Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Drama When a Man Loves a Woman (1994)

When a Man Loves a Woman (1994)

Cast

Andy Garcia, Meg Ryan, Lauren Tom, Tina Majorino, Mae Whitman, Ellen Burstyn

The Movie

Alice (Ryan) has a drinking problem.  Her pilot husband Michael (Garcia) takes her out for their anniversary and she gets intoxicated.  This is all good and well until they return home.  The alarm of the car parked in the street goes off and Alice stumbles to the car with a carton of eggs which she proceeds to throw all over the car.  Initially, one would think this is all in good fun.  It’s not fun when she goes out with a colleague after work (she’s a guidance counsellor at a school) and forgets that she has to be home to look after her two girls as Michael has a flight.  Feeling that she is under a lot of stress, Michael decides to take her on holiday where she almosts drowns falling drunkenly out the boat.  Michael tells her that she has to slow down and Alice says, “I promise you, I promise me“.  We then witness Alice’s addictive behaviour when she hides her bottles of booze around the house and drinks on the sly.  Initially it looks like Alice is a social drinker but it soon becomes evident that she is an alcoholic.  She hits her lowest point when she backhands her older daughter, Jessica (Tina Majorino) for what she believes, in her intoxicated state, is disobedience.  We then see Alice ‘fall’ when she crashes to the floor in the shower. 

Admitting she has a problem, she goes into rehabilitation.  It’s during this period that Michael is left to take care of his younger daughter Casey (Mae Whitman) and Jessica.  This proves to be quite a challenge and Michael finds himself depending on their pregnant nanny (Lauren Tom).  The story highlights the difficulty being an alcoholic but more than this it shows the struggle dealing with sobriety and that living ‘one day at a time’ is way harder.  We see how Alice’s whole outlook on life changes and that sadly, her and Michael no longer have commonality.  It is this lack of common ground that forces them to drift apart. 

Have a box of tissues ready when R.E.M.’s Sometimes plays while Michael is spending a day with his two girls on the beach!

Commendation

In my opinion, this is a beautifully written script by Ronald Bass and Al Franken and brilliantly directed by Mexican Luis Mandoki.

Ryan and Garcia portray their roles superbly however Tom and Majorino solidify this ensemble.  What a pity we only see Ellen Burstyn briefly as Ryan’s mother.

Whilst this movie only touches on alcoholism it definitely gave me a better understanding of the challenges alcoholics face on the road to sobriety.  Moreover, it shows that love and perseverance can conquer all. 

A moving, insightful movie that will sadden but enlighten you!

2 thoughts on “When a Man Loves a Woman (1994)”

  1. You got me!!! I’m a sucker for a good love story (watch this space…)Wow, thanks for your comment Michael. Coming from you, I’m elated! Your work rocks!

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