A Deeper Look at We Bought a Zoo!

The Story Line.


Benjamin Mee, adventurer and writer, loses his wife to cancer when his children are young, Dylan, 14, and Rosie, 7. Six months later, Dylan is expelled from school because he stole some money. At the same time, Mee quits his job as a newspaper feature writer; online writing is not the kind he wants to do and for the umpteenth time, Rosie is awakened because of loud partiers outside her bedroom window. Whew!! Mee decides they’ll move.


So Benjamin and Rosie start looking for another house; Mee wants something with rolling hills and space. Since that’s hard to find in the city (San Diego), they get pretty discouraged. But then, they happen on this great place in the country with a house they love and 18 acres of rolling hills. The only problem is: It’s a Zoo!


Seeing Rosie’s joy with the peacocks and being the responsible father he is, Benjamin buys the zoo. He wants to give his kids a life that has some meaning.


The place hasn’t been open for the past two years, so many of the buildings and enclosures need repairing or rebuilding. And, on top of that, Benjamin knows nothing about animals and has no idea what it will cost him to bring his zoo up to the federal government’s regulations. But, he really is an adventurer. When we watch just the first five or six minutes of the movie we realize how true that is.


He’s confident about getting the zoo in operating condition and opening on July 7th. Forty-nine different species live there and many of them are endangered, so Benjamin and his small staff get moving.


Long story short: the zoo does open, even though just barely, on 7/7/7, the 7th day of July, 2007. They get a terrific crowd of people who celebrate that the zoo is open again, who bring money in and insure that the zoo can keep operating. It’s not only open and operating but also growing to this day.



Now, For the Guts of the Movie.


There are quite a few sub-themes. They’re well integrated into the main story and the whole thing just comes together in a very appealing way.


(1) There’s a young-love story going on between Dylan and Lily that is charming because it’s subtle. She so likes him and he’s so oblivious to it, that is, until she begins avoiding him. Without realizing it, Dylan hurt her feelings.


Lily had heard that Benjamin was selling the zoo because he ran out of money and so Dylan would be moving. Dylan’s ecstatic. Obviously, she’s hurt so she ignores him, he’s puzzled. He realizes he misses her. Does this situation get resolved? I hope you’ll watch the movie and see.


(2) Benjamin’s only sibling can’t believe his younger brother would be foolish enough to risk their dad’s inheritance money on a broken-down zoo. He advises Benjamin to give it up, almost right up until the end. But, he clearly loves his brother.


How do they work it out? Watch the movie and see; their relationship is really heart-warming.


(3) It’s clear that when Benjamin Mee sets his mind to an adventure, he sees it through. Here, he throws himself into the physical work that’s needed. He respects his small staff, their knowledge and advice; he’s definitely a team player. And. he spends a ton of money.


(4) I so much enjoyed seeing Benjamin fall in love with the animals, especially Spar, their 17-year-old tiger, played by Katie, and Buster, the 1200 pound North American Grizzly, played by Bart. He has such a respect for these animals and emotionally connects with them.


In fact, the connection with one of the animals is so strong that Benjamin is blind to the animal’s suffering. He finally realizes it’s because he doesn’t want to face death again so soon after losing his wife. He eventually consents to ending the animal’s pain.


If you want to know which animal and what happens, go see the movie; it’s worth the time and money, especially if you’re an animal person.


(5) The relationships between Benjamin and each of his two children are very different. Cameron Crowe, writer-director, did a great job writing something real that ordinary parents can relate to. Rosie is especially mature and quite a partner, as much as a seven-year-old can be. Their relationship has a loving softness to it.


Dylan, on the other hand, is defensive; he misses his mom terribly. He shows his depression by curling up with his drawing pad and pen and staying away from everyone. Dylan doesn’t feel understood by his dad; he’s pretty sure Benjamin doesn’t like him.


On the other hand, Benjamin does his best, trying to give Dylan time to come out of his grief over his mother’s death. But gradually, Benjamin’s patience wears out.


How does it come out? I hope you’ll watch the movie. If you like seeing encouraging, hopeful relationships, you’ll like this movie.


(6) Through flashbacks we get to see tender moments Benjamin and the two kids had with his wife, their mother. Even though he tries to let her go, it’s very hard for him.


More than any words I could write, Benjamin Mee’s own words state so truly what it feels like to lose someone you love. After the death, you must go on, but it’s a moment-to-moment struggle.


“I thought that if I came out here the hurting would stop. But, Katherine’s here, too. Back home everything reminded me of her. She loved red kites and blueberry pop-tarts. If only I could talk to her about getting over her, it would be good. What I’ve figured out, though, is that when you love somebody that much, that hard, that long, you can never get away from them, no matter where you go. That kind of love only comes once in a lifetime. I just can’t get a handle on it. I cannot let go.”


(7) There’s an undercurrent of respect and growing affection between Benjamin and his head trainer, Kelly.


(8) There’s an ongoing anxiety about whether there will be enough money to actually repair and open the zoo. The dollar amount that’s needed is never expressed outright in the movie, but it must have been a tremendous amount when you see all of the work that had to be done to open. And, Benjamin Mee’s brother, the accountant, keeps advising the conservative route of abandoning, selling, or somehow getting rid of the zoo.


As the viewer, we’re pretty sure it’ll come out all right but still there’s that tension.


Image Courtesy of http://thisisdevon.co.uk

This screenplay and movie are based on the real life story of Benjamin Mee. He wrote the book, We Bought a Zoo about him and his family’s adventure into the animal/zoo world.


Over time, the zoo, named Dartmoor Zoological Park, has become a world renowned research facility where Mee and others continue to study animal intelligence. It has won many awards and the methods used to study animals are admired around the world.


Benjamin Mee, his mother and his two children still live at the zoo.


www.benmee.me gives a concise biography of Benjamin. It tells us a bit more about Mee’s life situations before he bought the zoo. The website also includes a four-part television program about his story which aired on BBC1 after the book became a bestseller. The website also offers both of the books he has written: We Bought a Zoo and The Call of DIY, a booklet of practical wisdom.



Some Added Extras.


I love it when there’s a documentary section about a film. I think the one that comes with this movie is especially fascinating, if you like animals, because you get to see them with their trainers when they aren’t “acting.” It was a real treat. Enjoy!!


My own impression: It was amazing to see the animals up close. They’re so beautiful and majestic; their markings look perfect. They each have very different looks and habits, all of which are intriguing. All of the animals respond to human touch and a loving human voice.


Matt Damon set the mood for the extras with his comments. He mentioned that working with the animals was not as intimidating as he expected it to be because they were well trained and well looked after. Because all of the actors deferred to the animals and their trainers, things went smoothly. They never had a situation where bullhorns were going off and the handlers were screaming, “I’m not okay with this; I’m not okay with this.”


Especially gorgeous are Felix, the lion and the three tigers. Felix, the lion, is pure sweetheart, says Mark Forbes, his trainer. And, if you watch Felix who is behind Mark in one scene, Felix loves to rub against the men. Eric makes the point that unless Felix is allowed to greet every handler and get some attention, he won’t work.


He commented that Felix is more like a dog than a predator. He smiled in envy when he said that Felix really has the life: he has his own chauffeur, his own chefs and his own housekeeping and all he has to do is perform every once in a while on camera. He is truly The King.


