This was a lot of fun.
Humour, frustration, hope and disgust were all present, but humour
dominated. I wasn't sure how to place this, as a drama or comedy.
But ultimately, it is a drama, with funny moments.
I had wanted to see this movie since it came out in theatres,
but never got around to it. I'm glad to have finally seen it.
The movie starts off in just the right place, where Carla is
being picked up from her special school by her father. She is sad
to go, and says goodbye to all the students and teachers there, but doesn't
even say hello to her father. It turns out that they put her in the
school as a young girl, and the school doesn't encourage visitors.
The telling is done by flashback, and is done very well. It is not
Right away, we can tell that Carla is overwhelmed. Her
mother is Martha Stewart! She needs everything to be in its place,
and she knows what is best for her daughters (!), regardless of their wishes.
This explains why she was the one who decided to put Carla in the special
school, halfway across the country. Carla didn't fit in with her
rich and ordered lifestyle. Her father is understandably withdrawn,
as he has to put up with an overbearing wife. Her two sisters are
so very nice to her; they are genuine friends with each other and with
Carla, and they treat her like a real person.
But it is no surprise when Carla runs away from home, and ends
up back at her school. She is being completely overwhelmed, and wants
the comfort of her home for the last ten years.
They decide to try out the things that Carla wants to do, and
to see if she can handle it. She is enrolled in a technical college,
which leads to her meeting Danny, who also has a learning deficiency.
Her classes lead up to the funniest moment of the movie, when she observes
a classmate make a pass on the teacher. At home, she looks in the
mirror, and tries to imitate the body language of the girl, completing
it by showing a little bit of navel! When her father walks in, she
is very embarrassed.
Ultimately, though, she gets to know Danny. He went to
a normal school, and has his own apartment. So, of course, she wants
to become even more independent. And her parents just aren't ready
As her relationship with Danny grows, they make out awkwardly
on the couch, and then they move on to sex. She gets her own apartment,
and she handles it really well. They go to a costume party together,
which is really cute.
But Danny makes a big mistake when he drinks too much (to get
brave in front of her family), and reveals to the crowd at a party that
they "did it" at Thanksgiving. She is so upset that she never wants
to see him again.
But then Danny fails his course, and his father refuses to pay
for his rent anymore, so he has to go to Florida to live with his mother.
So he is off, without even getting to say goodbye to Carla. After
seeing a couple make out on the train, however, he can't face leaving her.
He hitch-hikes back to San Francisco, and barges in on Carla's sister's
wedding, professing his love for her, and proposing to her.
Against her mothers wishes, Carla starts to plan her own wedding.
And they do really well. The sisters are bridesmaids, and are fully
supportive of Carla and Danny. But mom refuses to even acknowledge
that there will be a wedding, and pouts until the last minute, when she
shows up and wishes her daughter well.
Danny, a fanatic about marching bands, gets some band-friends
to march past the church as the wedding is over, providing his bride a
fine and very sweet wedding gift.
I don't know how accurately the learning deficient people were
represented, but they seemed very real to me, especially in their struggles
against the perceptions of society. All of their good traits were
shown, as how independent they can be when they are given a chance.
But the negative was perhaps de-emphasized too much. Carla was shown
throwing a tantrum in public (which isn't below the standard for "normal"
people, admittedly), and telling the brutal truth without thinking about
hurting feelings (which is also done by a lot of people, come to think
of it...). But she was able to cope with just about everything very
But this was a film about coping, and becoming independent and
struggling against prejudices and over-protectiveness, and it came off
very, very well.