The Law of Attraction

This is not hard science. The post, I mean, it’s not hard science. It’s not even soft science.

You know I took some time off, a wonderful thing to do. The kids were in and they have small children who try to stretch out bedtime. We've found the best strategy is to rent movies, not go looking for them in the theater at night.

Their parents rented three:

one that no one could sit through for more than five minutes, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, we’re talking serious violence and very graphic sex here;

one I’d seen, Lars and the Real Girl, which we still have to talk about;

and Enchanted.

Even though Enchanted is a good movie for children, we thought they had seen enough from the glowing orb in the family room. That morning it had been my job to keep them from waking their parents and they insisted on watching just a little. PLEASE, of a DVD. Since they were essentially inoperable, I gave in, wanting their parents to sleep, which they do well in my house, which makes me happy, some kind of very primitive parenting dynamic that needs research, to be sure.

The little ones chose a half hour of Fantastic 4, Rise of the Silver Surfer. It was my job to figure out the DVD player and to master the remote, which exhausted me, but I did it. It would surely have been better to have gone out to find bugs and look at birds and things, but the little guys were too tired. And they're from L.A.

We'll get to that Law of Attraction thing, we really will. But not the law of attraction in that book, The Secret. I haven't read The Secret or even heard much about it, except from patients in therapy. In therapy we end up talking about very different laws of attraction.

A story:

A few weeks ago while talking with a couple of friends, they happened to let it slip that they had seen Freedom Writers.

WHAT? I exclaimed, furiously for me. AND YOU DIDN’T CALL ME?
We saw the previews. The hushed dialog in the theater during the preview for Freedom Writers went something like this:
Oh, we have to see that! For sure we'll see that together!
I glare at my friends. You were out of town, they say, defending themselves in unison.


Apparently not.

They love Patrick Dempsey. They love movies full of hope and sugar, although not as much as me, talk about adding insult to injury. They’ll see all kinds of stuff I can’t stomach, like Gladiators.

Love the one you’re with our motto, my so-called friends saw Freedom Writers without me.

WAS IT GOOD? I ask, trying to be a good sport.


My friend R. loves exactly the same movies I love. Exactly. One night I stayed in her apartment in Jerusalem alone and had a difficult time choosing a DVD. She has so many I like. She had to go away for business in China.

But before she left she pulled out Never Been Kissed and said, This one, dear. Perfect.

The two local friends who saw Freedom Writers without me, just loved Knocked Up, which I thought not something anyone could love, certainly not me. But I suffered through it with them, and the parting shot of Los Angeles from the air made me miss Empath Daught and #2 son and their families. So actually, I hated it.

Anyway, one night I talked FD into watching Freedom Writers with me, and apparently he’s more of a Hillary Swank fan than he thought, because he watched the whole thing, whereas I could go to the kitchen, get some ice cream, wash the floor, polish silver, and still not miss anything. Freedom Writers did go on and on.

In this true story Hillary plays Erin Gruwell, a very idealistic new teacher hired to babysit in a ghetto-fied high school in Long Beach, CA. I have patients who teach in difficult Chicago high schools who do this, babysit, and we mainly talk about how to get out of the job into more gratifying positions.

Ms. Gruwell, however, makes it her business to turn the kids around. These freshmen each have truly heart-wrenching stories, very much the kinds of stories therapists hear. Our patients teach us, you know.

She spends all her money and time doing that, raising their level of scholarship, so to speak, and she is totally amazing. It’s a crazy believable story and it has to be, because it’s true. In the film, Hillary’s new spouse, played by Patrick Dempsey, isn’t on board with her program, unfortunately. She spends all of her energy teaching, relatively little on him. In fact, he’s so not on board that he’s very unattractive. I just hate him. Movies always work on me.
So I’m with my friends and we’re talking about the movie and I happen to mention that I hate the guy who plays Hillary’s husband. AND I think he’s kind of ugly.

They look at each other. I’m obviously insane.


What do I know? I don’t watch Grey’s Anatomy. It’s a medical show and I hate medical shows, although hate is too strong a word, I suppose. Let’s say that there’s enough medicine at home, and has been for over thirty odd years. FD talked medicine with his father (OB”S) for two hours at the first family dinner I ever had at his parents’ house, while I stared blankly at the art on the walls. To his mother’s credit, she tried unsuccessfully to steer my boy out of primary care.