Both Elle Fanning, who plays Lily, and Patrick Fugit, who plays Robin. said they got scared when they could see the three tigers looking at little Maggie, who played Rosie, as their next meal. Patrick says: “They’re FRIGHTENING. Tigers stalk and prey; they can come up to within six feet of you and you’d never know that.”


I think it’s so interesting the way the trainers talk about their animals as people. Katie is the tiger with the most depth, says Eric Weld, one of the cat trainers. So, she was chosen to play Spar in the movie. She’s the premier actress; she’s like, “Okay, call me when you’re ready.” Her trainer also said that he’s pretty sure Katie knows the words: “action and cut.” “Kinda scary when a predator knows your language but, hey, it’s part of the job.”


Then we see Doug Seus and Scott Smith, his assistant with the bears. When asked, Colin Ford, who plays Dylan Mee, says the bear’s the scariest. This kid is very charismatic, charming, has an engaging smile and clearly is enjoying his job, even though he thinks the bear is really scary because it’s so huge.


There are two bears: Bart and Tank, one 1200 pounds and the other 800 pounds, both about nine feet tall. We get to see the trainers encourage Bart to roar, to wave his paw, to turn his head. Doug Seus, his trainer, says that these kinds of movements indicate “character.” I ask you: “Who would have thought?


Tank and Bart are both grizzly bears like the ones In Yellowstone National Park. And, believe it or not, they respond really well to Doug saying “GOOD BOY,” “GOOD BOY.” In other words, the bears respond to a strong positive emotional reward. I ask: “Don’t we all need that?”


The head trainer says that the animals love the attention, they love the work, and even the retired animals are the ones at the gate in the mornings wanting to go to work.


The Music by Jonsi

Cameron Crowe

Screenwriter, Producer, Director



Warm wishes until next time,




A Deeper Look at “ The Kid” Movie

The Story Line.

            Successful, intense and high-powered Russ Duritz (Bruce Willis) has spent his life, since he turned eight years old, trying to forget the tragedy of his mother dying that year and the implication by his father that he, Rusty, was to blame.

Russ, now the adult is a buttoned-up, up-tight guy.   He’s a Media Consultant who advises people on how to present an image that will make people love and trust them when they really aren’t loveable or trustworthy. Russ actually is sarcastically insulting.  He criticizes and demeans his clients, and, amazingly, they take it.  He’s a powerful guy.  Yes, he’s emotionally “off” but he’s a powerful guy.

Russ appears to have everything he wants.  But, when young Rusty appears, Russ thinks he’s going crazy and visits his psychiatrist.  She tells him that Rusty represents an unresolved childhood problem.  At first Russ doesn’t believe her but as he and Rusty talk, he comes to accept that Rusty is Russ’ younger self.

Eight-year-old Rusty helps his grownup self, Russ, go back to his childhood school and remember a fight on the playground when he was eight.  Rusty wins the fight but is taken to the principal’s office. His mother, who is dying of cancer is called to the school to take Rusty home.

When Rusty’s father comes home and finds out that his wife has been to school in spite of the doctor’s orders, he becomes enraged, shakes Rusty and tells him that his mother is going to die.  Is he trying to kill her sooner? Does Rusty want her to die now?  Rusty starts to cry.  He hadn’t known that before that moment that his mom was dying.  As the realization sinks in, Rusty cries harder.   His dad yells, “Stop crying; grow up, grow up grow up.”

And so, Rusty does “grow up” in that moment; he never cries again.  From that day until right now he doesn’t feel his feelings either; he completely shuts them off.  They’re much too painful to feel.  And, somewhere between college and almost 40 years old, Russ completely shuts out his father and his sister, Josie, along with her family.

Once Russ and Rusty understand that Rusty suffered a terrible, terrible hurt when his father blamed him for hastening his mother’s death, the grownup Russ feels relieved.  He understands that his father’s rage with him was really caused by his dad’s own fear.   Within the next year his dad would not only lose the woman he loved, but he would also have to raise his two young children on his own.

Now that it’s clear to Russ why he, Rusty, was so hurt and frightened he didn’t want to feel anything anymore, he can drop the guilt he’s been carrying around since that day.  His mom’s death really wasn’t his fault; he can risk opening his feelings again.

They both go get something to eat at the diner (it doesn’t really exist).  (Trust me; in the movie this makes perfect sense.) Russ’ 70 year-old self meets them in the diner and shows them their future life.  With a wife and a dog named Chester, 70 year-old Russ reassures them both that Russ has 30 years yet to figure out what will happen in his future.  The one thing they know is:  Russ becomes a pilot with his own cool plane.

Russ and Rusty celebrate in the airport/diner parking lot (it doesn’t really exist).  (Guys, you really have to see this movie.) The plane (from the future) takes off, they watch it go and Russ shouts, “I am not a loser!”  And, no, he didn’t cause his mother’s death, either. The 8-year-old Rusty agrees.

         The Kid, Rusty, disappears in that moment; the adult Russ doesn’t need him anymore.

In fact the whole scene, the airport, the diner, the airplanes, all disappear.  They were part of young Rusty’s “help” and none of it is needed anymore.


Childhood Tragedy  and

                         How  It  Affects  Us.

Personalities First. 


The grownup Russ is a typical heavy Controller.


            Extreme Controllers like Russ here, are rarely aware of their feelings.  Not only that, but when the subject of feelings arises at all, they tend to:

(a) make fun of them, as though the idea of feelings is ridiculous, or

(b) they admit to feelings but won’t give them any value,

(c) they do their best to suppress them.



            Extreme Controllers typically distrust other people.  That’s Russ.  While they may have what they consider friendships, they rarely disclose anything but thoughts or ideas.  And, sometimes, like Russ, not even those.  Russ is silent at times throughout the movie when he could have and should have agreed with or explained to Amy.



The emotional distance that the extreme Controller creates allows him/her not to care if he:

  1.              takes advantage of others, like he does with Amy and with his assistant, (Lily Tomlin),
  2.              lies to protect what he wants: money and power, (Russ lied to Amy that he destroyed the tape), and,
  3.              has any feelings of guilt.  He doesn’t know his feelings and even if he knew them, he wouldn’t be interested in what they mean (the scene with the psychiatrist).



Amy is easier to like throughout the movie.  That’s because:



            Amy is an extreme Pleaser.  Pleasers are “nice” to everyone.  They’re helpful and responsible.  And, they have lots of other positive traits, too.



            Extreme Pleasers become attached to others easily.  Once the Pleaser is attached to that other person, it’s really hard for them to leave them.



            Anyone who is an extreme personality type, almost always is attracted to his/her extreme opposite personality.  These extremes often marry or partner with each other. It wasn’t hard to see that Amy was in love with Russ.


Childhood Tragedy.

