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Intolerable Cruelty - the movie

I first saw adverts for the movie "Intolerable Cruelty" while taking a private backstage tour of Universal Studios back in September. I was very curious about what was so intolerable or cruel about George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones. They are, after all, two of the best-looking people in our time.

Later I read an interview in OK magazine from which I learned that they had both enjoyed making the movie. It still didn't give a clue about the movie - other than "pre-nups."

A pre-nuptual agreement is intended to protect the assets of both parties before the marriage, so that in the event it breaks up, neither suffers financial loss. However, in this movie, it is used as an instrument to prove one's love, loyalty, and trustworthiness.

Witness this:

Divorcee Marylin Rexroth(Zeta-Jones) insists on signing a pre-nup before marrying oil millionaire (Billy Bob Thornton) as a signal that she's not after his money. He tears up the document, sheet-by-sheet, and eats each piece in front of their wedding guests to show that he doesn't care about it and that he loves her absolutely.

Successful matrimonial lawyer Miles Massey (Clooney) signs a pre-nup before marrying Marylin to indicate that he wants her not for her money. On their wedding bed, she tears up the agreement to show she trusts him.

Miles signs a new pre-nup agreement when they appear in front of each other to discuss divorce proceedings. He claims it's still valid even while they are married. Marylin tears up the signed agreement to show that she still cares for him.

They kiss and live happily ever after.

So what is so intolerable or cruel? The pre-nuptual agreement?

A long, long time ago --- when I was a nubile college student, I fell in love with someone who later proposed marriage. When he suggested that we sign a pre-nuptual agreement, I became disheartened. I fell out of love.

As Elizabeth Barrett Browning so cleverly puts it: " If thou must love me, let it be for nought except for love's sake only." A pre-nuptual agreement while providing for contingency brings the doubt of "what if it doesn't work out" and "does he really trust me."

A conditional marriage is no marriage at all. No wonder matrimonial lawyers are so sought after! It's easy to get married but not so easy to get divorced. But I still don't get what's so intolerably cruel about the institution of marriage or that of divorce either!

7 November 2003 Friday

analyticalQ movie reviews
At universal studios, Sept 2003
I enjoyed watching this movie in Almere, a new Dutch town. It's always nice to watch beautiful people, especially to figure out what the movie is about. Go see this - and see the humour in divorcing for money but marrying for love, which might have been a more appropriate title.
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Anne Ku

writes about her travels, conversations, thoughts, events, music, and anything else that is interesting enough to fill a web page.