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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Management, the movie

Management Most movies I watch, have little impact. I watch them, laugh a little, and then move on. That’s okay with me. But Management was not one of those movies. I’m still processing it even though I watched it 24 hours ago. I may watch it again this weekend to pick up things I missed. But there’s one scene I want to talk about now. I just can’t get it out of my head.

First, the plot of the movie: it’s about a woman named Sue (played by Jennifer Aniston) – a traveling art saleswoman who is trying to cut ties with a motel manager named Mike (played by Steve Zahn). Sue is aloof, unsure of what she wants, and going through the motions in life. She needs Mike, but she just doesn’t know it. Mike is immature, unsettled, and a bit of a wreck. But he’s in love with Sue and it makes him want to be a better man. Mike needs Sue every much as Sue needs Mike.

About a third of the way into the movie, Mike takes Sue to visit his mother, who is lying on her death bed. After all three share a visit, Mike’s mother asks to speak with Mike alone. Here is their conversation:

“I like her,” Mike’s mom says.


“She’s a bit of a long shot. But she’s logical in an emotionally annihilated kind of way. But that’s okay. Underneath there’s a heart of –”

“Gold?” Mike says.

“No I wouldn’t say gold. Maybe made of leather. But, if it works out, she’ll be good for you when I’m gone. Needless to say, what would make me happy is for you to find something for yourself before my checkout time. Just so I know it’s not you and your father alone here walking around like robots.”

“Ma, Dad’s not a robot.”

“He is, but I was mostly talking about you … unless you find a way out.”

“Of what?” Mike says.

“Of whatever it is you’re stuck in. You get it from your father. He came back from the war stuck. Been talking about joining a gym every since. Never has. But that doesn’t have to be you.”

His mother gave him permission to chase his own dreams – to not feel like he must continue on with the family business if he doesn’t want to. And while he didn’t need her permission, having it freed him from feeling the weight of expectations – real or imagined. And he took advantage of it.

Freeing somebody of expectations is one of the most empowering things we can do for one another. By doing so, we are saying, “Be free. Pursue your passion. Live. Breathe. Cry. Laugh. Dance. Contemplate. Go with God.”


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