“For some of us, one mile can be more to walk than thirty.” ~ Francine Rivers, Redeeming Love
This Valentine’s Day, a holiday that has trivialized and commercialized the magnanimity of love, go see “The Notebook’s” dark little sister: “Redeeming Love.”
You will go for the romance, ahhh the romance! But you will be spellbound and have your heart clenched so tight that you will ugly cry hard from the self-love journey that our heroine, Angel, travels.
I loved everything about this film except for the title. I don’t think women need to be redeemed by God for the horrors of a man-made world: with men who have enabled sex-trafficking, and who are never stigmatized for sex, and women who have been stigmatized because they have been sexual, whether by force or by choice, and are viewed as immoral.
One has to travel all the way down into a rigged double standard and rebel against the system to love a f*ckgirl unconditionally. It’s a courageous act in service to women, to the world, and especially to oneself—to love so deeply, beyond what is considered acceptable. This rebellion shows love’s depths. Its honesty, purity, sanity, and mostly, its unyielding strength.
When male writers write a drama, they will often depict one terrible thing that happened to a woman or many women. It took a female writer to write the nuanced tragedy of the many terrible things that happened to one woman.
“Redeeming Love” is written extremely close to reality, which is making viewers uncomfortable. Outstanding! Literature is doing its job. As an attractive woman, I really, truly, utterly appreciated the author showing how much misery pretty girls are forced to endure because of their ample beauty. The movie got me. I felt seen. I felt unbelievably validated. I felt like it was happening to me. I know the feeling of always wondering—are men simply dogs? And yes, men with no conviction are. So many scenes in this movie strike me as relatable. From the abuse, to the distrust of men, and finally to the fear and struggle of loving a man.
This is why we need female writers—to get female existence precise, on the page and the screen.
As this film begins to create a buzz on social media, a lot of people are saying that this is the hardest they have ever cried at a movie. Tears streamed down my face throughout it. During the last 30 minutes, I loud-cried with a snotty nose. In the last 10 minutes, I ugly cried, my chest hurt, and I had to open my mouth and gasp for air. These characters knocked the wind out of me—they were so committed and beautiful.
Some people will watch “Redeeming Love” and call it a Nicholas Sparks type-film set in the gold rush, and that’s fine because those are the thirty-mile-per-hour people and this film was not made for them. It was made for the one-mile-per-hour people like me. It was made to articulate that, within the journey to romantic love, there is also a journey to self-love—and that’s why it can take some girls and women so long to walk that one mile.
When I walked from the theater to my car, I still cried. A film has never made me do that. And I cried on the drive home too. Women who know too much and have seen too much, they sure understand what love is and what love isn’t.
I’m also saying: this is not a first-date movie. It’s a go alone and meditate on it movie. Or go with your bestie. Bring Kleenex, breathe it in, feel it, and let it out. If you’re brave enough to go on a date, I’m just warning you that your date might feel inadequate after only buying you popcorn and not rescuing you from a brothel. Multiple times.
This film is “Pretty Woman” on steroids…and yet so much more. You’ve been warned. And invited to feel all the pleasure, the pain, and bumps on the long road to a love-you-harder-than-your-demons type of love.