Monday, July 2, 2012

Have You Heard About That Boy Down The Street?

Our new thing that we do when we are going on a long bus or train trip is to load up the iphone with a movie. I have a long Netflix list and this keeps us entertained.  We were on our way out to Jersey on the train to a party and we decided to watch I Love You Philip Morris.  It was exactly the right amount of time to watch 1/2 going and 1/2 coming back. Well, almost. I still need to watch the last 7 minutes, but I know what happens.  Now, I totally got this movie confused with Thank You For Smoking and was bewildered for about 20 minutes when tobacco was not mentioned.  I kept looking at Marlon like, what movie is this?

Anyways... I keep thinking about this movie. Spoiler alert, stop reading if you don't really want to know details of the movie.  I promise I will be talking about adoption too.

The movie is based on a true story about conman, Steven Russell.  It starts off, of course, with parents telling their 8ish year old kid that he is adopted. The kid grows up and tries to the best person possible (to please his parents?).  Sets out to find his birthmother who still lives in his hometown, she rejects him and then he moves his wife and child from VA to TX.  He gets in a car accident, has an epiphany, and decides to be who he really is - gay and live his life to the fullest.  He leaves his family and pursues living life to the fullest which means lying, stealing and breaking out of prison numerous times. All, he claims, for love.

In one part of the movie, his ex-wife says to him "I just wonder is the gay thing and stealing something that goes hand and hand or...?" That was funny because I was wondering the whole time if the lying and stealing was because of the being adopted thing.  I was curious to see if there was anything written about the adoption part of Steven Russell's life.  The only thing I could find was a excerpt from The Guardian.
In regards to Steve's motivation, Jim Carrey, the actor who plays Russell in I Love You Phillip Morris, is quoted as saying: "The bottom line was that he [Russell] wanted to be loved and he felt disenfranchised his entire life."
Russell politely dismisses this thesis when I put it to him, but there is much in his background to suggest it might be true. In 1957, Russell was given up for adoption at birth by his mother, who had just divorced his biological father and did not want to raise a child out of wedlock. Russell later tracked her down only to discover that she had remarried his father and given birth to three other children, each of whom was Russell's biological sibling. "I felt rejected," is all he will say now. "I had a little bit of a problem when I found out."
Maybe I am over-sensitive about the adoption thing and reading into this.  I  do think adoption has a profound effect on the child.  An adopted child may feel they have greater expectations on them since they were chosen.  Or they don't want to be given away again so they want to be extra perfect.  Also, Steve seems to be driven by the need to be loved and accepted.  This comes back to that whole nature vs. nurture issue.  What personality traits were inherited? Was Steve predisposed to lead a life as a con-man or was it the pressure of being adopted. Or maybe adoption didn't have anything to do with it.  This is what goes through my mind, people. I think every parents worries a little ( a lot) about how to not mess up their child.

This movie was supposed to be simple entertainment for a long train ride. It wasn't even the movie I thought I was going to watch, but I am still thinking about it days later. Now about those last 7 minutes...

♥ If you would like to help us adopt, we still have puzzle pieces available! Click on the fundraiser tab for more information and to get yours!  Thank you.

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