  1.              Rusty, at eight years old, was a sweet kid who was capable of caring for a three-legged dog that other kids were taunting.  He loved his mom and dad.  We can assume he was really close to his mom; he says that he couldn’t seem to satisfy his dad.  So, when his mom died, he lost the parent he was closest to. This would be enough to make Rusty, the child, less talkative and more silent, perhaps, even bitter.
  2.               Even though Rusty’s dad probably didn’t realize the impact his words would have for Rusty that day, the meaning that Rusty attached to them was, for him, life-changing. Not just Rusty, but all children at his age, lack the experience and the reasoning powers that adults have.  And so they experience traumatic events, such as death in ways that we adults don’t know about unless they tell us.  They seldom tell us because, at that young age, they can’t sort it out themselves.
  3.               Just because Rusty didn’t know his feelings as he grew up doesn’t mean they weren’t operating.  In us humans, feelings are there all the time.  People who suppress or ignore them almost always have some sort of emotional symptoms.  These might be as diverse as:  chronic complaining, chronic disagreeing or outright arguing, persistent moodiness or unhappiness or persistent low-level discouragement or depression.  Or often, physical symptoms, like spastic colitis, stomach distress, ulcers, migraine headaches and on and on.



In spite of the underlying seriousness in The Kid, it’s a really charming and appealing movie.  It’s also funny, funny, funny in quite a few places.  So, if you’re looking for an entertaining movie with good acting from everyone in it, try The Kid, with Bruce Willis (this role is definitely out of his normal genre), Emily Mortimer, and Spencer Breslin, a very cute kid.

I loved this movie so much I bought it and have watched it lots of times.  Enjoy!


Warmest wishes until next time,



If you think anyone you know would like this, please send it on.  And, thanks so much for reading.  And, for sure, look for more movie reviews.

A Deeper Look at “Sydney White – the Movie”

The Story Line.

Sydney White, an 18-year-old tomboy, has been raised by her father, a plumber who owns a small construction company.  Sydney is going off to college hoping to join Kappa Phi Nu, her mother’s sorority, there.  Sydney’s mother died when she was nine and Sydney hopes to feel a connection with her mom when she joins.  But, for various reasons the most powerful person on campus, the reigning campus queen, Rachel Witchburn, is President of Kappa Phi Nu and, from the beginning, Sydney’s a target for her.

On the night Sydney is to become a member, she is embarrassed and humiliated instead and kicked out.  She has nowhere to go but she’s kindly taken in by seven guys who know nothing (literally) about girls. They’re sweet and smart guys but radically socially-challenged.  They live in a rundown house called the Vortex; a house the campus queen, Rachel, plans to destroy.

In the meantime Sydney meets a young man, Tyler Prince, who at one time was Rachel’s boyfriend.  Sydney and Tyler hit it off together and start dating.  This makes the campus queen even madder and meaner. 

Every year there’s an election for President of the university Student Council.  Rachel Witchburn has won this election for years and she definitely plans on winning again.

Sydney decides to run her own campaign on the idea (fact) that all the money in the past has gone to the Greek houses because Rachel directs the Student Council’s money.   The other clubs have been ignored.  After a pretty hard-fought campaign, Sydney White and her seven guys win.   The rattrap Vortex house gets fixed up; everybody’s happy.  It’s a great ending.




This movie is billed as a comedy and that is what it is, in spite of my Deeper Look comments below.  On its surface, it’s funny, has colorful characters, lots of action and I’d give it a 3 out of 4.  I really enjoyed it and, if you see it, I hope you will, too. 


Now, A Deeper Look.

When we look a little deeper than the “surface” story line, we see three important themes in this movie.

  1. We are all uniquely different and we should not only recognize and accept that fact but also celebrate it.  Growing up, we all want to be accepted; we all want to be valued; we all want to “fit in” with others.  But, think about it: the one, very critical place to “fit in,” first and always, is with ourselves.
  2. When we find ourselves in situations where we don’t “fit the mold,” as Sydney does here, we should be “true to ourselves and what we believe in.”

Sydney makes a defining statement when Rachel Witchburn dismisses her from the sorority.  Sydney says that, “If this is what it means to be Nu, I don’t want it anyway.”  She knows that she isn’t like Rachel Witchburn and she doesn’t want to be; she’s comfortable with who she is and what she values in life.  She’s independent and self-confident.

  1. At yet a deeper level, we can look at the movie as a struggle between ”good” and “evil,” even though it’s set on a college campus and the players are mostly teens or young adults.

As we follow Rachel Witchburn throughout the movie, we see that she stands forpower (when it’s threatened, she lies and cheats to keep it), money, status, image, being above others, and material possessions.. 

On the other hand, Sydney stands for:  equality, taking care of others (wherever she is, whenever she can), friendship, respecting others, ”doing the right thing,” disinterest in material things, giving back.



I’ll speak for myself:  I’m really glad Sydney comes out on top.  She brought a lot of other ordinary but valuable people along with her when she won the election.  She’s a great girl who identifies with others in a caring way.

As it’s pointed out in the election we all have individual characteristics that might not be looked at as desirable by others but we can still respect and value ourselves and each other enough to get along and work and play together.   Hooray for Sydney White!


Warmest wishes until next time,



If you’re interested in more information on Values, there’s a little more on my www.Joanchamberlain.com website.  As always, thanks so much for reading and if you have movie-lover friends, please share.            

A Deeper Look at “Moneyball.”

The Story Line.

Moneyball, the movie, tells the story of the Oakland Athletics professional baseball team and its general manager, Billy Beane in the year, 2002.  The movie was adapted from Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, a book by Michael Lewis, published in 2003. 

The central idea presented in Moneyball is that in 2002 the traditional ways of evaluating and hiring potential players:  (a) looking at stolen bases, (b) runs batted in, and (c) batting averages, were unreliable and amounted to nothing more than the subjective opinions of managers, coaches, scouts, and front office personnel. 

What Beane and his assistant, Peter Brand in the movie (Paul Depodesta in real life) did instead was use computerized statistical analysis of each player’s potential vs. his performance with the emphasis on getting on base.  In the baseball world this approach is referred to as sabermetrics (“saber,” coming from the name, Society of American Baseball Research combined with the word metrics).  Even though Bill James coined the term back in 1982, the practice of analyzing statistics was not adopted.  Up through 2002 Professional Baseball still relied on its century-old traditional approach.

The year 2002 became a “perfect storm” time in professional baseball for Billy Beane because of three factors.  (1)  Billy Beane had become General Manager of the Oakland A’s’ in 1997 and, like Alderson, the prior GM, he emphasized economy. (2) Before the 2002 season started, Oakland’s three top players were hired away by the New York Yankees for more money than the A’s’ could pay (Beane’s words were, “They gutted the A’s’ roster.”).  And, (3) the Oakland A’s’ were sold to two new owners just prior to the start of the season, who made it clear to Beane that there would be no increase in his budget for 2002.

Beane visits the Cleveland Indians GM looking for talent and meets Paul DePodesta, a Harvard graduate (major study: economics) working at his first job as an analyst for the Indians.  Beane hires him away.  Together they spend 30 million dollars on a team of supposedly “misfit” ball players who eventually go on to win 20 straight games to break a record that goes back 80 years. 

To everyone’s shock, Billy Beane’s record-setting, against-all-odds-team, makes baseball history.  After the season is over, the owner of the Boston Red Sox tries to lure Beane away from the ‘A’s with an offer that would make him the highest paid GM in the history of baseball.  Beane turns him down to remain in Oakland.  The Red Sox go on to win the World Series two years later using Beane’s and DePodesta’s sabermetrics approach. 

