'When a Man Loves a Woman': 'To Leslie' on '90s Romantic Comedy Boom
These films show that alcoholism does not discriminate.
The 90s were definitely full of romantic comedies. In Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail and French Kiss with Meg Ryan and in films like My Best Friend's Wedding, The Runaway Bride and Notting Hill Between Julia Roberts, the two leading ladies almost monopolize the genre. But one role Ryan played was a complete departure for her. In her rom-com, Ryan played the alcoholic mother of two young girls opposite Andy García in the 1994 family drama film When a Man Loves a Woman. There is very little romance in this movie and definitely no comedy. The character is a powerful one, detailing the life of an upper-middle-class woman in San Francisco who begins to struggle with the vicissitudes of her daily life and parenting, and turns to alcohol to cope with her anxieties. Ryan was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award (SAG) for his portrayal of her. For better or worse, it's the '90s version of 2023's Oscar-nominated character Leslie Rowlands (Andrea Riseborough) in the movie "To Leslie." There are some undeniable similarities between these two characters separated by 30 years, although they may They come from very different backgrounds and find themselves in very different economic circumstances, but they all suffer from a brutal and stubborn equalizer disease.
Alcoholism Doesn't Discriminate
Ryan's Alice Green lives in a beautiful house close to a hilly street in San Francisco with stunning views of the city. Her husband, Michael (Garcia), is a well-respected pilot for a major airline, and seems no less than a loving and supportive husband. Alice is an elementary school teacher and they live a very comfortable life together with two adorable little girls Jess (Tina Majorino) and Kathy (Mae Whitman) and a doting nanny. On the surface, this seems very close to ideal. But she's hiding a secret. The same goes for To Leslie's titular character, who hails from a very poor family in West Texas and conceived her son James (Owen Teague) at a young age. When that was unlikely to happen, she was already struggling to make ends meet and drinking heavily. After winning the lottery, she got a windfall. That's life-changing money for an individual with her background and where she's from. but what about these women There is one thing in common that they don't care about these, because they are all looking for answers at the bottom of the bottle. They are looking for safety and peace of mind that comes from the harsh realities of the world they live in. Daughter, Jess. When Alice was hungover from drinking too much the night before, Jessie approached her, curious as to why she was taking a couple of aspirin down a bottle of vodka. Alice flew into a rage, and literally threw herself on her daughter, slapping her hard across the face. Later, Jesse finds Alice passed out and lying naked on the bathroom floor after a day of drinking. It's a haunting sequence that shows the ugliness of a disease that eats away at your soul. Leslie's rock bottom isn't as ugly as it is here, but it's more public. It was a gradual process, and when Allison Janney's character Nancy was left behind to raise her son after she took off, she was humiliated at a town dance and she revealed that she How I Abandoned My 13-Year-Old Son Afterward Bragging about all her lottery winnings with alcohol and drugs in front of the whole town.
Alice and Leslie Hit Rock Bottom
This also includes her new love interest, Sweeney (Mark Maron), who does her best to get Leslie back on her feet, giving her a job and a room, and saving her from homelessness. Leslie barks at Nancy before leaving the prom, embarrassed and belittled because her addiction has messed up her life. The common thread between both of these characters, and any addict who is honest with themselves, is that substance abuse ultimately strips you of your dignity and hurts those closest to you. Those who love you the most and need you the most are left out, usually children and significant others.
Some things can never be fully removed from an alcoholic's vicious cycle and breakdown. The things said and done will be your greatest regrets for the rest of your days. However, if you put in the effort, you can start over and regain some of your lost dignity. For Alice, it totally embraces rehab The process from stern to stern. It involved an exhausting detoxification process that would make you wish you were dead, admitting that she couldn't control alcohol and that she had to reevaluate who she was other than the empty shell of her former alcoholism. Alice has to start from scratch and determine if she loves her husband Michael for what he loves and who he is when she is very sober and unaffected.
Alice Gets Help and Leslie Gets Busy
Leslie's detox can be dangerous unsupervised for an alcoholic like her, as she cannot sustain it for more than a few hours before experiencing debilitating withdrawal symptoms. She gets through it with the support of Sweeney and her alcoholic-era friend Royal (Andre Royo), who is a little shy in dealing with Leslie because he's one of the people burned by her in the past. Leslie decides to throw herself into a project to occupy her mind and ease her cravings. When she converts a dilapidated building into a quaint little restaurant, she finally has a nice place. In the film's final scene, the straight Nancy pays off by surprising her with a visit from her estranged friend. Son James on the opening night of her new venture.
These are not stories of happiness - far from it actually. Alice and Leslie's efforts to get this far signaled that they were starting to get things right. This is where the hardest part of alcoholism begins - facing life as it comes, getting off the mind-numbing elixir they've all come to rely on to cope with the day-to-day and its inevitable rough twists and turns. It lasts the rest of your life on this earth, and it's only a bad decision until it rears its ugly head again. For Lane, playing Green is a complete U-turn from the sweet girl-next-door rom-com role of a bygone era that is still what she is remembered for. As for Riseborough, the 41-year-old actress, who is finally being recognized by her peers and academy for her versatility and career as an actress, has been keeping a low profile while playing a string of flawed roles. state.