Just saw “The Place Beyond the Pines” starring Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper and Eva Mendes on our date night. It has been reviewed as a crime drama about how the sins of a father affect his son. On a more fundamental level, I see it as a movie about the bond between father and child. Neither Gosling and Coopers’ characters were that involved in their son’s upbringing, either by choice or not. We see how fate unfolds their destiny in front of our eyes, with both sons desperate to make connections with their fathers in their own way.
There is a lot of attention devoted to motherhood and Moms. It is only mid April, and already I see lots of Mother’s day memorabilia in the stores. But what about Dads? They simply aren’t getting enough credit for all that they try to do for the family these days. I caught a tender moment with Monkey King holding Plum’s backpack while she climbed around on the playground structure. MK is the type of man would rather carry me holding my own purse than carrying just my purse. Watching him nonchalantly threw her pink Hello Kitty back pack over his shoulder just totally warms my heart.
When Plum was six months old and ready to go to daycare, Ama and Agong returned to their homes after helping us out big time with childcare and house chores. Monkey King picked up a lot of the background work around the house when Plumster went for her marathon nursing sessions with Mommy. I gave Plum that direct physical reassurance that babies can intuitively identify with, but MK was out there getting food and hydration ready, tidying up the house, helping me do my job. Sure, Dads are not multi-taskers like Mommies who can take care of a booboo while getting laundry and dinner ready; nor are they so detailed oriented to remember which friend to include for a play date, but MK is there to carry her pink back pack filled to the brim with library books; to provide his strong arms for transportation, for support, for them to be used as playground structure so that Plum can climb, swing, etc as she sees fit. See, very multi-functional arms if you ask me. During my ongoing postop recovery period, he is the rock of our daily life.
I remember my own upbringing. In high school, Dad would wake up at 5 in the morning to make me my favorite Taiwanese seafood noodle soup for breakfast before driving me to the subway station so that I was ready to tackle the long grueling hours in one of the three original specialized New York elite high schools EVERY WEEKDAY. In college, he would drive the three and a half hours to attend my modern dance recitals only to drive back on the same night. When we bought our first house, he came to help us paint the entire house including the cabinets and doors, and once it’s all dried, helped us move.
On our way home from the movie, I thought about how Dads are often the unsung heroes of our children’s home lives. They are often depicted as comic relieves in mainstream media. “The Place Beyond The Pines” delves into a territory that is a little less traveled and well thought out. Overall, I would recommend “The Place Beyond The Pines”. It’s highly entertaining and a little unexpected. And if the movie makes you want to go home and hug your dad, all the better :)