Hollywood women

I went out on Wednesday night with a friend to see Mamma Mia. (I know - out in the middle of the week! I felt so grown up and hip and happening... although my use of the word 'hip' proves that I am a little bit to the left of 'up to the minute'...) Amongst the trailers before the film were trailers for Bonneville and The Women. I'm not particularly interested in either movie and I think it's largely because of the way they portray women's friendships. I realise this seems a little strange, given my previous post about women's friendships. There is a pretty big difference, though, between the friendships portrayed in these movies and friendships I have experienced.

The friendships portrayed in these movies, and others like it (eg, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Thelma and Louise, Beaches) are almost parodies of real friendships. Or perhaps it's real friendship to the power of 10. I'm starting to feel that my friendships are inadequate. I would certainly never be the subject of a Hollywood film. Let's see...
  1. I have no friendships that have lasted over three decades
  2. I have never nursed a friend through the last stages of a fatal illness
  3. I have never been on the run from the law with a friend
  4. My friends and I have never gone on a cross-country, coming of age road trip
  5. I've never had to tell a friend that her husband is unfaithful
  6. I have never confronted a friend about her drinking problem
  7. I've never competed with a friend for the affections of a man
In Hollywood terms my friendships are shallow and pathetic. But let's look at what I do have...
  1. Two friends gave me jobs cleaning their houses when I was studying and desperate for money in order to eat and pay rent
  2. My friends cook meals and do grocery shopping for me when I'm sick; and I cook for them when they're sick or just plain tired
  3. I pick up my friends' kids from youth group when they need a lift home
  4. My friends and I watch episodes of the West Wing and Black Books together and enjoy the time spent just hanging out
  5. My friends and I pray for and with each other
  6. One friend risked our friendship by getting tough and telling me I was depressed and had to see my doctor
  7. My friend's husband mowed my lawn last week because I don't have a lawnmower
None of this is worthy of a Hollywood movie, unless you make one of the characters a bitter, alcoholic, cancer-ridden amputee. Despite that, I know which friendships I'd rather have. I don't want to watch movies that make me feel like my friendships aren't real unless they follow a particular pattern. My friendships are real and warm and practical and loving and I will not allow them to be devalued by a Hollywood fantasy.


8 comments:

Hippomanic Jen said...

I'm with you. Except that I often watch West Wing alone. Because all my similar age friends live in other towns. *sniff, sniff*

femina said...

Heh - I was watching West Wing (alone) as I typed that post...

D.M. Cornish said...

I tell you, one of the early hurdles of joining myself to one of the opposite sex in a covenental relationship was that it is nothing like the saccharine, over-sexed crapulence shown in films. What a relief it was to have that settled in my soul. The devil's game is to at once inebriate us to the true depths of things whilst simulataneously make us unhappy with our lot, so that we seek shallow solutions... or am I just being melodramatic?

femina said...

I think you're spot on, D.M. I reckon the devil loves it when we're shallow and permanently dissatisfied.

Dee from Downunder said...

I love your real friendships!

You have great friends by the sounds of it.

femina said...

Oh, I sure do.

Louisa said...

It was just this thing that got me writing about Friendship on my blog last week. Why do movie/Tv portrayals of friendship always make us feel crap about the REAL, and MEANINGFUL friends we have in the real world not in lalaland!?!!

Katy said...

So true, one of my bestest friends i only see once a year - so that would be a boring movie!
There were always girls in school that had 20 friends in their group, and i always had a small group, but i would rather have 2 really good friends than 20 mediocre friends, thats for sure.

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