsey (4), Candice Bergen (5), Fred Ward (6), and Dakota Fanning (7), Ethan Embry (8), Melanie Lynskey (9)

My favourite quote - 
"You see the truth is, I gave my heart away a long time ago. My whole heart. And I never really got it back."

My favourite scene -

Melanie: Hey cowboy. You owe me a dance.
Jake: Nice dress. Where's your husband?
Melanie: I'm lookin' at him. Apparently you and I are still hitched.
Jake: Is that right?
Melanie: Yeah. Why didn't you tell me you came to New York?
Jake: I needed to make something of myself.
Melanie: About done?
Jake: What is it about you southern girls? You can't make the right decisions so you try all the wrong ones?
Melanie: At least I fight for what I want.
Jake: What do you want Melanie? I don't even think you know.
Melanie: You're the first boy I ever kissed Jake and I want you to be the last.
Jake: Maybe you and I had our chance.
Melanie: Fine! Have it your way you stubborn ass.
Jake: What do you wanna to be married to me for anyhow?
Melanie: So I can kiss you anytime I want.

Soul Mates (The One)

Personally, I feel that the best person to spend the rest of your life with is someone who would make you a better person. He may bring out the worst in you at times, but he also brings out the best in you. Can you ever forget your first love? Do you believe in soul mates? Sweet Home Alabama is all about first loves and soul mates. 

"Nobody finds their soul mate when they're ten years old... I mean where's the fun in that right?"
I’ve heard of a few real life stories where people re-marry someone they’ve divorced before. Or even someone who used to date in the past and broke it off but re-connected again later in life and then got married. Some people think that the past is best left there, in the past. And with the film What’s Your Number?, I agree that the men in the lead character’s past should be left in the past. 

However, one shoe doesn’t fit all. And sometimes, people just need a little time apart to figure things out and grow before they can be together again. Of course, the best case scenario would be that the two individuals change and grow together side by side weathering everything that comes at them. 

Sometimes, people just need time and space to grow up on their own. Just like you have to allow your child to make his or her own mistakes so that they learn from them. Sometimes, when you love someone too much, it clouds your judgement about what is good or bad for her and for the relationship. There is a great big world out that besides your relationship with someone. Your world can’t just revolve around the person you love. That is highly destructive. 
Thinking about my first love, and mind you I don’t mean the first guy I dated but the first guy I fell in love with, I ask myself if I would want to be together with him again or whether I still loved him. The answer is no. But there have been others who would probably forever be to me ‘the one who got away’. And maybe to Patrick Dempsey’s Andrew Hennings in Sweet Home Alabama, Reese Witherspoon’s Melanie will be ‘the one who got away’. However, the focus is on Josh Lucas’ Jake and Reese Witherspoon’s Melanie. 

Meant To Be

Do you believe in soul mates? I hope that soul mates exist. Cos that would make life so much more interesting and perhaps more meaningful. But I wouldn’t dare claim I know what having a soul mate is like. Perhaps when I do find mine, I will know it for sure. This film resonates with me because despite the fact that Jake and Melanie brought out the worst in each other, they also brought out the best. They were able to change and become more focused in their lives, but still at the core of it all, they loved each other. When you love someone, fight for it. 

Lurlynn: You know, he went up there.
Melanie: Who? Jake? When?
Lurlynn: About a year after you left. He doesn't know I know, but Clinton let it slip once.
Melanie: Jake was in New York?
Lurlynn: He told Clinton he'd never seen anything like it. He realised straight off he'd need more than an apology to win you back. He needed to conquer the world first. He's been trying ever since.
Melanie: That's why he kept sending the papers back.
Lurlynn: Yeah, it's funny how things don't work out.
Melanie: It's funny how they do.

A song comes to mind right now that echoes these thoughts. Click here to listen to it. Listen to the lyrics and you will see what I mean. 


Jake: What makes you think you can treat them like something you stepped in in your fancy shoes...?
Melanie: You asked for it.
Jake: I asked for it? You show up here, you steal my money, you rearrange my house, and then you insult my friends acting like you're better than them.
Melanie: I am better than them. And you stole my pen.
Jake: That's all that matters to you isn't it. The money, the labels, the shoes, you're pathetic.
Melanie: Oh like you're going places. Well I am as soon as I get my keys out.
Jake: Oh no you don't, no you don't.
Melanie: Give me my purse!
Jake: You want to kill yourself, you do it somewhere else. There.
Melanie: At least I'm doing something with my life. So what if you can't play football anymore. Get a new dream! I did.

