The movie "5 to 7" is all about all kinds of love | Two Decades of Kids and Counting | Sally Torbey | Palo Alto Online |

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Two Decades of Kids and Counting

By Sally Torbey

About this blog: About this blog: I have enjoyed parenting five children in Palo Alto for the past two decades and have opinions about everything to do with parenting kids (and dogs). The goal of my blog is to share the good times and discuss the ...  (More)

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The movie "5 to 7" is all about all kinds of love

Uploaded: Apr 15, 2015
There is a dearth of resources on how to be the parent of adult children. As soon as we conceive we are inundated with a barrage of advice and countless books to shepherd us through pregnancy, breastfeeding, potty training, separation issues, socialization, sibling relationships, defiant teens, and letting go during the college years. Schools and community organizations offer parenting classes and workshops. During the school-age years we have frequent conversations with other parents who can share their experiences with these issues, but once our kids finish college and enter adulthood much of this support dissipates.

More than ever, I appreciate the skillfulness of my own parents in how they stood by me in my 20s, despite some of my less than stellar decisions, and I am also inspired by my mother-in-law's strength, pragmatism and acceptance of her sons' choices. I am thrilled when I happen upon other wonderful examples of parenting adult offspring.

This weekend we saw a very entertaining recently-released film, "5 to 7". It is a romantic comedy and drama with unusual depth and thoughtfulness. It is the delightfully written and exquisitely filmed story of a 24-year-old aspiring writer who lives in New York City and his love affair with a beautiful 30-something-year-old married French woman and mother of two who has an "open marriage". As the parents of a son who is also 24, and who resembles the main character in his sincerity, idealism, creativity and goodness, this was not an easy love affair for us to watch!

While all the characters in this film are wonderfully real and compelling, we were particular drawn to the depiction of the lead character's parents, who are played by Glenn Close and Frank Langella, whose affectionate bantering is touching and hilarious. This is a film about love, but it is not only about a romantic love affair. It is also about love and trust in a marriage, it is about how to love an adult son who is making some questionable decisions that are hard to accept, and about a mother's love for her young children. Much of the commentary on love is presented through the dedications on Central Park bench placards that are interspersed throughout the film.

We had the pleasure of hearing the writer and director of the film, Victor Levine, speak about the film after the screening. I loved learning that the funny quirkiness of Glenn Close's character is partly based on his own mother's antics. I want to channel her character's inspiring ability to cast aside her preconceived notions as to how her son should lead his life, and embrace the woman he loves and who loves him, despite the initial shock and ongoing concerns of the circumstances of their relationship and the potential downsides of this romantic liaison. Although her character is critical of her son's desire to be a writer and nags him to attend law school instead, she is unconditionally supportive of him when he falls in love, even though I suspect her "mom radar" detects that this might not end well for him. Glenn Close's character motivates me to judge and lecture less, and appreciate the directions our children's lives might take them, and perhaps remember that being their parent and a part of their lives is more of a privilege than ever.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Luke, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Apr 15, 2015 at 10:29 am

Wonderful write-up on being a part in our children's young adulthood.

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Apr 15, 2015 at 10:31 am

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Thanks, Luke!

Posted by LJ, a resident of another community,
on Apr 17, 2015 at 6:32 am

Sounds like a great film plus an extra special opportunity to acquire insights from the director. It took me a while to think of what you did in your 20's. Eons ago. You definitely recovered and grew from it as did the older generation!

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Apr 17, 2015 at 7:20 am

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Thanks, LJ. Nice to know no permanent damage resulted!

Posted by GC, a resident of Community Center,
on Apr 21, 2015 at 2:36 pm

Thank you Sally for bringing something special to our radar...will go see this film soon. My parents took turns biting their tongue or being bad cop and approachable cop from 18 on. I am forever grateful for their pearls of gently mentioned wisdom that still apply today and for my Dad knowing he was dying soon and biting his tongue and just being a wonderful, loving best friend who just happened to be Dad. Mom is still fiercely loyal, protective and proud and still corrects my grammar to this day!

Thank you Sally for taking the time to share. You brighten the days.

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Apr 21, 2015 at 8:36 pm

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Thanks, GC, for reading and commenting. Our hope is that our kids appreciate us someday as much as we now appreciate our parents!

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