Love by Robin Gorman Newman
I had the opportunity to see a poignant, heartwarming, funny, and engaging new film this week at a special screening hosted by The 92nd Street Y in Manhattan. The documentary, LOVE ETC., opens 7/1 in NY and 7/15 in LA.
To view the trailer, visit: http://loveetcthemovie.com/trailer.php
Following the screening, a panel discussed the film’s theme of the many stages of love in New York City. Along with the Today Show’s Hoda Kotb, it featured director Jill Andresevic, subjects from the film, including Tony and Emmy-nominated director, Scott Ellis, and executive producer Jonathan Tisch, whose own visit to the City Hall Marriage Bureau to obtain a marriage license provided the inspiration for the movie.
LOVE ETC. shares five real stories over the course of one year in New York City. Young, old, gay, straight – everyone has experienced love – and the joy and frustration that comes with it. From teen romance to a decades-long marriage; newlyweds to a recent divorcee, and even a bachelor so frustrated in his search for love that he chooses to have children without a partner.
While all the stories held my interest, two, in particular struck me. One was that of the eldest couple married 48 years. They were so tender and patient with each other and wildly devoted. They had shared much over nearly five decades of matrimony, yet one of the keys to their enduring relationship was that they allowed each other to pursue separate interests with aplomb. A good lesson!
The other story I felt deeply was that of Scott Ellis, a gay man, who, at age, 52, decided he wanted to be a father, and ultimately became a “later” dad through a surrogate. And, much to his surprise, he wound up with twins! While totally thrilled, his anxiousness re: impending parenthood was palpable. And, that on top of wanting to be a couple with the right partner contributed to his anticipation and angst.
It took me back to my early motherhood days. Nothing fully prepares you. When you hold your baby in your arms for the first time, you heart feels a swelling unlike any other, and you know your most important role is now to raise, shape and enjoy this little life….poopy diapers and all.
Until then, you had aspirations for yourself. And, now you also have aspirations for your children. You want them to have even a better life than you. You want them to be safe and experience mostly happiness, and in a perfect world, we’d love to provide that for them. Yet, we can’t anticipate the path they will take and how things will unfold. Nor can we predict that for ourselves.
The youngest couple in the film was so smitten and full of hope for the future, yet they broke up when one of them went off to college.
The divorced dad who had custody of his kids never expected to be in that position. And, while he longed to meet “the one,” he, himself, had some growing up to do. Yet, in one touching scene, his daughter read aloud a note she had written to him about how much she loved him. Her love was unconditional.
The fifth couple was in the throes of planning their wedding, and after tieing the knot in a lavish ceremony, wound up separating, then came back together, and now have a young child.
Life is totally unpredictable. We all have bumps along the road and can get blindsided.. To provide our children some comfort in this world, as they crave predictability when they’re young, and to tackle the many questions they pose of us, we endeavor to equip ourselves with answers….even if we have to, at times, flub it.
Despite it all….one thing that remains universal is the power of love. Of that much, we can be certain. And, as long as we love our children fully, and we receive that in return, we are doing the best we can and can’t ask any more of ourselves.