The other theme of the film that really affected me was about 'change'. People change all the time. Change is the only constant in life. I do believe that. I think I've changed a lot in the past 30 years of my life. I'm hoping it's for the better. But besides our personalities that change, what we want will also change in time. I remember when I was just 18 or 19 years old, I wanted to get married by the age of 25, and have 6 children. Now that I'm way past that deadline, at the age of 30, I actually think I'm not ready to get married! Partly because I'm single, but partly because even though I'm 30, I still feel I have so much left to do with not enough time left to achieve what I want to achieve. I still have unfinished dreams I guess. 

Jake: You ever wondered what would have happened if we hadn't had gotten pregnant?
Melanie: Jake...
Jake: Just let me get this out become I can't. I thought that baby had been an adventure. It took me awhile to realise it would have been your only adventure. Guess mother nature knew better huh.
Melanie: I'm so ashamed. Cos I felt relieved. All of a sudden I just needed a different life. 
Jake: And you done real well for yourself. I'm proud of you Mel. I'm just sorry I never danced with you at our wedding. I'm sure this next one's gonna go better for ya.
Melanie: Jake I can't do this.
Jake: I know.

In the film, Melanie felt that she needed a change in place (which happens to be a name of a film I really like). I can totally relate to that. I remember once when I was so heartbroken that I felt the need to run away to Australia so that I could fix myself. Except I didn't leave behind a husband and I didn't take 7 years to find myself again. Whatever comes next in my life, or what is in my distant future, I hope the change I undergo is for the better.

The Cast

Now this is the film that made me sit up and notice Josh Lucas, which is one of the reasons why I watched Stealth. I really enjoyed watching his performance in the film as Jake and I think that he and Reese Witherspoon had really great chemistry in the film. They had me hoping right from the start that they'd get back together. As for Patrick Dempsey, it was only after falling in love with the television series Grey's Anatomy that I paid attention to him. Looking back, I think he held his own against the leads in Sweet Home Alabama. As for Reese Witherspoon, needless to say, I think she was fantastic in the film. She was such a bitch to all her friends back in Alabama that I wanted to slap her, but when she apologised and was starting to remember the southern girl inside, like her friends, I forgave her too. 

I was really tickled to see Fred Ward in the film because the only other film I remember him in the film Tremors, which, strangely enough, I really love. The other supporting cast members like Dakota Fanning, Candice Bergen, and Ethan Embry were also awesome to watch in the film. All in all, I think that Sweet Home Alabama is well casted, well acted, and truth be told, I love the script and story. But of course, I am a sucker for romance, so I'm biased I guess.

I love this movie. It's one of those films that I never tire off and I can watch over and over again. 

(1) Director Andy Tennant has directed films like It Takes Two (1995), Ever After (1998), Anna and the King (1999), Hitch (2005), and The Bounty Hunter (2010)
(2) Resse Witherspoon has acted in films like Cruel Intentions (1999), Legally Blonde (2001), Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003), Vanity Fair (2004), Walk the Line (2005), Just Like Heaven (2005), Penelope (2006), Water for Elephants (2011), and This Means War (2012)
(3) Josh Lucas has acted in films like American Psycho (2000), A Beautiful Mind (2001), Sweet Home Alabama (2002), Hulk (2003), Secondhand Lions (2003), Stealth (2005), Stolen (2009), Life As We Know It (2010), The Lincoln Lawyer (2011), J. Edgar (2011), and Stolen (2012).
(4) Patrick Dempsey is a regular on the television series Grey’s Anatomy but has also acted in films like Outbreak (1995), The Emperor’s Club (2003), Freedom Writers (2007), Enchanted (2007), Made of Honour (2008), Valentine’s Day (2010), and Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
(5) Candice Bergen has acted in films like Miss Congeniality (2000), The Women (2008), Bride Wars (2009), and The Romantics (2010)
(6) Fred Ward has acted in films like Tremors (1990), Tremors 2: Aftershocks (1996), and Summer Catch (2001)
(7) Dakota Fanning has acted in films like I Am Sam (2001), Uptown Girls (2003), War of the Worlds (2005), Charlotte’s Web (2006), Push (2009), The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009), The Runaways (2010), The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010), The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (2011), and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 (2012)

(8) Ethan Embry has acted in films like That Thing You Do! (1996), Can't Hardly Wait (1998), Timeline (2003), Harold & Kumar Go To Whitecastle (2004), and Eagle Eye (2008).

(9) Melanie Lynskey has acted in films like Ever After (1998), Coyote Ugly (2000), Sweet Home Alabama (2002), Shattered Glass (2003), Flags Of Our Fathers (2006), Up In The Air (2009), and Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World (2012). She is currently plays the role of Rose in the television series Two And A Half Men (2003-present) and has guest starred in shows like The Shield, The L Word, Psych, and House. 

The Eclectic Reviewer thinks… Sweet Home Alabama will take you down memory lane and will make you ask yourself if you’ve found your soul mate and if there’s anyone in your life who has changed you, for good.  (4.5 of 5)

* Movie Poster from Wikipedia

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