Perhaps you’re like me, and, in the midst of celebrating all the growth and change taking place for the POstables, you had this nagging feeling that gnawed at you for some time after the film, and even now, you’re wondering what has left you so unsettled.
I know the answer: Oliver.
From Paris with Love revealed some character traits about Oliver that really should give us pause, all of which were revealed through his interactions with Holly.
The first thing to cause me concern was the thing about the clams and red wine. If Oliver had a behavior that only Holly was capable of eliciting, an anger coping mechanism of all things, this should have been a sign that there was something about this relationship that just wasn’t quite right. If he was eating clams, he must not have been verbally working out whatever was bothering him with his wife. How could they expect a marriage to survive like that?
To make matters worse, Oliver seemed to treat Holly not as his wife or partner, but rather as a child who needed tended to. His argument for being so upset with her leaving was because she failed to let him know she was all right in Paris. If it were me, I would have taken the opportunity to let her know her absence left a void in my life I couldn't fill and I was absolutely devastated without her. That's assuming, as Oliver, I would have those kind of feelings for my wandering wife. My soul argument wouldn't be based on the fact I knew who she was when I met her--a free spirit--- and am upset that she engaged in behavior that demonstrated the same.
Why I am so troubled about all of this is that at no point during his interactions with Holly was there any mention of love. Oliver may very well have loved Holly, but I strongly doubt he was in love with her. When Holly flat out asked Oliver if he wanted her back, he completely avoided the question. In fact, I would be okay saying I still don’t know if he ever wanted Holly back after he treated the situation so clinically.
Oddly enough, this explains a lot. If Oliver has never been in love before, then it’s no wonder that
over the past year, every time mention of someone being in love
Did I mention that Oliver lost any and all semblance of agency in this installment? The choice of re-sending the letter wasn’t his, and the decision to end the marriage wasn’t his either. In fact, for all his talk about how marriage is sacred and shouldn’t be an easy thing to end, he didn’t fight for his union with Holly at all. Holly hands him one of her poems, and while he seems to have a smile on his face---which I really don’t understand---he didn’t seem to flinch, be conflicted or anything else of the sort at Holly's decision to end their marriage. It simply was what it was. There just aren't enough words to relay all my feelings about Oliver's behaviors in this film when it comes to his wife, and that's maddening!
I think I’ve decided that I am just never going to understand how these two made it down the aisle. Just because someone “shakes things up” and you “needed that” doesn’t make them a best fit for your life partner. And, again, I will harp on the fact there was no mention of love, which seems to me like he took a non-feeling approach here. It wasn’t a bad thing to do, so it must have been right, or at the very least okay, to marry Holly.
So here’s why Holly’s the hero in this story: According to her, she never hid who she was. Oliver knew she was a bird that needed to be free from the beginning, Holly told him so, and he chose to be with her anyway. She wasn’t afraid to remind Oliver that their lack of ability to communicate was a constant problem in their marriage when they went for drinks. I can't recall a single truth Oliver had the courage to explicitly identify to Holly's face. And, in the end, Holly wasn’t afraid to look into her heart, write a poem, say it wasn’t working, and finally end their marriage. I applaud her for having feelings, even if those
Perhaps I made the mistake of putting Oliver on a pedestal that not even I realized. He’s always made it a point to admit he’s not perfect. I guess I didn't expect his emotional/relational handicaps to manifest themselves all at once. But maybe his steadfastly doing the right thing blinded me to the fact he’s human and fallible, his superpower fading in the moment I wanted it unwaveringly applied the most.
Please know that Oliver is still the man of my dreams and I am definitely holding out for a guy like him---I just think maybe I had this character on a pedestal that I shouldn't have!
The lesson here is that just because it’s not bad doesn’t mean that it’s right. And if you haven’t been in love, find out what that means before you decide to marry someone. Also, make sure you both make communication, even when painful, a priority. You might very well avoid the #HOliver (Holly & Oliver) Complex.
Sorry to talk your ear off. You may agree with me, you may not. Drop that in the comments.
But if you don’t, that’s okay---just know I’m citing irreconcilable differences. :-)
Much POstable Love Always,