Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Maid in Manhattan -- Introduction

* Did you know there are 11.5 million single moms in America, raising 21.8 million children? *

Have you ever wanted more? More out of your relationships, more out of your career, or more out of your life in general? Or maybe you’ve wanted to be more of who you are meant to be. Marisa Ventura, played by Jennifer Lopez, wants more of a career, more of a life, and more of The American Dream.

We’ve all felt that kind of desire, the desire to do more, be more, and have more. It may not necessarily be to have more material things, but certainly to have more respect, more responsibility, and more recognition. We want to “be somebody”, to rise above our circumstances, whatever they may be.

And we want more for our children than we have. This is the essence of Marisa Ventura’s desires. This chick flick is particularly poignant for single mothers because her desires for a better life are centered in her love for her son, Ty.

The movie opens with Marisa rushing to get her son to school then herself to work, via several city buses. She makes it, as usual, without a moment to spare. We are thus introduced to her lifestyle of always 'just making it.' We intuitively make the connection between her not having a moment to spare and her not having a dime to spare.

Marisa is employed as a hotel maid who is encouraged to strive to be invisible. The hotel is a world of contrasts between the ones who are served, and the ones who serve. We get the sense that Marisa is trapped, a slave to her job. Powerless to prevent it, Marisa allows the petty whim of a spoiled and selfish guest to cause her to get way behind schedule. Without being told, we automatically know that a complaint from one of these high-paying customers would mean the end of her employment there.

Even though Marisa’s top priority is her child, the demands of her job cause her to arrive late to Ty’s school. On this of all days, it was important for her to be there on time because Ty is going to deliver his speech on former President Richard Nixon.

Her late arrival disrupts the audience just as Ty is beginning his presentation. The commotion of his mom’s late arrival causes him to lose concentration, forget what he was going to say, and finally leave the stage in total humiliation. He worked hard on his speech but fails in his attempt to deliver it. Thus, it becomes apparent that her powerlessness is being passed down to the next generation. The feeling of utter hopelessness overflows from the big screen, and we share in her grief.

For those of us who are single mothers (or have been), perhaps we can relate all too well.

Readers: If you are a single mom, let me know. I would love to hear from you, let me pray for you -- that the Lord will meet you at your point of greatest need. If you are not a single mom, please send a link to this page to all the single moms you know.

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