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Word Gems 

exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity


Soulmate, Myself:
The Perfect Mate

Josie and Liam



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Wikipedia: Forever My Girl is a 2018 American romantic drama film written and directed by Bethany Ashton Wolf based on the novel by Heidi McLaughlin. It follows a country musician (Alex Roe) who sets out to win over the girl he left at the altar eight years before (Jessica Rothe). Abby Ryder Fortson, Travis Tritt, and John Benjamin Hickey also star.

The film was released in the United States on January 19, 2018. It received negative reviews from critics, who denounced the writing and chemistry between the actors, and compared it negatively to Nicholas Sparks films. However, audience reception was more positive, and the film was a modest box office success grossing $16 million on a $3.5 million budget.

Plot: In Saint Augustine, Louisiana, Josie is left at the altar by her fiancé Liam. Eight years later, Liam is a successful country singer. The day after a concert in New Orleans, Liam, after a one night stand wakes up to discover the girl he slept with jumping excitedly, unaware she is on his beat up cell phone. Panicked, Liam takes the phone to a store where the manager, fixes the phone for Liam. Afterwards, his manager questions why he still has the phone, Liam revealing it has a very important message on it. While watching TV, Liam learns that Mason, one of his groomsmen from the wedding and his best friend from childhood, has been killed in a car accident. Liam returns to St. Augustine and attends Mason's funeral. Although Liam attempts to be discreet, Josie recognizes him. After Mason's burial, Josie approaches Liam and punches him in the stomach.

Liam stays with his father, Pastor Brian, although his father is bitter that Liam never kept in contact after becoming famous. While becoming reacquainted with the town, Liam encounters Josie at a flower shop she owns. Liam learns that Josie has a seven-year old daughter, Billy, and that he is the father. Josie confesses that she found out she was pregnant two weeks after he left her at the altar. Although Josie tried to contact him, Liam never returned her call, and Josie decided that if Liam didn't care enough to call her back to find out what was so important, then she wasn't going to contact him again because she and Billie deserve better. Liam eventually persuades Josie to let him spend time with Billy, albeit on Josie's terms. Billy quickly realizes Liam is her father, much to Josie's surprise, and supports Liam's idea.

Liam and Billy bond, with Billy displaying her father's musical ability. Josie even agrees to let Billy stay the night with Liam. As Liam tucks her in, Billy asks him why he left Josie, and Liam admits he was young and confused, although he regrets his decision, Josie and Brian overhear the conversation. After Billy falls asleep, Josie asks Liam on a date. Liam flies Josie to New Orleans for their date, although they are stopped by the press. Liam publicly announces his love for Josie, calling her "The One".

After returning to Saint Augustine, Liam and Billy continue to bond. Billy chokes on her lunch, but Liam is frozen after having a flashback to his mother’s death. Jake, Josie’s brother, saves Billy. Distraught at his inability to act, Liam gets drunk at a bar. Jake visits Liam and tells him that Josie and Billy would be better off without him. Liam leaves the next morning without telling Josie or Billy, leaving a note for his Dad telling him that Billy and Josie are better off without him.

Liam returns to his tour and performs in London. However, his manager Sam inspires him to return to his family. At the airport, Liam responds to the message on the answering machine that Josie left for him 8 years earlier, explaining that losing his mother caused him to fear losing her, causing him to flee. Liam returns to Saint Augustine and meets with Josie. Liam and Josie get married and Liam plays a song on stage with Billy, first at the child's school talent show, and then during his musical tour in Berlin.


Elenchus. What do you think about this movie?

Kairissi. Well, some of the country songs are really amazing. It’s usually hard to like a song the first time you hear it, but I liked most of these right off the bat.

E. But some things you didn’t like?

K. It’s not that I didn’t like them – I mean, it’s complicated. This movie is filled with “feel good” images that are impossible not to like. And that’s part of the problem here.

E. Explain this.

K. I feel manipulated watching this movie. It’s as if the script writers checked with a focus group to come up with all the hot-buttons to tug at your heart strings. Think about it: right off the mark we see the pretty bride being stood up at the altar – you can’t be unemotional about that.

E. In Dante's day, a little stunt like jilting a bride at the altar could get you killed in a back alley by her offended family.

K. Right. And then there’s the “rock star” element, something that a lot of people would sell their souls for just to be a god like that even for a short time; and there’s the scene about the little girl who almost dies at the cookout, and there’s another scene about the little girl who joins dad playing a guitar at a rock concert… I could go on with a few other hot-buttons, but you get the idea.

E. But, Kriss, to play devil’s advocate, isn’t a romantic movie supposed to have a good deal of human interest?

K. I suppose so but, the way it was done, I just feel it was unrealistic – too many intensely emotional tear-jerkers strung together like mismatched beads on a fake necklace. But tell me what you thought about it.

E. Well, we often see the same things, and I have to agree with you; it’s just that, there were other things that seemed unrealistic to me.

K. What did you see?

E. I understand that young people are immature and can do stupid things, or fail to do anything, which can seem just as unlikely. What I mean is, would you really stand by, frozen and immovable, when your daughter is choking on a hotdog? Yeah, I get it that “sad movies in the mind” from an earlier time in life can traumatize people, but would you really do nothing and just sit there like a stone wall while your daughter grasps for air? I have trouble buying that. I mean, scream, run, jump on the table, pray – do something, anything. He's an onstage world-class performer, but he's a stone statue now?

K. (silence)

E. And the whole “leaving her at the altar” thing just doesn’t ring true. If you are so attached to a girl that you listen to her voicemail recording every day for eight yours, would you really not show up at the church? or, if you didn't, would you really not call her or go to her for eight years? And his excuse seemed so lame to me: so he didn’t want to lose her because his mom died when he was a kid, and now he runs off and joins the circus, and is competent enough to become a world-class performer - but he can't call her? – it just doesn’t add up for me.

K. I wonder if… someday… when our story is known… how we made such a mess of things… I wonder if people will say… how could you have done that, or, how could you not have done that? – what will we tell them?

E. I suppose I should be kinder to Liam. When people are operating on anger or fear, or if they’re immature and half-baked and can hardly think at all yet, I suppose we should grant them the “lack of capacity” defense.

K. On one level, things may seem to be entirely chaotic for a romantic couple; yet, on another deeper level, beyond the reach of the egoic confusion, there is stillness, harmony, and concord.

E. Like a hurricane battering the ocean, but, a few hundred feet down, all is peace and tranquility.

K. I am reminded of Franchezzo’s startling behind-the-scenes affirmation:


Franchezzo, A Wanderer In The Spirit Lands:

"I have seen one of a pair of lovers, whom some misunderstanding had parted, and between whom death had placed a last insurmountable barrier, [go to] the Beloved One left behind, and seek, by all means in his power, to convey to her the true state of things, that their hearts had been true, whatever might have appeared to the contrary."


K. (softly) If you cross over first, Ellus, will you come to me... to tell me...

E. Yes... but I've been telling you, for some time now, my Dear...