Got family? It’s not such a straightforward question anymore. How could it be, for me and for so many others of my thirtysomething generation? We marry late or not at all — or we’re gay and told our marriages don’t count — and are often separated from relatives by states or continents, but we’re still hard-
This is what’s great about a Don Roos movie: He acknowledges, sometimes explicitly but more often implicitly, that the nuclear family has gone nuclear, has exploded and expanded into new quantum planes of existence, is remaking itself on the most fundamental of levels… and that this is not necessarily a sign of the apocalypse. Is it too early to say that there is “a” Don Roos movie? Is three movies to his credit as writer/
There’s something really real about Roos’s films: they sing with truths about how we define love today and why we embrace chaos over order in personal relationships, truths that transcend the artificiality of film. In Happy Endings, Roos utilizes a kind of storytelling fakeness to deliberately keep your attention where he wants it, and not on irrelevancies. Placards explain key points to us throughout the film, ones we need to know but that aren’t worth getting into suspense over — so-
And how she got to that desperate point is in a futile and foolish chase — or so Roos slyly portrays it — that ranks genetics over love and time and committment and respect in the equation of what defines who is important to us. Mamie is trying to hunt down the now-
It’s not so much that Roos disdains “traditional” ideas about marriage but that he holds them in no greater respect than the family forms we’re creating for ourselves today — the mercenary Jude is certainly a poster child for how any relationship can be abused when money or security rather than love or passion is a primary motivator, and she herself learns the dangers of putting anything other than emotion first. Happy Endings is, in many ways, the lighter side of Crash, from earlier this year, but where Crash asked us to consider the myriad invisible ways we’re all connected to one another, Endings reminds us that it’s not just some cosmic joke or mystery that binds us: we bind ourselves with the choices we make.