Thursday, May 22, 2014

Return to Zero - My Thoughts

As I stated last week, I didn't intend to watch this movie.  At least not right away.  In fact, Saturday rolled around and I had completely forgotten about it until Rich reminded me.  He had set the DVR to record it and I assumed that we would watch it months from now.  Rich had to pick up Emily from that half sleepover birthday party shortly after 8:00 that night and by the time we had everyone and everything settled, it was 9:00.  Rich said he was curious and wanted to see what the movie was like and asked if he could put it on.  I said sure thinking that he was just going to turn the TV on and we would pick up the movie midway through.  Nope, he actually went back to the beginning.

I felt anxious watching it so I decided the best way to cope with that was to edit pictures at the same time to give myself a distraction.  I sprawled out on the couch with my MacBook perched on my legs and glanced between my computer screen and the TV.  That seemed to help but didn't completely erase that shaky feeling inside.

So what did I think of the movie?

It's good.  It's a good movie.

What I liked:
  • It was believable.  Whether that's because of the quality of the acting or the writing or both, it didn't feel like I was watching a scripted movie.
  • The support from (and to) Maggie's pregnant BFF.  At the time of Abigail's death, two of my close friends were both pregnant and due 6-8 weeks after me.  When she died, I was fearful that my friends would be afraid of me or view me as bad luck and not want to be around me.  That didn't happen and our friendships didn't change.  I know I probably liked this aspect of the film because I could relate to it but I think it helped establish that those of us who have lost don't feel contempt towards other pregnant woman and that other babies aren't our babies.  
  • Everything happens for a reason.  How many of us who have suffered a loss have heard this?  (Personally, it can drive me crazy.)  Maggie's mother comes across as a believer of "everything happens for a reason" and Maggie fights back.  Near the end of the movie, Maggie's mom reveals that she too had lost a baby but then went on to have Maggie.  I liked how Maggie finally understood where her mom was coming from but didn't have to accept the "everything happens for a reason" theory.  It was a silent conclusion.  We all grieve in our own way.
  • The God conversation.  Maggie's reply to that woman at her friend's party is exactly how I feel.

What I didn't like:
  • That it was on Lifetime.  This channel targets a specific population.  We all know that.  I wish that it would have had the opportunity to have been viewed by a broader audience.  
  • Lack of feeling guilty.  From my own experience and from what I've witnessed in the loss community, most moms feel an overwhelming sense of guilt.  That wasn't one of the emotions expressed in the movie.  I don't think Maggie should have felt guilty and maybe because they had an answer as to how it happened, she didn't.
  • The affair.  Again, I know - this is their story, not mine.  I wouldn't want those who haven't been through a loss to think that it necessarily leads to marital problems.  To me, it seemed that there were already some issues before Arthur was born.  (Personally, caring for and parenting triplets has been far more taxing on my marriage than Abigail's death.  In fact, after Abigail's death, I think Rich and I were closer.)  
  • No "working for the man" problems.  Maggie and her husband both are seemingly self-employed which means that after Arthur was born, they didn't have to deal with calling HR or their boss or complete paperwork to request a leave absence or figure out if Maggie would still be eligible for short term disability or a leave under FMLA.  There's one scene with Maggie and a client and that seems to be it.  Then she doesn't appear to be working and money issues aren't apparent.  No one's worried about making the next mortgage payment or paying the credit card bill.  That's not the norm and one aspect of the movie that frustrated me.
  • Flat stomach.  This one's super picky but it jumped out at me.  There's the scene when Maggie's getting dressed after her doctor's appointment.  It may be at her 6 week appointment - I don't think they specify.  She's shown with just a bra and jeans on and her stomach is as flat as it can be.  (Minnie's in fantastic shape.)  That seemed completely unrealistic to me.  I know some people do look like that 6 weeks out but how many?  I don't know why they had to show her like that.  

Naturally, and as expected, it was impossible for me to not compare my story to this movie, which was not my story, and maybe that's selfish and not completely fair.  I'll repeat what I said earlier though - it's a good movie.   

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