Wednesday, September 1, 2010

IF Ambush?

Mic's post on September 1st over at IF Crossroads was titled "IF where you least expect it." What I thought it was going to be about was not what it was about, but what it was about is not relevant to what I want to write about. (Do you follow?)

What I thought it was going to be about was how infertility references can ambush you in pop culture. For example, there have been a couple movies recently which made noise across the IF blogosphere, to be specific: "UP" and "Julie and Julia."

As I was only on the fringes of the extensive commentary on both of those movies, neither of which I have seen, they seemed to have only a passing, decidedly implied reference to IF. So, after watching it, you could say I was a bit surprised at not remembering reading about the strong IF theme within "Did You Hear About the Morgans?"

I dunno, maybe I was tardy to class or skipped school that day and missed the commotion? Anyone?

So, there DH and I were, prepared to watch a Hugh Grant rom-com and wham! hello! infertility references out the wazoo! DH and I looked at each other as references started hitting closer and closer to home - and the movie got less and less funny and a little too real. Of course, thankfully, with Sarah Jessica Parker having had her own publicly acknowledged fertility and surrogacy issues the approach never seemed to slip into stereotypes, well, at least until the end (which I had some issues with...see below for spoiler details). In my opinion, there was a perfectly reasonable point at which the movie could have ended without veering into stereotypical cliches and fanciful timelines - but it didn't, to my regret.

And because it didn't, instead of leaving me laughing or satisfied with a standard rom-com happy ending, I found myself expressing my frustration to DH who could only agree with me and frankly, left me feeling a bit unsatisfied. Like going to a nice restaurant expecting a regularly sized meal but being served haute cuisine portions so you have to stop at a drive-through on the way home to actually get something to fill you up.

Have you seen the movie? What was your impression?

~~~Spoiler Alert: Don't read the following paragraph unless you have (a) already seen the movie, or (b) don't mind knowing the ending before you watch a movie~~~

During the movie it is disclosed that SJP's character had contacted an adoption agency two months before the events of the movie transpired. At the end of the movie, there's a screen flash indicating 6 months have passed. And then you see semi-closeups of SJP's character and Hugh Grant's characters leaving a plane arriving from an another country (Asian?) carrying an adopted infant. It's my impression based on what I have read online and elsewhere that 8 months from application to being able to bring a child home is an exceedingly unrealistic time frame for an international adoption. Then, just to hammer it home, you finally see a full length shot of SJP and whoops! she's pregnant thanks to a bout of make-up sex earlier in the movie.

Bad taste, meet mouth.


  1. It's amazing the number of times the theme of infertility comes up in movies, etc. I guess I never noticed it before. But once you have a wound, it is much more susceptible to salt. And I guess it is wound I'll have my whole life, even with a baby. I guess when it is done tastefully, that's one thing. But cliches? No thank you!

  2. I understand that movies present a suspend-belief world. But surely there is a difference between finding one's soul mate and falling pregnant. One can find his/her soul mate whenever, which is not the case with pregnancy. And the movies perpetuate this non-sense with 'just relax' and 'it will come when it's meant to'. Why do they choose to gloss over a reality that is so painful, is beyond me. And hope is grim when even the independent movies come up with sth like Juno. I won't hold my breath waiting for a real story to be told.

  3. Having just recently found out my friend's struggles with TTC and that her daughter was the product of IVF, I have to say I did not enjoy the movie very much. It made me think of my friend's 4 year long struggle to conceive and SJP's character magically getting pregnant after adopting was just... ugh. So Hollywood? I can't describe it. My friend was nearly in tears (and so was I) as she related her struggles getting pregnant and now she's about to start the journey again for baby #2. I'm going to be there for her every step of the way if she will have me.

    I cried like a baby in UP. First they miscarried, then they couldn't get pregnant again and they ended up childless. There was more heartbreaking stuff too. I couldn't believe that was a children's movie. It depressed me. And my niece thinks I'm crazy.