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Movie Review – A Smile Like Yours

March 3, 2009 | By: | Filed under: Infertility In The Movies etc.

Hi everyone! This is Danielle, Liz’s associate.  It’s been a while since I blogged! 

When Liz told me about her new idea for the blog – watching and reviewing movies about infertility and adoption – I thought it would be interesting to join in the project.  I, too, often get so irritated by the way Hollywood deals with these subjects.  Sometimes I even get angry – don’t get me started on the “shady adoption lawyer” cliché that spanned so many episodes of Desperate Housewives a few seasons ago (the entire way that show handled Gabriel’s infertility and subsequent “miraculous” conceptions really bothered me, but I will make that the subject of a different Hollywood post!).  So, Liz let me borrow her first movie – A Smile Like Yours, with Greg Kinnear and Lauren Holly, and I thought I would post my reaction here.  

I watched this movie with some friends – none of whom have any experience with infertility (to my knowledge), so it was interesting to hear the reactions from people who were not familiar with the situations presented in this movie, as well. 

We all liked it.  Ok, it’s not Oscar-worthy or anything, but it was a cute, touching movie that, in my opinion, depicted the experiences of a couple experiencing infertility honestly and sensitively.  A brief synopsis – the movie is about a couple who, after unsuccessfully attempting conception the old fashion way, find themselves trying cycle after cycle to have a child through ART, until it puts a strain on their marriage and they need to reevaluate what they really want for their marriage and their family.  I thought they did a great job of showing just how taxing the endless doctors appointments and disappointments of numerous failed cycles can be on a relationship.  Without giving away too much of the plot (for those of you who want to see the movie), let’s just say that “another woman” threatens the marriage at one point.  When I asked the roomful of people that I was with what their opinions were after watching the movie, the first thing they said was that they couldn’t believe how much strain trying to have a child could put on a couple.  They commented on how, after all those months of trying, and all those doctors appointments and medical procedures, they can see how it would be easy to loose sight of why you are doing all this in the first place, and they understood why the couple in the movie decided to step back and take a break for a while – to rediscover themselves and their marriage, and regroup before trying again.

When Liz watched the movie, she mentioned to me that she thought the ending was misleading, and I agree.  SPOILER ALERT: Don’t continue reading if you have plans to watch this movie, because I am about to reveal the ending!!  Like I mentioned, before the end of the movie, the couple decides to take a break from trying to conceive and just enjoy being married for a while.  The next scene starts with “Two Years Later” written across the screen – and the couple is happily taking their triplets out for a joy ride (in a convertible, mind you!) and playing with them at the park. There is no mention about how they had those triplets, and anyone without knowledge of ART and infertility would likely assume that it was another one of those “Hollywood miracles” (like the formally infertile Gabriel from Desperate Housewives, or Charlotte from Sex and the City who just happened to get pregnant accidentally after years of trying and being told by doctors that they were infertile).  I, and Liz, of course, immediately assumed that they went back for at least one more IVF cycle, and this time they were successful with triplets.  So I asked the people in the room with me what they thought about this scene – how did they think the couple got pregnant?  And their initial responses were along the lines of “they just relaxed about it and it happened.” Hmm….they just relaxed and had triplets on their own?  Not likely.  I explained the more likely scenario to my friends, who then agreed that I was probably right.  It is unfortunate that this otherwise well-done movie helped perpetrate the “just relax and it will happen” stereotype that seems to permeate so much of Hollywood (on-screen and off).

So…with that said, overall I would recommend this movie.  With the exception of the last scene, I think they did a great job portraying the life of a couple dealing with infertility.   I just wish they would have made the correct ending a little clearer – maybe the screen should have read “Two Years – and 2 more IVF cycles – later.”  That probably would have been more accurate!

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