“The Last Kiss,” a 2006 dramedy starring Zach Braff, Jacinda Barrett and Rachel Bilson, features storylines that depict struggles within various romantic relationships — struggles that can very well be relatable to all of us. I’ve compiled four lessons from the movie that may strike a chord.
1. Coping with fears of commitment.
Michael (Zach Braff) is on the brink of turning 30 and Jenna (Jacinda Barrett), his girlfriend of three years, is pregnant. The beginning of the film illustrates Michael’s reticence toward adulthood. He’s wary of settling down; marriage; kids; a mortgage. While some may fear life’s immediate uncertainties, he’s scared of utter predictability, day in and day out.
Enter his new, flirtatious friendship with 20-year-old Kim (Rachel Bilson).
“The world’s moving so fast; we’re all chasing something so fast, we start freaking out way before our parents did,” Kim told him.
“I’ve been thinking about my life lately; everything feels pretty planned out,” Michael responded. “There are no more surprises.”
Michael must confront and examine his reservations, especially when he’s about to start a family with the woman he loves.
Commitment could be unnerving. Introspection can raise awareness and help sort through what it is you’re truly seeking.
2. Kids can’t save a marriage.
Michael and Jenna are friends with a couple who just had a baby. That couple fights constantly, giving way to scenes that are uncomfortable and cringeworthy. “The kid’s gonna hate us if he has to grow up listening to us fight all day long,” Chris solemnly told his wife.
Children bring about additional responsibilities and stressors to the daily routine. That stress becomes exacerbated if relationship incompatibilities are already present.
Though it may appear counterintuitive, sometimes, a married couple is meant to be apart. The kids can’t salvage what cannot be saved.
3. Actions speak louder than words.
When Michael succumbs to a particular indiscretion, he must show just how much he longs to be with Jenna.
“What you feel only matters to you,” Jenna’s father said to him. “It’s what you do to the people you say you love that matters. That’s the only thing that counts.”
If Michael wishes to mend his mistakes, he has to do whatever it takes. Actions can illuminate authenticity. When actions do not mirror words, one can gauge that something feels off.
4. Don’t be so quick to walk away.
Upon hearing Michael’s mistake, Jenna’s initial, emotional response is to leave.
Life isn’t always black and white; it comprises numerous shades of grey. It was Bob Marley who once said: “The truth is, everyone’s going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.”
When a person (who’s close to you) hurts you, it’s painful. It’s hard. Yet, does your connection outweigh what happened? Can the issue be resolved? Maybe, maybe not. But sometimes, you don’t have to walk away just yet.
“The Last Kiss” has always been a favorite of mine, for it captures the segue into adulthood via different relationships that signify interesting life lessons.