I saw in a recent magazine article that Meg Ryan was taking a break from acting to focus more on her family and personal life. In light of that development I decided to showcase a small sampling of her movies in the following movie blog entries.
The first movie is Hanging Up from 2000 and stars Meg Ryan, Diane Keaton and Lisa Kudrow as three sisters coping in very different ways with the demands of their elderly and ailing father played by the late, great, Walter Matthau. The title refers to the frenzied exchanges the sisters have in trying to deal with their father while trying to navigate the complexities of their own lives and relationships. While the movie has some enjoyable comedic touches it is by no means a straight comedy. It shows with touching poignancy how difficult it can be to be the caregiver of an elderly parent who is in mental and physical decline, especially for the Meg Ryan character Eve who appears to carry the brunt of caring for her father and is overwhelmed by the challenges that presents while at the same time feeling as though she needs to be the one to take charge as it were. There is one particular affecting scene where Eve pours her heart out to a stranger, the mother of someone she has had a minor car accident with and as the woman gives the nurturing Eve some much needed nurturing of her own we are reminded that as much as we want to believe we can keep it all together and be strong for those we love and who need us, there is no shame in acknowledging the fact that all of us no matter how strong needs someone to turn to and lean on at times. Indeed it takes great strength to admit when you’ve reached your limit and ask for help before your own mental and physical collapse. This life is not an easy one and part of how we survive the challenges of life is by being brave and courageous enough to reach out to other people when we need them and realize that no one has to go it alone. I also like another sweet scene in the film where Eve is performing some sort of light trick for her father and in that moment father and daughter are sharing a tender moment. When someone is dealing with the progressive illness of a loved one, especially a parent those moments are precious touchstones when they happen and can be cherished memories during harder times.
The second Meg Ryan pick is an older movie from 1987 called Innerspace and has her staring along with Dennis Quaid and Martin Short in a very funny, enjoyable gem of a film. The basic premise is Dennis Quaid is a test pilot named Tuck who while taking part in a secret government miniaturization project winds up being injected into an unsuspecting hypochondriac named Jack, played by the hilarious Martin Short. The scene in the doctor’s office where Jack still unaware of what has happened is suddenly hearing the voice of Tuck in his ear canal is hilarious, although probably one of my favorite scenes is when Jack’s supermarket nightmare comes to life, absolutely priceless. Underneath the hilarity is the story of a man who has been afraid to really live life learns the true measure of what he can do when the miniaturized Tuck, murderous thieves who want the secret to miniaturization and Tuck’s spunky ex girlfriend Lydia played by Ryan, all force Jack way out of his comfort zone. The result is the transformation of all involved for the better with great laughs and fun action scenes along the way. Yes, life can be scary, but oftentimes the greatest rewards come when we push through our fears and embrace life and of course laugh whenever possible at the unbelievable and absurd.