Gradually, during the last nine years, professional baseball has adopted Bean’s and DePodesta’s approach using analysts who use sabermetrics. 

***  If you want to read more about this unbelievable changeover in professional baseball, check out the great cover article in the Sports section of the December 7, 2011 issue of USA Today newspaper named:  “The Suits Behind the Uniforms.”


Now, A Deeper Look.


What makes this movie so appealing for me is that it portrays complex people with exaggerated and fascinating personality styles.  I really loved it.  Okay, let’s take a look, not only at the personalities but also let’s look at some of the relationship themes.

The Superiority personality types live their lives according to certain core ideas, a few of which are:

  1. I love information.  (These people are always experts in some subject.)
  2. I can set multiple goals and I will reach them.
  3. I treat life seriously.
  4. I must figure it out (whatever it is).
  5. I must be accurate, thorough and maintain high standards at whatever I do.
  6. I want to make some meaningful contribution to life.

Using the information above and studying both Billy Beane and DePodesto, we can see that they are both exaggerated Superiority people.  There’s no compromise of their beliefs, decisions or actions.  In the face of incredible odds, they take on, not only the Oakland A’s’ organization, but also the entire world of Professional Baseball.   So yes, exaggerated Superiority styles they both are.

The relationship between these two men is interesting.  Superiority people can be active or passive with their behavior.  Those who are active focus on a goal and concentrate all their energy on reaching it.  Once they decide to go for the finish line, they will take calculated risks to succeed.  (We see this personality a lot in small business owners.)  Billy Beane, in 2002 guiding the Oakland A’s,’ fits this description and we see DePodesta coming unglued at Beane’s risks in a couple of situations.

Passive Superiority people are more cerebral; we see them use much less active behavior.  Passive people “wait” more than active people.  Their goals are more detailed-information oriented.  We see them often in the university setting as PhD’s who study, teach and write.  If they’re in the corporate world, they’re often CEO visionaries whose biggest personal asset is being able to see an end result quicker and better than others.  De Podesta fits this description in Moneyball.

Superiority people mostly live “in their heads;” so they’re not always at their best in relationships.  In other words, they’re “head” people instead of “feelers.”  Often, they come off as detached.

We see this in Moneyball with both men.  Instead of “letting off steam” verbally, Beane doesn’t talk about his frustration; he acts it out by throwing chairs, water coolers, etc.  DePodesta only verbalizes his fear in one scene when Beane trades Pena.  One other time, DePodesta throws a ball at Beane.   We know he’s feeling fear (Will Beane take the Red Sox offer?) but he doesn’t talk about it. 

We also see Beane’s lack of talk in his relationships with his team manager and his head coach.  Instead of talking, he acts:  he trades Pena when the A’s’ manager won’t use Beane’s  first base choice and he fires the head coach, without warning, after the coach makes personal, disrespectful remarks about Beane’s record as a player.

The only place we really get to see the “feeling” side of Beane is when he’s with his daughter.   And, if DePodesta has “feeling” relationships with anyone, we don’t see it in this movie.

The relationships between Beane and DePodesta feels good to me.  It’s obvious that they respect and like each other and that they enjoy working together.  In real life, DePodesta stayed with Beane for 5 or 6 years before moving on to another ball club. 




To prepare for this review, I saw the movie twice (Yep, I liked it that much!) and read a few articles about Beane and DePodesta which I’ll mention now.  These are in addition to the article I already mentioned above.


  1. This Wikipedia page will get you about six or so pages on Beane’s personal and professional life.
  2. This video will get you DePodesta giving an hour-long talk to business people about the time he and Beane were together.  It’s so interesting.
  3. The article “Moneyball: Lessons for the U.S. Economy” appeared in Section A of the Wednesday, October 5, 2011 issue of USA Today (written by Paul Osterman).  It’s about applying the forward kind of thinking that Beane and DePodesta used in their baseball world to the world of business.


I hope you enjoyed this article and, if you haven’t already, go on to see the picture.  And, if you have a favorite movie you’d like my thoughts on the personalities, defenses or values in it, please let me know.


Warmest wishes until next time,



            You can learn more about the four personalities that I write about both in my articles and my movie reviews by checking out the descriptions of each one on my site:  www.allaboutpersonalities.com.  If you think anyone you know will enjoy this review, please share.

A Deeper Look at Little Women

(The 1994 Remake)

The Story Line.


The movie, over time, tells the story of the March family.  It’s an adaptation of the book, Little Women, written by Louisa May Alcott about her own family.  The setting is Concord, Massachusetts during the Civil War.  Marmee, the girl’s mother, is managing her girls and her home without the help of her husband, who is away at war. 

The four “girls” who become the “little women” are:  Meg, the beautiful, very proper oldest sister, Jo, the next born, a tom-boy who often embarrasses Meg with her behavior, then Beth, the shy, emotionally fragile third sister and last, the romantic, elegant Amy, the youngest. 

As time passes, the “girls” become “women,” each taking a different life path that is true to their individual personalities.  

Meg and Amy fall more into the expectations of the time; they know that they want to marry and have children and they do.  Jo, on the other hand, wishes she were a man and had the independence and rights that men have.  She takes an entirely different path from her sisters when she moves to New York, to pursue a writing career.    Beth, the quiet, self-conscious, and socially timid, sister just wants to stay at home with her parents and she does.

One of the things that draws me to this movie is that each of these women, all five of them, including Marmee, have a self-awareness that is unusual for the time they live in.

The girl’s self-awareness is due to two things:  their father and mother joined the German philosophical movement, which stood for two major ideas:  (1) Transcendence (part of the German philosophy, meant “perfecting oneself,” and (2) the movement embraced the idea that (a) all humans have a right to be respected, and (b) every person has a right to a good education, no matter their race, color or creed. 

We see that this movement was most played out in Jo’s life.  While she does later marry, she also opens a school of her own and becomes a renowned writer.

The second influence in the girl’s lives is their strong mother, Marmee, who teaches them:  (1) to value themselves for their inner qualities rather than their beauty, and (2) emphasizes that they should share their individual gifts with the world.  She encourages them to explore the “wonderful workings of their minds” and is sad that she cannot give her girls a “more just world.”  She encourages them to be realistic about possessions and men but to value things other than those.

Even just looked at on the surface, this movie is a really good one.  


A Deeper Look at the Personalities and the Values.


One of the most interesting things about this movie is that the whole family system is rich in its diversity.  Each of the girls is different in personality from the others in significant ways.  Meg is a typical eldest child, over-responsible in every way, her mother’s best helper. Her two strongest personality types are Pleasing and Control: Over Herself and Over Her EnvironmentHer personal needs and ambitions are modest.

Jo is a strong Superiority type.  She’s a heavy goal-setter who eventually accomplishes her dream of publishing her book.  And then, she sets a new goal of starting her school. Really completely the opposite from Meg.  She also takes Control Over Herself about her career and marriage.  And she tries for Control Over The Situations she finds herself in. She even tries to Control Others — Meg and the man she marries when Jo sees that they’re serious.

And then there’s Beth; completely opposite from Jo. Where Jo is adventurous, Beth shrinks back.  Where Meg and Jo are both comfortable with men, Beth is not.  Where Meg and Jo want to go forward with their lives, Beth does not.  She’s content with the simplicity of her life with her parents and sisters.

