When a man loves a woman

Year: 1994

When a man loves a woman is a movie that created a huge impact on me. To what extent can a husband love his wife. To what extent will he go to make it better for her.

At the same time the movie is very realistic. I am not kidding, but I was dumb-struck through out the movie. It was as if I was desperately waiting for things to improve. It was as if I was living right there with them, a part of their family. I cried with them. I laughed with them. This kind of impact very few movies manage to create. When a man loves a woman is definitely one of them.

Andy Garcia‘s character in the movie is certainly every woman’s dream man. The kind of patience, tolerance and love he shows towards his alcoholic wife, Alice, played by Meg Ryan, is almost too good to be true! He doesnt judge her, despite the fact that she is a chronic alcoholic. His love for her doesnt diminish in any way. At the same time, he wants his wife back when she comes back from the rehabiliation center and the more he tries to protect her, the more she thinks he is humiliating her by not letting her make decisions on her own.

They both have two adorable daughters called Jessica and Casey. And the kind of torture these two girls go through when they see their mom in a pitiable state, makes your heart cry for them. They soon mature, the elder one does… She sees her mom become a crazy fanatic who is yearning for drink every now and then… In one particular instance, when Alice is back after lunch, she is in a really bad state, because she is stone drunk. She has a splitting head-ache. Her little girl is scared after seeing mom in this state and stands back and asks her if she is ok. She gets irritated, hits her hard and then passes out. The little girl thinks her mom is dead and that particular instance changes her life forever. She is scared of her mom and becomes indifferent to her.

The kind of effort that Michael (Andy Garcia) puts in to make sure that the mother and daughter bond again… He leaves them alone to play. He does everything he can to make them better. And yet, she wants to leave him in the end. He doesnt know what he did wrong. They separate. And then comes forward the plight of a man who misses his wife… The plight of a father who misses his daughters…

A couple of really important issues are brought forward in this movie – The most important being addiction to Alcohol! I was always dead against alcoholism, when I was younger. Fortunately no one in my family drank, so I was not exposed to the hazards of drinking early on in life. It was only when I saw some friends families suffering because of an alcoholic father that I realised what an evil it was. 

But, in the office parties and College parties, there always used to be guys who drank but, they were so much in control, that it looked for sometime as though drinking is not all that bad. It is a personal choice afterall. I continued to remain a tee-to-taller, but certainly became more tolerant towards people who drank.

No longer. This movie has brought me back to the same old person who was extremely intolerant to all the people who drank. For the simple reason, that even though it starts as a normal occasional drinking, you never know when it runs out of hand. And then it not only ruins you as a person, it ruins your family. It ruins your kids. Your husband/Wife. The worst part is the shame and guilt an alcoholic suffers from, when he comes out of the intoxication. Shame and guilt for the way he behaved. For the way he conducted himself. It only pulls him further down into misery and desolation. Which makes him drink more. Kind of results in a vicious cycle. To cut it all short, it is so not worth the risk.

I know I have probably touched a wrong nerve with all those people who drink occassionally and think it is not wrong to do so. I am sorry, but I stand by my point. And I respect yours.