Mother/daughter relationships, the stuff of legend. This week’s movie of choice is Because I Said So, the mantra of mothers everywhere. Also because I love Mandy Moore as an actress; so let’s begin shall we.
Because I Said So is a movie about mother/daughter relationships, and the lengths that a mother will go to find happiness for her children. The story is that of Daphne (Diane Keaton), a loving but overbearing mother of three girls. Two of her daughters: Maggie (Lauren Graham) and Mae (Piper Perabo) are in loving, marriages. The third Milly (Mandy Moore), just broke up with her boyfriend after he admitted that he had been sleeping with her ex-boyfriend. Yep, that’s right, her boyfriend was gay, and thus the relationship ended. Daphne, in all of her motherly wisdom, is sure that Milly is incapable of finding and sustaining a good solid relationship, so she places an ad to meet eligible men for her daughter to date. Keep in mind that Milly has no idea any of this is happening! So Daphne meets all these guys; some are weird, some are creepy, some are just freaking nuts. Finally she finds the perfect match in Jason (Tom Everett Scott) and arranges a “accidental” meeting of the two when Milly caters an event for Jason’s architecture firm. Unknown to Daphne, Milly soon meets another man, Johnny (Gabriel Macht) a musician that Daphne had turned down after she told him he would just break her daughter’s heart. In the process of Daphne’s scheming, meddling, and sneaking, Milly finds her own perfect match after being alone for so long, all the while figuring out if there is an end to motherly love.
The movie resonates with me for a million reasons. The main one being I feel I am the Milly to my mother’s Daphne. No my mother hasn’t schemed to find me a boyfriend, nor is she a professional chef (my mom cooks one thing amazingly well; beans, no joke, those things are magical, pardon the pun), but she is the mom who knows everything. She knows everything about my life, we’re so alike we fight, she wants me to be in a relationship, she is constantly calling to check up on me, etc. Yes, my mom is overbearing, but I don’t know any differently. I look at my phone right now and see that she has called me 6 times and it isn’t even 10 p.m. Six separate conversations in one day with my mom who can barely operate her phone. Technology isn’t her forte, she can barely operate texting on her phone, but she knows how to bug the ever-living life outta me with that iPhone (yes, I’m referring to the fact that she figured out Face Time). She wants the best for me, but I think, in her own way, is still unsure about how to go about pushing me to my happy ending. She and my dad met young, got married a bit after college, and have been together ever since. I think for her to see me as her oldest daughter in my 20s, not interested in any sort of major relationship because I am busy with school and work, is frightening for her. She’s happy I’m independent, strong willed and intelligent, but I lack that sense of stability that makes her feel better about my future. That concept I will marry, have 2.5 kids and live my life out happily. She finds it strange that I am in no rush. Ironically, though she got married in her early 20s, she didn’t have me or my sister till much much later since she focused on her goals and career. So for her to struggle with my singledom is interesting to watch. It’s interesting to hear her concerns and her anxiety. It also doesn’t help that my cousins are getting married and my aunts are all up in her face with their wedding details. I honestly do think that when I do watch this movie with her, there is a sense of calm that sweeps throughout her system, that she knows that everything will be ok. That I will find my happy ending eventually, even if it isn’t on her time table.
I see a lot of myself in Milly. I am ambitious, I do like to cook (though I am not a professional either), I want to own my own business, I want to have that perfect relationship, and I want the happy ending that she craves. I am like her in the way that I am not willing to change myself just to find a person that makes my family happy, or to makes the other person happy, like Milly with Jason. I have to be the best version of myself with someone if the relationship is going to work, just like Milly and her relationship with Johnny. Milly learns through the two relationships, both of her mother’s creation, what is important to her as a person, what she is willing to sacrifice of herself.
All in all, I think this movie is fantastic, even in its super cheesiness. There is so much to be done and shown in a mother/daughter movie. It is a movie about self-awareness, about what you value about each other, and most importantly about learning to be happy. I think what attracts me so much to this one is that so much of it is relatable. Everyone can see something of themselves in this movie, something that makes them yell “That’s my mom!” That makes it all the better, and because I said so.
Image via impawards.com