And finally, there’s Amy.  From very early on in her life, she’s clear about what she wants.  Some very interesting lines come from Amy when she’s still a young girl:  (1) one does have a choice as to who to fall in love with (to all of her sisters), (b) you don’t need scores of suitors, you only need one, if he’s the right one (spoken to Meg), and (3) I always knew I would never marry a pauper.   And she doesn’t; she marries rich Laurie whom she’s known since she was young.  She’s definitely the Control Over Herself and Control Over Her Situation personalities.  The purpose of all of her Control is to achieve Comfort in her life.

The other big draw for me is the Values I see acted out and talked about in this movie.  It was such a civilized time in family living.  Some of the Values I see are:


  • Civility.
  • Courteousness.
  • Encouragement for each other.
  • Family.
  • Modesty.
  • Offering aid when someone needs it.
  • Obedience.
  • Respect for each other and their differences.
  • Respect for elders.
  • Deep listening and valuing of parents.
  • Sacrifice for the family – Jo’s selling her hair.          
  • Honesty – after Jo sells her hair.  Later that evening Beth finds Jo crying and asks is it about their father.  Jo says, No, it’s about her hair.
  • Responsibility – when their father and husband need Marmee, she goes, having faith in her daughters that they can manage without her.  They do.
  • Faith in each other.
  • Self-denial.
  • Independence.
  • Hard Work.
  • Acceptance of their “Poor” situation and they don’t complain but cope with it gracefully.


Overall, I give this movie four stars out of four.  If what I’ve written appeals to you and you have time, rent it and watch it.  If you do, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 

Also, if you’d like to know more about Values and the different Personality Types, just check out the Menu and you’ll find more explanation about them.


My warmest wishes until next time,



            Thanks so much for reading and if you think anyone else would enjoy this, please pass it along.               


A Deeper Look at “Home Alone Two – Lost in New York”

The Story Line.


Kevin McAllister, a 10 year-old kid, along with his parents, siblings, cousins, aunt and uncle, head for the airport to board a plane for Florida.  It’s Christmas vacation time.  Kevin mistakenly gets on the wrong plane.  His family goes to Florida; Kevin goes to New York City.

In the meantime Harry and Marv, the Wet Bandits, have escaped from prison and also end up in New York.  They’ve been involved with the McAllister family before so when they pass Kevin walking on 5th Avenue, they decide to “get him.”  From then until the end of the movie there are high jinks galore.

Among other shenanigans, Kevin learns of the bandit’s plan to rob Mr. Duncan’s toy store after it closes that night, Christmas Eve.    After a lot of “close calls” Kevin manages to foil the robbers, his family comes to New York to get him and all ends happily on Christmas Eve night. And, yes, Christmas Day is all it should be: just wonderful.




A Deeper Look.

Kevin doesn’t seem to “fit in” well in his family.  There are several reasons why.


  1. Kevin has an older brother who Is manipulative.  He makes fun of Kevin, sets him up to fail, and then lies about it.  Unfortunately, Kevin’s mom and dad believe the older brother; they send Kevin to his room a lot.
  2. Kevin observes his brother and uncle well, can see their weaknesses and doesn’t mind telling the truth about them in front of everyone. His parents, of course, are embarrassed by Kevin’s behavior and try to control him out of it.  But no, Kevin continues to stand up for himself and speak out.  So, he’s the designated Black Sheep of the family.


On the plus side, Kevin manages to handle his crises pretty well.  Why?  Kevin has high self-esteem. Here’s how we know.


  1. He thinks.  (It may sound silly to mention this but, if you’ll observe others around you, you’ll see that not everyone has that skill.)  He really thinks; you can see it on his face.
  2. He observes and plans.  Very seldom does Kevin REact to the situations he’s in; he proves that he’s a problem solver every time he’s in a crunch.
  3. He’s independent, imaginative and competent. And, he takes calculated risks. Witness the trials he puts “The Wet/Sticky Bandits” through.
  4. Kevin is a “feeling” kid who is drawn to emotionally “safe” relationships. Witness his talks with Mr. Duncan at the toy store and, of course, the talks with the Pigeon Lady.
  5. Yes, he’s a strong thinker but he has a BIG heart as well.  Here are two good examples:
  1. When he visits Duncan’s Toy Store he learns of Mr. Duncan’s plan to give the profits from that day’s sales to the St. Anne’s Children’s Hospital.  He compliments Mr. Duncan for his generosity to the kids.  And later, when he finds out that the Wet Bandits are planning to rob Mr. Duncan’s store, he trips them up, they get nothing and, instead, land in jail.  So, even though he’s in danger with the bandits, he does the “right thing.”  Kevin has a sweet heart.
  2. The other time we see his tenderness and caring is in his last two encounters with The Pigeon Lady.


After the Pigeon Lady helps Kevin out of a difficult situation in Central Park, he is no longer afraid of her.  Kevin trusts her enough to ask two questions.  And, these questions tell us a lot about how his family views him, and unfortunately, how he views himself:  (1) Am I bothering you?  And (2) Am I being a pain in the butt now?  The Pigeon Lady answers, “No,” quietly but with a lot of reassurance in her voice.   Kevin suggests hot chocolate as a treat for them.  She agrees.

So, they go to the instrument room of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra (a great scene if you like instruments) and talk. The Pigeon Lady reveals that long ago she had her heart broken and no longer trusts people.  She’s withdrawn from the world.  And so, for some time she has made her home in Central Park with the pigeons.

But, Kevin says she should risk again because if she tried, things might work out.

He’s very encouraging.  He tells her that when he was younger he had a pair of roller skates that he tried on a few times in his room but never really used them. He was afraid to actually skate in them.  By the time he decided to use them, he had outgrown them.  He suggests that if she doesn’t use her heart now, later it won’t work for her.  *** (There’s a lot of wisdom in this idea for all of us.)

The Pigeon Lady counters Kevin’s remarks with the question:  “But, what if I get hurt again?”  Kevin says that she can count on him to “remember her.”  Her response?  “Don’t make promises you can’t keep, Kevin.”  Clearly, she doubts him; she’s still much too afraid to truly trust.

But, at the very end of the movie, Kevin leaves his family’s Christmas celebration to go visit the Pigeon Lady.  He has a gift for her:  a white turtledove ornament.  Mr. Duncan, the toy store owner, had given him two of these ornaments earlier.   Mr. Duncan told him that if he gave one away and kept one, Kevin and whomever he gave the other turtledove to, would forever be friends.  Kevin’s message to the Pigeon Lady is that he will not “forget” her; he’ll always remember her.   All ends well with the movie.

This is such a feel-good movie:  lots of humor but some real depth, too.  Just the right combination for the holiday season.  If you haven’t yet seen Home Alone Two – Lost in New York, you might give it a try.


And:  I hope you and yours have a very enjoyable and peaceful holiday season!


My warmest wishes until next time,



Thanks so much for reading and if you think anyone else would enjoy this, please pass it on.

A Deeper Look at “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”

The Story Line.


The Whos are preparing for their Christmas celebration.  They’re obsessed with buying, giving, getting and decorating.  Right from the start Cindy Lou, about 8 years old, observes all this activity and asks her father if it’s”right.”  He brushes her off and says that this is how Whoville celebrates Christmas.

