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Jersey Girl Comedy, Drama, Romance | March 26, 2004 (United States) Summary: A widower must look after his precocious daughter and rebuild his life and career after he's sidelined by an unexpected tragedy and a personal blowup.
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

“Why are you being so combative with me?!”

~ Ollie Trinkie (Ben Affleck) | Jersey Girl

Seemingly a comic scene, where Ollie Trinkie (Ben Affleck) rushes into the Hospital and grabs the Head Nurse, asking her to admit his wife who’s about to deliver a baby. Only the Head Nurse doesn’t seem to be keen to oblige.

In response, Ollie snaps –

“Why are you being so combative with me?!”

The wise old nurse calmly points out the obvious to an anxious, perspiring, and agitated Ollie. For her to admit the wife, she would need the wife. That’s when it occurs to Ollie that in a state of panic, he had rushed into the hospital, leaving his wife in the car.

That’s when we see a composed and very much pregnant, Gertrude Steiney (Jennifer Lopez), calmly walks in and says –

“I’m sorry. He’s a little panicky.”

Jersey Girl (2004) is an underrated movie. There were many wonderful scenes in this ordinary Romedy with nothing to make it a standout. Yet, this scene lingered in my thoughts long after the movie was over. The writing was radical and unorthodox. The characters were so real that it was uncomfortable to watch them. Just like real life. Perhaps that’s why the scene stood out. It was one of the most realistic impressions of the human trait I had seen.

Ollie Trinkie is the Protagonist of the Story. Yet, he is far from a hero. Rather, he comes across as more than a Human. Just as flawed as any other ordinary person. A paradox of greed & generosity, arrogance & kindness, and rage & compassion.

One of the most apparent traits of Ollie is his obstinate view of the world. It’s him against the world. Like a defeated anthropophobic warrior, he’s filled with bitterness, rage, and hostility towards everyone else. Of course, his daughter is spared to an extent, but even she gets to see the dark side of the man. Almost every other character can see Ollie for who he is, except Ollie himself. To Ollie, he’s just being himself and there’s nothing wrong with it. So he always feels it’s others who are at fault. He even goes to the extent of finding them hostile towards him.

If you take the isolated hospital scene as a parable, it has so much to teach us. In the scene, Ollie, despite not being blind, seems to be oblivious that his wife is not with him. In his state of panic, he had left his pregnant wife behind. Given that, him demanding the Nurse to admit his absent wife is plain silly. Unable to accept his error, he assumes that a designated nurse, a stranger, is working against him and his wife and trying to stop them from having a baby. His mind can conceive many negative and evil intentions from the Nurse and hospital. But not for once. Will he stop to question if in any way he’s at fault? Maybe the counter-reactions he’s getting from the others are triggered by his hostile action.

Is that not what we do in our daily lives? Constantly writing off others as villains of our lives. Assuming the worst in people, even when there’s no rational reason for it. Such an apt depiction of real life.

“Survival of the fittest.”

Despite the original thought behind the phrase, somehow it was violently misconstrued. “Each-man-for-himself” sort of allowed individuals with an emotional semblance to be self-centered and self-obsessed. If only there was a note from the original author clarifying the true context of the phrase. What if the phrase was not referring to an individual but a species? The human species, standing for itself together as a collective unit.

That’s the beauty of storytelling. Whether in books or cinema, it’s a reflection of the world. Jersey Girl begs me to wonder how deeply writer Kevin Smith might have noticed life. Jersey Girl is like a bottle that got tossed into the ocean and never made it to the shore of popularity. However, it may have fared amongst its audience. It has some gems locked inside that bottle.

 

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