Lately I’ve been intrigued by “non-traditional” family. I decided it takes more than biological links to create a family. Any two fools can make a baby, but fathering and mothering are very different issues. I know--this is no great revelation, but on Saturdays everyone’s entitled to my opinion, and today I’d like to suggest we could learn a lot about family from Hugh Grant.
Not really, he’s just the lead actor in a very good movie, About a Boy. The real teacher is British novelist Nick Hornby, who wrote the book and assisted on the screenplay. A 12 year-old named Marcus is the teacher within the film--a boy attached to a clinically depressed mother, a boy who is shunned on the playground even by the nerds, and a boy who possesses neither talent nor good looks. Oh--did I mention this is a comedy?
Hugh Grant’s role is the smarmy professional single guy named Will Lightman who discovers an untapped market--”single Mums.” Lightman is way too smooth to spend time on Marcus’ train-wreck of a mother, but still manages to meet and (surprisingly) befriend Marcus. I don’t know if “bugger off” counts as cursing in the U.K., but Marcus refuses to bugger off, and Lightman is saddled with his only true relationship in life. By the end of the film we’ve discovered that the title applies not only to Marcus but also to Will Lightman. Family, we learn, is about relationship, not biology.
That's it. Go get the movie. Like right now--hey!--did you know Netflix streams movies via the interweb? It’s amazing--now their library is closer than your closet.