I cry out, WAS THAT WHO THAT WAS? THAT WAS PATICK DEMPSEY? HE IS NOT GOOD LOOKING. And I wouldn’t recognize him on the street.

Clearly insane.

But last night, while FD and my good-looking son-in-law played basketball, my daughter got the kids to bed early so we could watch Enchanted in peace. Patrick Dempsey plays the no-nonsense divorce lawyer that Giselle, the princess of Andalaysia, falls in love with in Manhattan. He clearly begins to fall for her early in the film and a palpable softness takes over his personality.

Everyone falls in love in Manhattan, let’s face it, and from the minute I saw Patrick falling, I liked him. I liked his looks. I actually like him rather early on when he gives his daughter a book about important women for her sixth birthday. Even then, I liked his looks. I thought, What a nice jaw, what nice eyes, what a nice looking man. It never occurred to me he was Patrick Dempsey.

He plays Giselle’s prince, of course.

I’m not going to spoil the movie if you haven’t seen it, but I almost wrote a one sentence post.
So I guess to me, the laws of attraction have everything to do with what’s inside. The jaw, the chin, the nose, the eyes, all take on a little more when there’s that certain something inside.

Who would have thought?



Anonymous said…
i really liked enchanted---I watched it with my sister and niece. It was a warm feel good kind of movie! one you may like is happily never after-which is better than the commerical suggest (the same with cars)
Linzi R. said…
Well Doc, you really had me going - I watched The Secret last night... after much haranging from my dear mother. So when I saw the title of this post - I say 'Hey mum, you'll never guess... TherapyDoc's blog today is on the Law of Attraction.' - This pleased her muchly... but then I got to the bit where you say you haven't read it ;)
Oh well - it was testiment enough for her, and I can tell you - it's one of those DVDs(books) which has a really simple lesson stretched out and held up by people who... are meant to know more? better? You probably don't need to read it, it's simple.
Anonymous said…
My wife and I (and a friend) pre-screened Enchanted for our Daughters - 9, 7 and 4. The 4 year old will do anything her sisters do, so the focus was on the older two. The next morning the when the eldest wakes up I tell her 'you will love enchanted'. Wait let me try again "You Will LOVE Enchanted. As if she didn't already know that...
therapydoc said…
Great, so what IS it?
therapydoc said…
The What IS it? question was for LINZI R and her MOM.

Thanks, Anon. I'm assuming she did :)
Marcia Brubeck said…
I really loved Lars and the Single Girl. I thought the characters were memorable, and the subject was handled with such grace and delicacy. And what an unlikely subject! Who would have expected a movie about a man's infatuation with a life-sized doll? Also I liked the therapist (and I don't always in movies). The whole thing I found very affecting. And the ending was just right.

Now, are you going to blog about Tell Me You Love Me? I thought it was something of a landmark. But that's just me.
Deb said…
I will be watching Enchanted today.
therapydoc said…
I'll check out Tell Me You Love Me. Just can't say when right now. Too much fun, you know, probably not healthy.
I'll put some of those on my movie list. :)
cardiogirl said…
I don't know why, but I can't get behind Patrick Dempsey. He just does not do it for me. Every time I see him he seems too cocky.

My daughters have seen Enchanted and the older one just got it for her b-day from Nana. I've seen very small bits of it and he still seemed cocky to me.

I don't know, maybe if I saw him in Enchanted from the start. I guess I'll make that my homework.
benjamin said…
Yeah, Enchanted is pretty fantastic. I loved Dempsey in it. That guy is hilarious.

I think he's pretty good looking. Same for the Giselle character. But definitely, it's the personality that makes them more or less attractive.

Meredith Grey, on the other hand, is simply annoying. She's way too neurotic to be a believable medical resident.
Liza's Eyeview said…
We LOVE Enchanted!!!!! I'm glad you love it too :)
Hayley said…
I watched Lars and the Real Girl yesterday. What a wonderful movie. I don't exactly understand the psychological issues Lars was dealing with, I just know that he was in pain and got a lot of help from his family and friends. A lot different than going to the doctor and being put on three different medications, which is what happens with most people I know.
Jack said…
Gladiator is a fabulous movie- action, suspense, unrequited love- it is all there.
therapydoc said…
But can it play well on teev?