When Deanna’s husband leaves her, she goes back to college to finish her degree…alongside her daughter, Maddie. Here are some of the positives and negatives of the movie, and questions for discussion.
- Maturity is more than the number of your years. Deanna has a lot of wisdom and perspective in some areas, but in others, it’s her daughter who is the wiser of the two. While both parents are having mid-life crises and making huge mistakes (her mother is shacking up with a college student… someone half her age that could have been her son, for example), Maddie has grace for both of her parents and their mistakes. She is the one who reminds her mother of why she came to college (to finish her degree, not have sex and party). This reversal of roles (while sad on Deanna’s part), reminds us that maturity is not about how old you are, but how wise and how well you live. Paul encouraged his young protégé: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). How did Maddie set an example for her mother? In what ways did Deanna set an example for others, and in what ways did she not set a good example? What did you think about Deanna’s (and her ex-husband’s) behavior? What do you think God would have thought about Deanna’s behavior?
- Attractive is so much more than looks and coolness. I know someone who used to say that “everyone has a neon sign on their forehead saying, ‘Make me feel special’.” There are beautiful people and cool people in the movie, but Deanna is truly winsome to everyone around her—not because she’s cool or beautiful, but because she makes people feel special. THAT is the most attractive quality there is—making those around you feel special and loved. Deanna had a lot of faults, but she loved others well, and because of that, she was asked to be part of the sorority, to go out socially, and even was hit on by a cute college boy. (Which I am not condoning … nor am I dealing with his obvious issues… just pointing out that people who love others well become so very attractive.) On the other hand, the Bible says that a beautiful woman without discretion is like a gold ring in a pig’s snout (Proverbs 11:22). Or, as Proverbs 31 puts it, “charm is deceptive, beauty is vain (or fleeting), but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.” While the movie doesn’t really show women of discretion or women who fear the Lord, it certainly shows that charm and beauty are nothing more than rings in pigs’ snouts, when they are adorning something ugly on the inside. Kindness and love are far more attractive than physical beauty. Why do you think people liked Deanna so much? How much do you think outer looks really matter in the long-term scheme of things? What makes someone truly attractive to you? How do you feel about people who make you feel special and loved—how attractive are they to you? What can you learn from Deanna about making people feel special?
- Don’t lose sight of the goal. The Bible says (John 10:10) that Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy. So it’s no surprise that he will come and distract us from our goals, trying to steal them from us. Deanna lost her goal of graduating college the first time because of a pregnancy. She nearly missed it again because of essentially the same reasons…sex and partying. She got distracted from her goal. If she had followed the Bible’s guidelines and chosen to keep sex within marriage and to keep from getting drunk and high…she wouldn’t have lost sight of her goals. Satan uses sin to steal from us and distract us and keep us from the full life God intended for us. We tend to think of God’s laws as party-poopers and buzz-kills, but can I just point out that even in this godless movie where the characters have no real moral compass, even here they ultimately return more to His standards of living in order to achieve the fullness of life they dream of. God’s not out to take our high, He’s out to ensure we get the most joy out of life. He just knows that some temporary pleasures will do more to rob us of it than it does to provide it. Any goal worth reaching requires some sacrifice and discipline along the way. How did Deanna’s temporary fun (her sins) nearly cost her her joy? Do you think of God as someone who wants to rob you of fun, or protect your joy? How might God’s rules for life be more about protecting your dreams than robbing you of them?