Making the Grades
Talk about motivation to cure writer's block! If author Alex Sheldon (Luke Wilson) doesn't have his novel on his publisher's desk in thirty days, he'll face the consequences from two Cuban loan sharks. The thugs have already hung him out the window and set his notebook computer on fire. Only after pleading -- and agreeing to pay them double -- does Alex get a month's reprieve.
With no computer, the desperate man cons a stenographer named Emma (Kate Hudson) into transcribing his thoughts onto paper. Promising her a check at the end of the month, Alex begins to orally compose the romantic misfortunes of Adam Shipley. This fictional period character is caught in the classic love triangle between a chic but financially distraught society woman and her au pair known as Ylva, Elsa, Eldora, or Anna depending on which incarnation the writer is using.
However, Emma's oft-expressed opinions on nearly every aspect of the story cause continual revisions to be made. As the days fly past, the novel slowly unfolds. This happens both verbally and visually as this movie inter-cuts their "reality? with dramatizations of the dilemmas faced by the book's characters. Adding to the romantic tension, Wilson and Hudson play the parts of Adam and the au pair, whose fictional lives begin to mirror the relationship forming between Alex and Emma.
Although Emma is the kind of person who peeks at the last paragraph of a book to see if it's worth investing the time to finish, she wouldn't have to flip to the end of this movie to discover the forgone conclusion. Schmaltzy moments are interspersed with the comedy resulting from the mismatched couple's differing viewpoints on how men and women would naturally behave. This combination has the potential to be the perfect date movie, but alas...
The film includes a few moments of intense sexual activity between the novel's characters. The heated interplay offers head, shoulder, and leg close-ups along with a silhouetted full shot of a couple exuberantly having sex. While the violence (such as death threats and a not-so friendly overdue account reminder in the form of a baseball bat taken to a television set), and the portrayals of gambling (negative consequences are shown) may cause some concern, it is the moment of unbridled passion that will likely scratch this title off of your teen's list of ?nice movies to go and see.?
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Alex and Emma (2003).
Alex lures Emma into working for him under false pretenses. What could she have done that would have allowed her to be alone with Alex in a safer, more controlled environment?
Emma uses a machine called a Stenograph. Stenographers are employed as court reporters and in other industries where real time transcription of dialogue is required 0x2013 one example being closed captioning on television programs. For more information visit www.stenograph.com.