Stephen Crippen Therapy

A blog about you (and me) by Stephen Crippen.

Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

“He needs a holiday”

Friday, May 4th, 2012

True confession: I have a soft spot in my heart for an old, funny, fluffy little film called “Shirley Valentine,” the story of a 42-year-old housewife named Shirley Bradshaw who has finally had it with the tiny, dreary life she’s been leading and decides to go to Greece to find her younger self, to become Shirley Valentine once again.

If you’re a stickler about spoilers, stop reading now and go watch it, because the clip I’ve linked to (below) is taken from the ending of the film, a scene that neatly captures what I try to get all of my couple clients to do: to look upon their exasperating, irritating, ill-behaved partners with the eye of compassion.

Before you watch the scene, you should know that while her husband never abused her in the film, he behaved like a shit to her. He treated her like his womanservant, and forgot their love story. They suffer a painful confrontation just before she leaves for Greece, and he, well, he misbehaves. And it takes him quite a while to figure out that he needs go after her if he wants to save their marriage.

I can’t get enough of the way she looks at him as he walks down the beach in his uncomfortable suit and flat suitcase and miserable middle-class-British moustache. Watch how this woman looks past all that and sees the boy she loved, and knows (perhaps for the first time) the real reason why he behaved so badly. It is so hard to do this with your spouse or partner. But when you can manage it, it is a sweet, lovely experience for both of you.

The scene starts at about 1:00, money quote at 2:03, but enjoy the first clip, too: it’s a teaser for the rest of the film. (Oh, and Joanna Lumley makes a cameo in the film: What. Is. Not. To. Like?!)

Movie recommendation: “Lars and the Real Girl”

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

One of my mentors (at last count, I have at least three…it’s good to learn from lots of different people!) introduced me to the film, “Lars and the Real Girl,” and a group of us watched it yesterday. You should rent it.

She told me that the film didn’t do well at the box office because people misunderstood the premise. They thought (from the trailers) that it was just an oddball movie about a guy who buys a sex doll and pretends the doll is real. It’s much more than that. It’s a sweet and insightful exploration of mental illness, grief, family, and community. Everyone in the film encounters Lars and his “girlfriend” and has to figure out how to respond to Lars’s delusional behavior. By the end, the responses of many of the characters are deeply moving. (And I went to school on the fantastic approach taken by Dagmar, the psychologist!)


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