It’s Complicated

A romantic comedy about a divorced woman who finds herself in an affair with a married man – her ex-husband! Meryl Streep is Jane, the divorced woman, and Alec Baldwin, Jake, the womanizing ex who’s married to a new younger woman. Alec plays the part of many men’s fantasy of being able to start over again with a younger woman, but as only Nancy Meyers can do, this story shows that typical fantasy as a fraud. As Alec’s beautiful young wife is actually high maintenance and a be-yatch, not at all the romantic fantasy of the unhappy middle aged married man.

So he starts an affair with Jane, who for once, actually experiences the passion that was so lacking in their marriage. Is this how it is? Passion can only come through “naughtiness?” And it is a sweet revenge against the woman who stole her man, by stealing him back. But is it justice? Well, Jane also meets a good man, an architect, Adam played by Steve Martin, who gives her respect and becomes her triangle of choice. Should she continue the passionate affair or should she go for the good man who isn’t so “exciting” but is mature and responsible?

Well, eventually Jake becomes obsessed with Jane and even leaves his new wife with hopes of remarrying Jane. So Jane considers, is this the opportunity to rekindle with the man with whom she has such a long history? Can we finally have what we lacked before? She ultimately realizes that the temptation of naughtiness and excitement and passion of Jake, is part of his recklessness, which of course will remain with him because his selfish immaturity means he is never satisfied with what he has and always wants what he doesn’t have. If he reconnects with her, he will eventually do again what he did before, and to his other wife as well, because men like this don’t change. You get what you ask for. The irony is that the “bad boy” that draws women is the bad boy that betrays them. So according to this film, you should really choose the mature man who is the adult and is respectful, not the man child who is passionate and exciting. Of course, Jane realizes this just in time to finally cut it off with Jake and give Adam the chance of building a trusting relationship, which is in this movie, far more wise and deeply fulfilling than the fantasy of passionate romance, which remains shallow, and always carries with it, betrayal.

At the end, the filmmaker draws attention to the fact that Jane does not regret having the affair, as if to indicate a “non-judgmental” attitude toward the morality of adultery, as if it is not a moral issue so much as a wisdom issue.