Tantrums, tears, temper, trouble, tiring, terrible, torture… all start with T, and so does teenage. Coincidence? I think not. We all know what a terrible time teenage has been – for a lot of us.
Did you have that phase? Did you feel like you wanted to be someone else? Someone prettier, or taller or smarter or someone richer?
Didn’t you wish you could be older and skip out on this ordeal of actually growing up? Didn’t you feel like fast forwarding your life to when you already have a job that pays you the big bucks and you’ve already found the love of your life? Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
Anyway, I think at some point in life, we have all wanted to be someone else thinking their life is perfect or be at a different point in time so we could change some things in our life – which is natural.
And so, goes the story of Jenna Rink, a 13-year-old who wants to join the clique of fashionistas in her school who call themselves the “six chicks”, and aspires to be the editor in chief of POISE, the hottest magazine of the 80s. She worships these girls whose only mission in life seems to be to shit over literally anyone who isn’t them (with the convenient exception of attractive and famous boys). Her only anchor to reality seems to be her best friend – Matt or as he is affectionately called – Matty and we can get a sense of how he is as a person by this one line he says, “There are six of them, Jenna, that’s the whole point. There can’t be a seventh Sixth Chick. It’s just mathematically impossible. Besides you’re way cooler than they are, they’re totally unoriginal.”
But of course, Jenna would do anything to please Tom-Tom (Queen bee of the six chicks) and hence agrees to do her homework and in return, she would show up for her 13th birthday party with the cutest boy in school (and Jenna’s crush)
Catastrophe strikes when Tom-Tom insults Matt at the birthday party which is results in so much embarrassment for Jenna, that she throws Matt out of her life; and then locks herself into the closet. She then proceeds to throw herself back at the shelf when the wishing dust from the doll house Matt had made for her falls onto her and lo and behold, she is transported to when she is 30 – the prime of her life! POISE says that’s where it’s at ladies!
Jenna wakes up and finds she is 30, and the editor in chief of POISE and has the hottest boyfriend in town AND is best friends with Tom-tom – who now goes by Lucy. But Jenna is clueless about her life and finds a way to reach Matt, who, being the sweetheart that he is, helps her figure her new life out.
The rest of the movie has a very cliché story – Jenna discovers she has lost touch completely with Matt and that she is actually a terrible person and a traitor for the magazine she used to worship and worked very hard to work for. To her dismay, she also finds that her “best friend” Lucy despises her, talks about her behind her back and tries to sabotage her work. In an attempt to salvage what’s left of her reputation, she tries to work on a campaign for the magazine which also gets sabotaged. Matt also let’s go of Jenna and marries another girl. And while this is happening, Jenna stares longingly at that doll house when a wind blows and sprinkles the leftover wishing dust onto her and she is back where she left off – at her birthday party. And then she takes the reigns from there, ends up happily married to Matt; and that’s it.
This is without a doubt one of the funniest chick flicks ever made. The best and most hilarious parts of the movie are due to the pure innocence of Jenna’s character; her being terrified and shocked to either hear or say the word “bitch” out loud and her whispering it when she did say it out loud reminded me of all the times I was shocked to hear my friends shout a cuss word, or the first time I said a cuss word, out loud, and confidently.
There was also the time where Jenna (Jennifer Garner) showed up to a party in VERY 80s type fashion- from the dress to the pigtails and danced to Michael Jackson’s Thriller with Matt(Mark Ruffalo), that was truly iconic and also very Bollywood
I think what I learnt from the movie was how much potential a person has, to either do good, or bad. When the movie starts, one would never believe that Jenna could become a success thirsty, mean, promiscuous woman that she does 30 years later.
And if you have potential to be bad, you also have potential to be good – of which an example (and one of my favourite and most touching scenes from the movie) is when Matt is getting married to someone else, and he tells her that even though he has always loved her, he has moved on, she respects that and doesn’t try to ruin his wedding or try to make him leave his fiancee or pester him into being with him. She accepts that she hurt him and that it is best for her to leave him alone and let him start anew.
What I liked best was that Jenna trying to be better doesn’t just start after she gets a do-over – that is, after she is transported back to her teens; it starts right when she wants it to. When a person wants to change something about themselves, it has to start the moment they decide to, because life doesn’t do do-overs. Jenna not only betters her alternate reality by re-kindling her friendship with Matt and working honestly, but also starts standing up for herself when she goes back to her old life.
The topic of vulnerability is especially well portrayed – there are several moments when Jenna feels helpless or hurt, but she always handles it with grace and charm. We have so many vulnerable moments ourselves. Now we handle it well or we don’t, or we just don’t care – but it does not translate into us being weak in any sense. On the contrary, it just shows how strong we are, since we have the ability to bounce back after a difficult time. In a time when being strong all the time is so widely preached, we need to be reminded that we can’t be strong and heroic all the time – we’d never become the best versions of ourselves that way. Experiences are the best teachers, but not all experiences can be good, can they? Similarly, if one does bounce back and decides to become cold-hearted to avoid being hurt again, as understandable as it may be, they close themselves to the endless opportunities of positive experiences – like being cherished and loved too.
What Jenna also taught me is how important it is to stand up for yourself. We encounter all sorts of bullies in our lives – those who don’t want us to be successful, who make us malicious and selfish and those who make us doubt ourselves at every juncture and make us feel like we’re less than them; and as horrible and humiliating it feels when this happens, it is unlikely to stop until you confront them; which not only takes time, but also an immense amount of courage and strength to do. But standing up once will let the Grinch know that you are not someone who goes down easy.
AND NO ONE SHOULD GO DOWN EASY!
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