During all these busy preparations, the Grinch comes down disguised as one of the Whos.  Cindy Lou meets him.  When everyone realizes he’s been there, they act terrified.  Cindy Lou begins to feel sorry for the Grinch; she’s determined to learn more about him.

She interviews the two older ladies who adopted him when he was a baby.  She interviews the Mayor of Whoville. And, she interviews Martha Mae, the girl he liked in grade school.  Cindy Lou comes to realize that the other kids at school mocked him, made fun of him and ridiculed him.  And, so the Grinch left.  He went up the mountain, outfitted a cave and has been there all these years. 

Every year Whoville elects a Cheermeister to lead the Christmas Whobilation.  The mayor wants that honor but Cindy Lou nominates the Grinch.  Everyone agrees. She goes up the mountain to invite him.  He decides to accept the honor and goes down to the celebration.  Once there, the Whoville people are so over-excited, they frantically dress him, feed him, pull, push and shove him.  He tries to stop them and actually says, “Stop, too much, too soon.”  They pay no attention; he becomes angry and destroys the whole town’s Christmas.  Little did he know that they had “spares” of everything, which they quickly brought out and put up.

The Grinch cannot stand the situation.  He goes down again secretly on Christmas Eve night and steals everything; he wants to “teach them a lesson.”  He takes everything back up to his mountain and is going to destroy it when he suddenly hears singing. “What?” he thinks.  And, shock of shocks.  The Grinch realizes that the people of Whoville now know that Christmas is not about buying, getting, giving or decorating.  It’s about family and friends gathering together and loving each other.  It’s about feeling content and grateful for what they each have.  It’s about peace and true “good will” among all.

When the Grinch realizes what has happened, he decides to return all of the things he stole to the Whoville people.  He does that and finds, a real bonus, that Martha Mae is in love with him. They all have a huge Christmas meal and everything ends happily. 

Definitely my kind of movie.


Now,  A Deeper Look.

There are quite a few deeper ideas in this movie.  But here, we’ll deal with the three most important ones.

1. The Grinch withdrew from Whoville because his feelings were hurt.  Why?  His classmates made fun of him. Instead of accepting and including the Grinch even though he was different, the other kids at school mocked and humiliated him.  He was so hurt that he shut down his feelings and decided never to feel them again; he thought, forevermore.  He withdrew from the town, built his home in a cave on the mountain and he stayed there alone.  The Grinch has been angry and bitter ever since.

We see him now as the adult Grinch.  He’s in such a rage and so distrusts anyone from Whoville that he not only shields himself in his cave, but he also scares anyone from Whoville whenever he can.  The Grinch is a master at revenge; he has everything it takes:  motivation, energy, help (from his dog) and best of all, he’s smart!

Gosh, we see that bullying the weaker or different ones in Whoville was a common thing back then, just like it is today in our schools and businesses.  Nothing much has changed because people who are bullied today feel the same way the Grinch did:  they hurt, they don’t understand why they’re treated badly but they’re very clear that they’re different, don’t fit in and are purposely being shut out. 

Cindy Lou first meets the Grinch when he comes down to Whoville to cause some trouble.  Again, why would he do that, she wonders.  He’s really disgusted with the Whoville people precisely because they emphasize the craziness of the holiday season:  they shop, shop and decorate, decorate.  He just wants to wipe out the whole thing.

In fact, he says, “Avarice, the avarice never ends.  That’s what it’s all about.  The Christmas season is stupid.”  He goes absolutely crazy and ruins Christmas all over town.

2.  Enter Cindy Lou, a Pleasing personality, is great at caring for others.  She has deep feelings, like the Grinch, and also, like him, she’s troubled by all the commercialism about Christmas in Whoville.  By now she also realizes that long ago the Grinch was treated badly.   So, hoping to cheer him up, she nominates him for the Whoville Cheermeister; he’s elected.  (One of the great moments in the story is when Cindy Lou nominates the Grinch, she is challenged not only by the mayor but also by other Whos in high power.  She stands up to them, showing a lot of courage).

Cindy Lou is delighted and hopeful that the Grinch will want to join the community again.  She goes up the mountain to ask him to come to the Christmas Whobilation and be the Cheermaster. Even though the Grinch is not kind to her, her caring for him never wavers. 

Later, even as the Grinch is stealing all of her family’s Christmas, Cindy Lou’s Pleasing care-taking continues. She mistakenly thinks the Grinch is Santa Claus and she urges him to remember to leave a gift for her friend, the Grinch. 

*** People who have the Pleasing personality always feel sorry for those who are being mistreated and are hurting.  People who have the Pleasing personality always take care of those they care about.  And, people with the Pleasing personality never want to believe that others are bad.  Cindy Lou certainly fits this description.            

3. On Christmas morning when the Grinch hears the singing from the town, he says, shocked, “It came; it came!  Maybe Christmas means a little bit more.”  As he says the words, he’s realizing that the Whos are having Christmas as they should without all the “stuff.”  They realize that having each other is more than enough.

Then something truly wonderful happens to the Grinch.  His heart, which had shrunk to practically nothing, grew and grew and grew in those moments; it grew three sizes right then.  Right then, the Grinch had an attack of “feeling.”  And, he cried.   

It’s such a sweet moment when the Grinch says to Max, “I’m all toasty inside and I’m leaking.”  The Grinch tells Max that he loves him; Max goes nuts and overwhelms the Grinch with kisses.  To which the Grinch says, “That’s enough, that’s enough, one step at a time.”  He’s still not quite ready for intimate expression.

After he realizes that Cindy Lou has come up the mountain to get him, saying, “No one should be alone on Christmas,” the Grinch returns everything to Whoville, joins in the celebration.  His small heart is not only “not dead,” but re-blooms that day. 

Yes, the Grinch’s outer world changed radically Christmas day; the Whoville people welcomed him and he rejoined them.  But, the Grinch’s inner world, which is by far the more important, changes radically as well.  He understands that hearts can soften and hurts can heal.

If you’re looking for a good, light Christmas movie choose The Grinch.  If you’re looking for a “great” movie, choose The Grinch.  Just be sure to take The Deeper Look.  

Thanks for stopping by in this busy, busy season, and  . . . . I hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday season.


 Warmest regards until next time,



By the way, if you want to know more about the Pleasing personality, check out some of my previous blogs at www.joanchamberlain.com and www.allaboutpersonalities.com

A Deeper Look at “Yours, Mine and Ours”

The Story Line.

This is such a great story, at least from my values perspective (more later on that).  It’s really funny, too, but not ridiculous. It’s a very light couple of hours, nothing heavy.  And, for most of us that’s a good thing, at least once in a while.

Frank and Helen, who were high school sweethearts, meet again, now in their 40’s, at a high school reunion.  Both of their spouses have died, so they are each single. Frank surprises Helen because when she asks him if he has children, he confesses that he has eight.  Helen shocks Frank because when he asks her the same thing, she responds with the number ten.  They have 18 kids (yes, I said 18) between then.

