Thursday, November 03, 2005

Comedy can be tragedy disguised

Meryle Streep's new movie "Prime" is such a case. Streep plays a New York Jewish psychotherapist with two young adult children about 23 and 20.

Her son Dave falls in love with Uma Thurman's character Rafi, a 37 year old divorced, very successful professional woman with no children. Rafi's a very decent, honest person who longs for the love and attention she never got from her own family. The movie suggests a broken family, and not very much maternal attention. Streep is Rafi's psychotherapist.

The comedy turns on Streep's unfolding discovery it's her son who Rafi's talking about in her sessions. How Streep plays the growing awareness of the situation is comic genius. Clear why she's one of the great actors of our time. Also, Uma Thurman is coming into her own as a serious actor capable of playing to perfection a psychologically very complex character.

The Rafi character is the most psychologically interesting. An example of price we pay as a society by failing to distinguish between cognitive and emotional learning. We accept a high divorce rate, and the majority of children spending extended hours in daycare because in the absence of abuse most meet their cognitive developmental milestones.

Despite her great beauty, good character, and career success Rafi's clueless about the emotional complexities of family and married life. She can't make the psychological leap from the intensely pleasurable rush of initial romantic feeling to the day to day empathetic caring which characterizes a loving commitment over time. Her behavior in the relationship mirrors our growing understanding of the neurophysiology of love.

Dave's personal situation reflects the dilemma so many young, educated Americans face getting started today. While presumably a college graduate has a low wage, blue collar job. With New York City rents in the stratosphere not surprisingly he lives with his grandparents.

Meryl's character goes on and on with her son about Rafi not just because of the 14 years age differencebut that she's not Jewish. In these times a parent's real lucky a kid brings home someone of the opposite sex!!!!!!!!!!!

Movie's absolutely terrific. Streep and Thurman at their best!


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