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Movie Review: Life as We Know It

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Every heart-gripping emotion from hard laughter to heartbreak is at work in the recently released Life as We Know It. This film follows a comedic yet emotional storyline similar to the 2007 film Juno and 2010’s The Backup Plan.

The movie tells the story of two people who would be satisfied staying miles apart from one another, but are inevitably thrown together in the midst of a tragedy. The victories and defeats experienced by them in this redistribution of life, love, and spare time evoked in me true feeling of happiness, uncertainty, sadness, and comfort.

The film stars Katherine Heigl as Holly Berenson, a young, single bistro owner and baker. Heigl is well known for her work in many films, including Killers (2010), The Ugly Truth  (2009), and Knocked Up (2007), just to name a few. Her dashing co-star Josh Duhamel plays the almost too-easy going sportscaster Eric Messer. Duhamel was seen recently on the big screen in Ramona and Beezus (2010) and When in Rome (2010).

The film opens in 2007, where Holly is waiting not so patiently for her blind date to pick her up. An hour late and remarkably unkempt, Messer arrives, and the two reluctantly set off on their night out together. However, it only takes a few minutes for these two to establish a mutual disrespect and hatred that carries through to the present day 2010, where they remain in close proximity to each other thanks to their two mutual, married best friends, Allison and Peter Novak.

Holly and Messer attempt to keep a safe and peaceful distance from one another throughout all of life’s big events, but all of that comes crashing to a halt when tragedy strikes. One night while driving home, Allison and Peter are killed in a devastating car accident. What is more tragic, is that this fatal wreck leaves their one-year-old daughter Sophie, orphaned.

After hearing the horrible news, Holly and Messer are called into a meeting with the Novak’s attorney to discuss guardianship of Sophie. Unbeknownst to both of them, Allison and Peter had granted them joint guardianship of Sophia in the unlikely case of their deaths.

Shock, confusion, and concern riddle them after they hear this, but for Sophie’s sake and for the sake of their friends, they agreed to move into the Novak’s home, and begin a new and frightening life. The two face countless challenges (perhaps most notably each other), but eventually find ways to overcome differences, pain, and disjointedness, eventually becoming a family.

To me the triumph of the film is the realness of the trials these two people go through. I remember specifically the calendar they keep together. Each of them is unwavering and adamant about time off, special events, and other things that the freedom of their “old lives” allowed. Although the conflicts surrounding the calendar are quite comedic, they are also very believable to me.

Another notable accomplishment of the movie is the convincing and heart-warming growth of these rivals and an orphaned infant into a true, loving, surviving family. Everyone in the theater could see deep-rooted changes in both Holly and Messer throughout the film.

The movie has its own flair and spark of originally, however I felt that it still stayed in that cookie cutter mold that is the chick-flick plot. They always seem to follow the same loose pattern: Boy meets girl, boy eventually falls in love with girl, an ugly conflict or a miscommunication ruins a perfect moment, but then a suspenseful yet romantic climax bring the two back together, just as anticipated.

About Frances Mooney