“The Accidental Husband” is a romantic comedy about a radio talk show host, Dr. Emma Lloyd (played by Uma Thurman), who insists that women find “real love” with a suitable man: a Responsible, Equal, Adult, Loving (REAL) man. However, it becomes clear in the course of the movie that her advice is motivated by fear of sparks that might turn into fires in the house of her heart. That’s because Emma grew up with a father, aptly named Wilder, whose parenting made her long for stability and security.
So, when she meets a man whom she finds powerfully attractive, she’s not ready for him–and she’s engaged to someone else anyway! It turns out that she’s also been “accidentally” married to him by a teenage hacker messing with New York City’s marriage license data base. Thus the stage is set, and the romantic comedy unfolds.
I like this film because it respects the humanity and fragility of each major character in it. No one is demonized. Real motivations for the actions each one takes–their impulses, their desires, their mistakes–have clear roots in what we learn about their personal histories. I think Emma’s relationship to her father, her desire to be safe, her intelligence and creativity, her usually hidden ability to tell stories and cut loose, and the real beauty of her unique face and personality all make this film better than most romantic comedies.
But it is not only Emma’s character who brings life to this movie. I enjoy the cast of Indian characters from New York who are the close friends of Emma’s husband, Patrick Thomas Sullivan (played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan). The authentic representation of a Hindu ceremony, the interweaving of multiple languages, and the music –the music!– is rich and beautiful. The music is beautiful all the way through, and Rahman’s “Swasame” at the film’s ending will awaken any sleeping heart. That song is a poem. It begins at the end of the story.
The ending of the film is my favorite part. All the troubles Emma and Patrick face, especially the ones they themselves put between them, get resolved. (This is a romantic comedy afterall!) But instead of ending the film with a kiss or a wedding ceremony or a romantic, honeymoon-like get-away, as most films in this genre do, “The Accidental Husband” ends … with Patrick adoring his wife’s nine-months’ pregnant body. The joy of the faces of these two people at this moment is wonderful!
Why don’t all romantic comedies end this way?
To see the ending of the movie, check out YouTube: The Happy Ending
To listen to “Swasame” in its entirety, check out: Tamil Song
To read a translation into English of “Swasame,” see: Translation
… and enjoy the poetry of a love-song sung in Tamil.