The thing I love about Rachel McAdams is that she is not afraid to look goofy, unkempt or harried. She’s real. That’s one of the most appealing parts of Morning Glory the new film that she stars in that opened yesterday. McAdams plays Becky Fuller the driven producer given the tasking of righting a sinking ship of a morning show. She is driven because this is what she has wanted to do her whole life. She is driven because everyone told her she couldn’t do it. She is driven because she does not have an ivy league education. But it is her dedication and drive for success is what makes her so very interesting to watch. She doesn’t compromise, give up or give in. She actually digs in and trusts that yes, she can do it. Quite refreshing.
She has a big task ahead of her as she leads her merry band of misfits that include Diane Keaton and Harrison Ford as the co- anchors of the morning show she has been hired to produce. There are no expectations for her to succeed, in fact, she is expected to fail, but she surprises everyone — except herself — that she is a success.
People could look at this as another woman who works too hard and has no other life type film. It’s an ominous foreshadowing of the difficulties for a woman to have it all (cue the depressing music.) It’s part that, sure, cause this is Hollywood and we need conflict and women need self doubt. But, I’m tired of all the preachy crap about how women can’t be successful and have a life. Sure, it’s hard. No one ever said life was supposed to be easy. Everyone makes choices that work for them. There are successful women everywhere in every industry. Becky’s young, she’s got a cute boyfriend in the business so he understands how hard she needs to work. It’s actually quite interesting to see the relationship between McAdams’ Becky and Patrick Wilson’s Adam develop because she is the one who works her ass off and is on her blackberry at all hours. And you know what? He doesn’t berate her for being a workaholic. They do try and separate work and non-work lives, but sometimes, as we all know, it bleeds over.
But the movie is not all about the “working girl” dilemma. The other part is touching father-daughter story between McAdams and Harrison Ford. McAdams wakes up the cynical and bitter newsman and is able to engage him in the current world not the world of twenty years ago that he really wants back. I really want back my thighs from twenty years ago but that ain’t happening and the news business is no different. Entertainment and news are so intertwined nowadays that it is virtually impossible to tell the difference. She needs him for credibility and he needs her for relevance, and they develop a lovely bond and a mutual respect that is seldom seen between younger women and older men because usually when they are in a scene together she is either stealing him from his wife, or he is ogling her across the room, or she is getting him coffee.
Aline Brosh McKenna who brought us The Devil Wear Prada creates another script that puts a young woman at the center in the work world. She is in charge, she’s not an appendage, she’s not wearing a wedding gown or shopping. For that I am grateful.
So keep this in mind as you make movie decisions this weekend. This is a studio movie that stars a woman (written by a woman) where she is in charge of her life and not fighting with her best friend over a guy or a wedding date. And it’s fun and funny. That’s progress.