Hollywood films that deal with infidelity often portray the delights of a fresh romance and the resulting damage in the familiar relationship, in the affair or in both.
I noticed a refreshing formula change in Mr. Holland’s Opus–the 1995 film now revived on Showtime for its timeless themes and performances.
Mr. Holland’s Opus asks soulful questions about enduring marriages:
If you put your career dreams on hold for the good of your relationship, what happens when you are tempted by a seductive chance to revive your dreams and start fresh? Is your enduring relationship disposable or worth preserving?
Richard Dreyfuss opens a window into his soul as he faces these questions in the title role of Glen Holland, a frustrated composer who finds fulfillment as a high school music teacher, a husband and father.
He lets his wife, played with gentle brilliance by Gleanne Headley, deal with challenges of having a deaf son who can’t share his father’s love of music until his father has a change of heart.
This change is prompted by his irresistible attraction to a gifted student. It begins when Glen Holland nurtures the immense singing talents of a high school senior for the class musical. He writes a gorgeous song which he names after her but never shows her, thereby channeling his sexual attraction creatively.
His student responds to his encouragement to fulfill her dream as a singer in New York. She invites him to go to New York with her to fulfill their vast musical talents and their passionate attraction.
Glen Holland digs deep into his core values, trying to resist his primal urge to accept her offer. Richard Dreyfuss is riveting in his silent soul searching.
Then he makes a brave decision to do what’s best for both of them. It’s a choice that protects her and his marriage, and this nourishes future growth in his relationships with his wife and son.
How many couples have made the alternate decision to dispose of the familiar relationship in favor of tempting delight of starting fresh? How many families and dreams were broken apart because of it? The divorce statistics are heartbreaking.
I’m wondering if couples need to learn how to say no to temptation for the well being of their families and themselves. If so, I suggest you watch Mr. Holland’s Opus to see how this choice is made and ultimately rewarded by the profound fulfillment of revived dreams and resilient family love.
And if you’re single and dating, I suggest you watch this film to get a realistic view of the joys and challenges of an enduring relationship.
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