The fact that there's a review of this film goes to show that even critics can be suckered in by hype. I went to see this movie because it was touted as an unusual love story and has an amazing cast. Though the story was different and the actors first-rate, I didn't like the film or any of the characters in it. Why Penn, Wright and Travolta choose this material is beyond me. It's certainly well written and performed, but the characters are so unlikable the experience is less than enjoyable. This is, without a doubt, one of the most honest love stories ever shot. However, that's not why most of us go to the movies. If I wanted reality, I'd stay home.
Maybe it's because I just couldn't relate to them or that kind of all-consuming, "I'll hurt anyone who touches you," kind of love. Both Penn and Travolta's characters love "Mo" so much they try to kill each other to have her. Why I don't know. She was nothing special in my opinion. That's the crux of the film's problem. Maybe their obsession would be reasonable if she were worth fighting over. But she's portrayed as a drunk, fucked-up, lying idiot with no concern for her personal health and well-being. Which is not to say anything bad against Wright's performance. This is obviously the way the part was written. Everyone deserves to be loved. It's just that she wasn't lovely and that's kind of what the title of the film implies.
The film is about hard choices and how one never really chooses who to fall in love with. Eddie (Penn) and Mo (Wright) are perfect for one another. They're both drug-addicted losers with no future. Mo's only issue with their lifestyle is that Eddie disappears for days on end leaving her sad and alone. The fact that she's pregnant doesn't help matters. Eddie has serious anger management issues that cause him to go over the deep end and land him in the insane asylum. Mo has no choice, but to move on with her life, having a child to raise. The next time we see Eddie, he's back in the real world looking to start over with his wife. He has no idea that she remarried and now has a family in the suburbs. Having found a certain level of happiness with Mo (she never stopped loving Eddie), Joey (Travolta) is not about to let Eddie ruin his domestic bliss. What he fails to anticipate is Mo's true feelings and the pull of the past.
I don't really understand why she would go back to Penn in the end. I know their's was supposed to be a perfect love, but if that's what their relationship portrayed, I don't want any part of it. She decides to return to a life of uncertainty and poverty. She had a decent thing going and 3 daughters with Travolta (though the oldest is Penn's child). I guess it truly shows her personality when she's able to just give them up for Penn. She makes her choice, and on some level I agree giving up everything for true love but I didn't like it. There's not a single likable person in this movie, which makes it hard to enjoy. How can you root for a woman who abandons her children? Penn makes Eddie somewhat sympathetic, but he's not what you'd call a keeper. Travolta has the thankless role as the man Mo settles for. If he weren't such a controlling creep, he'd actually be the one character you could relate to. As it stands, SHE'S SO LOVELY is a realistic tale of love that will leave you hoping it never happens to you. Not exactly the response they were looking for I'm sure.