The years-ago attraction to each other is still there in a big way.  So, they decide that night to get married, and here’s the shocker, they do it without telling their kids. After the kids have been told, they all move in together.  From the beginning, it’s chaos.   Why? The kids from each family have been raised in totally opposite lifestyles.

Frank is an Admiral in the U.S. Coast Guard. He’s all about extreme order, organization and problem solving.  But, all of his kids are so obedient, that there are hardly any glitches in their lives.  On the other hand, Helen is a purse designer, very creative, and a strong proponent of “free expression” for children.  If you were to visit Frank’s home, you’d want to take your shoes off just inside the door and also be sure not to touch anything while you’re there. It’s pristine. In Helen’s home you’d have to find a clear spot just to put your foot down on the floor and not on any of the kids or their pet potbelly pig.

All of the unexpected togetherness makes for ingenious pranks and a lot of hostility.  When the inevitable trouble crops up, the Admiral’s idea of a solution is to make a very detailed organization chart and assign “duties.”  On the other hand, Helen wants to pass her family’s “talking stick” and share feelings.  Completely opposite approaches.

The situation comes to a head when Frank and Helen go out for the evening and the older kids have a party.  The house is an unbelievable mess, the little kids are sick from eating so much junk, and Frank and Helen find themselves once again on totally opposite sides as to how to handle it.  

Their differences really begin to show up after this party because Frank and Helen seriously disagree on how to handle disciplining the older kids.  While the parents trying to work out their differences, the kids all get together and hatch a plot to undermine the marriage and make sure the parents split up.  And, they actually succeed.

Helen hates order; she thrives on disorder and chaos in her workspace.  So, the kids make sure that they “order and organize” her work studio so that she doesn’t even recognize it and can’t work in it.  She accuses Frank of doing it; he, of course, denies that he had anything to do with it. She doesn’t believe him; she’s sure he did it for spite.

“I want a little bit of respect for the way I do things, Frank.  Homes are for free expression, not for good impression,” Helen says.  “In the military there’s little room for free expression,” Frank says.  “But, we’re not in the military, Frank,” says Helen. “An organized ship is a happy ship,” says Frank.

At that point Helen says that maybe they aren’t meant for each other; they’re too different.  Frank is hurt but agrees with her and tells his kids to prepare to move to Washington, D.C.   He’s been offered a promotion.

At this moment all of the kids realize that they’ve actually come to like each other and want to stay together as a family.  They confess to Helen that they’ve been the problem, not Frank. The whole bunch of them stop Frank from going, Helen and Frank kiss and make up and it all ends well.  I love happy endings.


Now, for A Deeper Look.

Let’s start first with personality styles.  Frank Beardsley has two strong personality stylesSuperiority (Achieving) and Control:  (1) Over Himself, (2) Over His Situation, and (3) Over Others.

Superiority people have very heavy and numerous goals.  Here Frank is an Admiral in the U.S. Coast Guard and has been offered the Commander’s position.  It was  a pretty lofty goal and he’s reached it.  One other important goal that we know about is that he’s raised his children to be good kids and goal setters themselves.

Frank definitely takes Control; yes, certainly at home but also at work.  At home each of his children conforms enough so that the family system works pretty well. But, the kids also seem independent enough to have their own thoughts and be in charge of themselves most of the time.

At work Frank is all about Control because that‘s what he must do to make his ship and his fleet run smoothly.  He’s an Admiral, for goodness sake!

Now Helen.  She, too, is a high Superiority personality type but only in her work life.  She’s a designer whose products are sold in high end New York retail establishments.  But, at home Helen is definitely a mix of the Pleasing style and the Comfort style.

We can see her Pleasing in how she handles her kids but also in how she mostly defers to Frank, too.  Pleasers tend to go along with those they love; they prefer not to have any friction.  They worry that saying “no” or setting too many limits somehow threatens the relationship. So, we see that pretty much everything the kids or Frank wants to do is okay with her.

We see her Comfort the minute we see the outside of the house.  It’s pretty much a mess.  Then when we see the inside, it’s more awful than the outside.  Comfort people don’t like to organize or clean because not only does it feel like work, it’s also seems unnecessary. Comfort people also don’t like expectations or pressure because they cause stress and stress isn’t comfortable.  So Frank’s expectations that Helen will put the cap back on the toothpaste or learn to put her things away, are just not going to happen.

So yes, Frank and Helen’s personality styles are very different.  But, two important things that save this marriage are that: (1) they very much love and appreciate each other.  The other is that: (2) they have some identical values:  (a) Children, (b) Cooperation, (c) Taking care of each other, (d) Responsibility, (e) Humor, (f) Hard work, (g) Having fun together, and (h) Commitment.


Warmest regards until next time,


 Thanks so much for reading and if you know anyone else who might be interested in this review, please share.


P.S. You can become more acquainted with the four personalities I’ve mentioned in this review if you’ll check out the descriptions of each one on my site:  www.allaboutpersonalities.com.

P.P.S  You can also learn more about the values I refer to in this review by clicking on the Values button in the Menu.

A Deeper Look at “Because I Said So”

The Story Line.

This is the story of Daphne, the single mother of three daughters, the two oldest of who are married.  Worried that her youngest daughter, Millie, will end up alone, as Daphne is, (she’ll soon be 60 and she’s single) she secretly searches for a husband for Millie on an internet site. 

After many interviews (these are very funny, laugh-out-loud scenes), Daphne chooses Jason, an architect.  She’s convinced he’ll be a great husband.  She arranges for him to meet Millie “accidentally.”  In the meantime, Millie has “accidentally” met Johnny, a guitarist and music school owner.  These men have completely opposite personalities.  Millie does eventually decide on one.  But, who and why?  Sorry, I can’t tell; telling would spoil it but please watch.  It’s worth it.  Oh, and, Daphne ends up with a guy as well.


Now, for A Deeper Look.


I chose this movie because the main characters, Daphne and Millie, are both so exaggerated in their personality types.  With a little watching, they’re easy to identify.

Daphne’s types are Control, Control, and more Control As you know, there are three major Control types:  Control Over Self, Control Over Situations and Control Over Others.  Daphne is an expert at controlling situations and others.  She just has no control over herself.

She has huge feelings; they’re in control of her instead of her being in control of them.  And, the consequence is that her life is one reaction after another.

Early on, her older daughters tell her that she’s “hovering.” Yes, and she hovers and hovers throughout the entire movie.  I find that Controllers have one of two motives for their actions, either they want power or they want comfort.  Here Daphne’s goal is her own comfort.  She definitely won’t be comfortable until Millie is married. 

(Time out …… There’s a whole undercurrent here about Daphne reaching 60 years old.  She believes that means:  (1) being ALONE and (2) her life’s over.  But, instead of changing her own life so that she’s not alone and changing her irrational thoughts about life being over,  she involves herself with Millie’s love life, which really is none of her business.)

***Note:  Like Daphne here, Controllers look powerful, but UNconsciously they’re generally fearful; so, they use control to handle their fear.  They reason that if they have control, they can structure their lives and other’s (here, Millie’s) so that they don’t have to be concerned about surprises or changes.  Are they aware of the deeply buried fear?  Not usually.

