Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger
What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer
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|Director:||Adam Brooks—“Wimbledon,” “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason,” “Practical Magic”|
|Producer:||Tim Bevan, Liza Chasin, Bobby Cohen, Eric Fellner, Kerry Orent|
“Three relationships. Three disasters.”
“Definitely, Maybe” aims to be a sweet, romantic comedy. Throughout the movie, it succeeds. There were smiling moments and even funny ones. However, Hollywood’s definition of sweet and tender rarely coincide with God’s Word.
The movie opens up with Will Hayes (a convincing Ryan Reynolds) receiving his final divorce papers. After leaving work, he goes to pick up his young daughter Maya (Abigail Breslin) for an overnight visit. Hoping to get her dad to reminiscence about the better times, Maya asks her dad to tell her a story. She wants to know how he met and fell in love with her mother; Will is immediately reluctant. With the much persistence, Will finally agrees, but with his own stipulations. He will start from the very beginning and tell Maya of the three serious women in his life before his marriage. He’ll change their names and some facts. It’ll be Maya’s job to determine which of the three women is her mother.
The story begins in 1992 when Will leaves Madison, Wisconsin to work on the Clinton presidential campaign. We soon meet the three women in his life. We first meet Emily Jones (Elizabeth Banks) Will’s college sweetheart. After this, we’re introduced to the aspiring journalist Summer Hartley (Rachel Weisz). The final corner of the triangle is the free-spirited April. These three women come in and out of Will’s life at different times, making it a little more complicated for Maya to solve the “love story mystery.”
The cast was strong; the script decent for its genre. It was nice to see Ryan Reynolds in a stronger, cleaner film. He shows the expanse of his acting ability as the loving, devoted father. Rachel Weisz, Elizabeth Banks, and Isla Fisher all play their roles excellently. I enjoyed watching how the actress all contributed in making the triangle convincing. One of the film’s charms is how we get to go back to a “time before cell phones and reality television” the year 1992.
People expecting an action movie should not see this film. “Definitely, Maybe” relies on dialogue and character interaction to show what events took place off-screen. Some might consider this movie too slow. This film also tries to cover 17 years into less than two hours. Since it covers the lives of four people, there was not enough room for much character growth. Some viewers might get frustrated with the lack of finish.
I did enjoy how there was no nudity. There were some scenes which the characters were in bed and pre-marital sex is implied. However, they never showed any nudity or actual sex scenes. The kissing scenes were also not graphic, but were tastefully done. Although no scenes were shown, the character’s dialogue allows you to fully know what actions took place off-screen.
Smoking and drinking are frowned upon in this movie. When Maya learned her father smoked and drank heavily, she was upset. He told her how he had been young and stupid at the time. He had since quit. I enjoyed how he showed his growth.
While dating another, Will begins to kiss April. However, he immediately quits and leaves her apartment before fully giving into the temptation. This reminded me of how God promises us that we’ll never be tempted beyond what we can bear. He also promises to always give an exit. In Will’s example, the exit was the front door. In 1 Corinthians 10:13, Paul wrote of this promise:
“…And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand under it.”
This movie has moderate cursing; however, they would congest the uses, making them more obvious. In total I counted 5 sh_, 3 a**, 3, b_ch, 1 b___rd, and 1h*l.
It does use the Lord’s name in vain at least 16 times and Jesus’ name about 5 times.
The film’s main offensiveness is how casually and carelessly sex is used throughout the dialogue. Will’s daughter Maya learns about sexual education in school. She constantly talks about “penises” and “vaginas” throughout the film. She calls her dad a “slut.” She believes her father must have learned he loved her mother when he was about to have sex with another woman. She said it a bit more graphically than I did. Will reads Summer’s journal and reads how she had a lesbian experience with his college sweetheart Emily. When Hayes finally meets Summer, her live-in boyfriend tells Hayes that he’s Summer’s “daddy.” She kisses Hayes and tells him that she likes to give into her curiosities. They also have a lengthy discussion about sex. She tells him on more than one occasion she’d like to “rip his clothes off.” Will’s friend throughout the movie talks about threesomes, foursomes, and how infidelity is merely only a weakness. The interns even toast to a man’s infidelity. They are several more sexual jokes and references. In this film, pre-marital sex is dangerously shown as a normal part of relationships and of life.
It also portrays marriage as an “overly-used consumer product” that most people fail at it. This movie shows divorce is normal and totally appropriate. Even Maya quickly forgot her original mission and wanted her father to be truly happy with another woman. The ending will not satisfy the Christian viewer who knows what God truly commands of marriage. Jesus said,
I read other reviews of this movie, and they have been mostly positive. They almost all unanimously commend Ryan Reynolds and the supporting cast. I agree with their praises. However, as a Christian, I cannot recommend this movie to others. The ideals they preach are contrary to Scripture. The saturation of sex throughout the dialogue and plot will be insulting to most believers. In the end, God tells his children to stay pure. This movie does not help us do that.
Violence: None / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Mild
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.