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The Meyerowitz Stories

A moving tale of a family. Like every family and its dysfunctionality, Meyerowitz is a little high on the dysfunction. With children, and step children and self obsessed parents, the movie reflects a lot of peoples homes. 

Its funny but not funny at all. The movie is extremely real and touches so many chords of so many of us, leading our lives. I saw it on Netflix and totally loved the movie. 

While Danny, Mathew and Jean are the three siblings from different mothers but same father. They are shown bonding really well, especially when senior Meyerowitz, the eccentric self obsessed father played by Dustin Hoffman, falls terribly ill. A tale of aging parents and settled but unsettled children. Its a tale of love and no love, its also a tale of trying to be loved but finding people too caught up in their own lives. 
I for one, loved Danny, Adam Sandlers character, who is a failed musician trying to get the attention he never got from his father in this old age. On the other hand Mathew his successful
son, who runs a financial services firm, resents his father for giving him too much attention and actually not loving him for who he was, but who he thought he should be. Jean on the other hand their plain jane sister, played beautifully, by Elizabeth Marvel, tries to balance out things in her own way. She is quite 'Ok' with anything and everything, and has a quiet disposition which comes across as cool.

Why am i giving such a boring synopsis of the movie. Its a beautiful story of a broken family and an overbearing father, a sculptor who has passed his prime and who has little or no interest in people around him. 

One of the most funniest and interesting scenes in the movie is for me, the scene where, the brothers get to know of an old family friend who abuses their sister Jean and in their own way get back at him. Only thing is the man is 90 years old and has lost most of his memory and needs help to move around. They damage his car and its cute the way they want to avenge what he did to their sister decades ago. Jean on the other hand comes and tells them that this is stupid and that what are they doing, the man has lost his senses and that it wasn't exactly abuse. But Danny says, that she was masturbated on when she was so young by a grown up man, this incident must have traumatized her for life. Its very cute what they do for their sister. 

In reality, what happens when a girl reveals something like this after ages, that "Look, your nephew 'X' did this to me, one day in the balcony on the swing." What do they do, when you tell them, "Look, "Y" did this to me on the pretext of teaching me a two wheeler." What do they do, when you tell them, "Look, 'z', spoke dirty to me and it was verbal abuse. What do your folks do. In my experience and in various homes of friends, i have spoken to - Take a deep sigh, look perplexed, shocked, ashamed, angry and then blurt out - "why didn't you tell us at that time?" err, because i was 8, 10 and then 13. And I didn't know how to tell you guys. Now you know, punch him, slap him, do something. But, responses like - "Hmmmm".. or "Shocked face".. or.. "Long silence" but no action. 

And later, maybe really later, you realize, you don't expect any action, because you want no drama. 
Because, you are done with family drama. And digging up will be no less than any family drama. 

The Meyerowitz are every family in the world, a little functional and a lot dysfuntional or vice versa. No family has it all in place, infact none of us have it all figured out. But should abuse among us be ignored? Today's atmosphere is speaking a lot about abuse within the family. But should it also be blown up and talked about years later in some family function and create discord. Its all so confusing. Like many hindi movies like, 'Highway', 'Monsoon Wedding', spoke about childhood abuse, and then went ahead and showed how the perpetrator was made to be accountable in front of the whole family. There was a whole lot of drama there when the girl in question shouts and laments about her abuser and how he did not stop even though she pleaded that, she was a little child. 

It brings back lot of memories to each woman and these scenes make us think, why were we quiet, what can be done now. I have also gone to the extent of making peace with those incidents and being courteous to the people who did this. Was i naive? Do they deserve my forgiveness, are they even aware of what they did? I am sure in some corner of their conscience they know they did this to me. But I really do not wish to rake it up any longer. I do not wish to avenge anything. Maybe in a way Jean is every girl, every girl is Jean. Jean sees the man who masturbated at her, as an old man who has lost it. Who is no more capable of defending himself. In the same way many of us no more want to fight our perpetrators anymore. There is a Jean in every girl. 


Lalita Misra said…
You're right. There's Jean in every girl.Let bygones be bygone.

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