Millie’s personality types are Pleasing and Comfort.  As you watch her, you’ll see indecisive, passive behavior. She’s ditsy and clumsy.  You’ll see that she’s defensive when she and her sisters and mom go to get massages together.  While the scene as a whole is really funny, if we look closely, Millie’s so defensive that she leaves and goes home.   Comfort people hate stress, pressure and expectations.  Poor Millie; her mom pressures her constantly.

Millie’s other equally strong personality type is her Pleasing.  She’ll say “No,” to Daphne but then backs down and gives in.  Daphne overpowers Millie; she’s just no match for her mom’s Control.  Pleasers will usually give in and give up before they’ll do anything to threaten the relationship.

There are other strong clues that she’s Pleasing.   (1) She “gives herself away” without even thinking about it.  For example, when John offers her ice cream, instead of being certain about herself and telling him, she tells him to get her his favorite.  (2)  Several times when she’s out with Jason, the architect, he orders the meal for her.  If we’re watching closely, we see that she doesn’t want his choice but she doesn’t speak up. 

Pleasers hardly ever really know what they want. But, even when they do know, they won’t risk saying, because the person they’re with might not like it.  Pleasers are very focused on going along with others.  They’re all about not disappointing other people, even if that means giving up what they want.  Why?  Because they’re desperate for a relationship connection.

Okay, let’s talk about the guys.

John’s personality is more balanced:  He’s a small business owner so we know he has serious goals (that’s Superiority), he’s in Control of himself and his life but, thankfully, doesn’t try to control others.   He’s really Pleasing with Millie, his music students, and his son, but he has enough Comfort to kick back and relax, get comfortable.  John is a feeling “relationship” guy; he respects Millie.  He also knows about self-respect, unlike Millie, because he leaves her when he finds out she’s also dating Jason.

Jason, on the other hand, is a head guy.  What are the clues?  Jason doesn’t “pick up on” Millie’s body language, facial expressions, or any of the deeper meaning in her talk.  He’s so occupied with what he wants, he just doesn’t have the deeper awareness that John does.  And, the deeper awareness I’m talking is a necessary ingredient for emotional intimacy.  On the surface, he’s definitely a nice guy and he sure has a lot of material things to offer Millie.  But, with whom will she have the happiest, most intimate life?  Ya’ gotta watch the movie and see.

Thanks so much for reading.  And, if you like this movie, you might want to see Must Love Dogs with Diane Lane and John Cusack.  It’s a pretty good study of personality types and relationship, too and I’ve reviewed it, as well.


Warmest regards until next time,



P.S.  You can become more acquainted with the four personalities I’ve mentioned in this review if you’ll check out the descriptions of each one on my site: http://allaboutpersonalities.com/.

Also, please come back next Friday for another movie review and check out my main blog on Tuesday for a new post.  Thanks, again.

A Deeper Look at “Must Love Dogs”

The Story Line.

Married for some time to a man she really loved, Sarah Nolan (Diane Lane) is now single. She was divorced by her husband who immediately married another woman and they are expecting a baby.  This, in spite of the fact that during the entire marriage, Sarah had yearned for a baby. At divorce time she felt doubly betrayed.  And very devastated.

Now alone for the past eight months following the divorce, Sarah’s depressed. She comes from a large family, a couple brothers and a couple sisters, all of whom are concerned about her. Her oldest sister signs her up on an internet dating service without Sarah knowing and, definitely, without her consent. Jake’s friend does the same for him at perfectmatch.com

 After some really strange but funny date-blunders, Sarah meets Jake (John Cusack), in a local park; they both bring borrowed dogs.  They connect emotionally and sexually, but Sarah gets scared.  Jake is really, really intense, cuts right to the core to share his feelings and values and asks her to do the same. It terrifies her. She can’t; she would have to be much too vulnerable. 

Sarah and Jake are on a date when Bob, a good looking, almost-single, father from the preschool where Sarah works, shows up at Sarah’s door while Jake is there.  Jake jumps to the wrong conclusion. He thinks Sarah’s involved romantically with Bobby; Jake leaves.  Sarah isn’t involved. But, she’s too unsure of herself to pursue Jake.

Gradually, Bob lures her, and she cooperates, into a one-night sexual encounter. Soon Sarah discovers that he’s also sleeping with her co-worker.  She realizes that he manipulates and doesn’t have the depth or the values she yearns for. There are some really funny moments in this movie but with a deeper look we find two people, Sarah and Jake, just wanting to love and be loved. 

Sorry, but I won’t tell you how the story ends; you’ll either have to see it or suffer. 


Now, A Deeper Look.

PersonalitySarah’s such a Pleaser.  How do we know that?  (1) Sarah isn’t clear with herself, never mind anyone else, about what she wants in life. Sarah doesn’t know who she is yet; she’s emotionally drifting.  Pleasers, like Sarah, are always too focused on giving others what they want.  They UNconsciously think that if they keep others happy, the others won’t leave them. (2) Even if Sarah realized what she wanted in life, she wouldn’t feel good about saying it, because that would be too forward, too exposed, too vulnerable.  Pleasers are used to taking care of other’s needs, not causing any ripples by asking for anything for themselves, and always being available to whoever needs them.

Jake is also a Pleaser, just shows it in a different way.  Jake tries to make Sarah feel comfortable; he takes her to a casual restaurant where the owners are warm and inviting.  He offers to take Sarah’s brother home when he’s drunk.  So, in small ways he tends to her.  And, that’s what Pleasing people do.  Jake is just more active in his behavior than Sarah is. 

** Just an aside:  It’s really wonderful when two Pleasing people get together because it’s a fact that both people are going to be taken care of.  This is unlike a couple where one person does most of the giving and the other does most of the getting.

As Sarah slowly steps out into the real world, she begins to learn about herself and what she wants, through some pretty gritty situations:  (1) the one-night stand with Bob, a manipulative guy not mature enough for a deeper committed relationship; (2) a dating set-up with her own dad (that’s right, her dad); (3) a guy looking for a much younger woman, (4) a really depressed guy who cries at the drop of a hat, (5) another date with Jake that went better but was still too intense for Sarah.

There’s a great scene between Sarah and her sister after Sarah’s first date with Jake.   Sarah says, “Jake’s an emotional man who actually talks. I don’t think I’m ready for him.  He wants the whole dance and I’m just learning the steps.”  So, she realizes that:  (1) if she wants a deep relationship, she’ll have to risk being vulnerable again, and (2) she’s afraid to learn, at least right then.  But, as some months pass, her feelings for Jake and her appreciation for him grow

CommunicationOne of the undercurrents of this story is that some people are just looking for a surface, definitely not deep, relationship.  For example, the talk with Bobby is surface. He’s flirty, not interested or not capable (?) of exchanging thoughts or feelings on a serious level. 

Jake, on the other hand, wants to really get to know Sarah and wants her to know him in a very genuine (not flirty way).   He is a serious person who isn’t afraid of his feelings but, instead, embraces them and is able to express them.  He’s a deeper person who won’t settle for surface. 

I like this movie and if you like entertaining romantic comedies with a few easy subplots, you’d probably like it, too.  


Warm wishes until next time,  



Thanks so much for reading and if you’d like to have more of a deeper look at Personality Types, Communication and/or Values, please visit my website: www.joanchamberlain.com.  And don’t forget to check back here next Friday for another movie review, and at the main blog for new material on Tuesday.