Always loving an excuse to get out of the house, I didn’t think twice about going to a screening of the new Sarah Jessica Parker movie I Don’t Know How She Does It, which is based on The New York Times best-selling novel by Allison Pearson (who doesn’t love an opportunity to see a free movie, especially considering NYC’s ticket prices!?!). As a stay-at-home mom, I didn’t know if I’d enjoy a movie based on a high-profile financial manager and working mother of two because I thought I wouldn’t relate to her on a personal level. But I really did. The movie prompted a lot of laughs around the trials and tribulations of dealing with the day-to-day juggling act all mothers (not just working mothers) face and then the (universal) guilt of not being able to do it all. I could totally relate to SJP’s character Kate and how she lies awake in bed at night making to-do lists in her head that never seem to end or get done (no one ever told me that showers would end up on my list as a mom and, yikes, might not get checked off!).
The supporting female characters include a single mother as Kate’s best friend, a judgmental stay-at-home mom, and an anti-marriage, anti-children assistant. Having diverse female characters naturally allows different viewers to connect with the woman they are most like, making the movie relatable to a slightly broader audience. The movie also touches on the man’s point of view through her husband and co-workers, highlighting the challenges women have when maintaining these relationships on top of everything else in their busy lives. I appreciated that the film didn’t try to paint a picture of perfection or tell the unrealistic story of a “Supermom.”
After the movie was over, I enjoyed a panel discussion with SJP and Allison Pearson on how to balance family, career, and romance. The message: it is okay not to do everything perfect all the time. I am happy with my choice to be a SAHM and this movie helped to affirm the choice I made. That might not have been the goal of the movie, but that is the feeling I walked away with.
If you are a SJP fan and love her carefree, slapstick acting style, you will enjoy this film even if you’re not a parent. However, it’s clear that its target audience is moms of a certain age so it probably won’t be a blockbuster. I do know that I Don’t Know How She Does It would be a great girls’ night out movie with your other Mommy friends. Followed by some wine, of course.
Opens: Friday, September 16th
Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear, Christina Hendricks, Kelsey Grammer, Seth Meyers, and Olivia Munn.
I attended the free screening, where I received a complimentary copy of Pearson’s book and an American Express gift bag, an event hosted by Moms and the City, who can be followed on Twitter @momsandthecity.