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Watch trailer here
The Family Man is a comedy drama about a highly successful, single investment banker who gets to experience how his life would have been if he made a different decision 13 years ago (i.e. choosing to stay with his girlfriend over a fast-lane career). It’s a movie with a ‘what if I had done this instead?’ experience and contrasts the life of one with great wealth and success vs. a quiet family life.
13 years ago, when Jack Campbell (Nicolas Cage) left for London to pursue a prestigious internship, he promised his law school-bound girlfriend Kate (Téa Leoni) that they'd only be apart for a year.
Now it's Christmas Eve, and Jack's a high-paid, high-powered and high-living Wall Street bachelor, and Kate's a distant memory. Stopping at a convenience store on his way home from work, Jack finds himself in the middle of a disagreement between the store's owner and an agitated street punk. After helping to settle the riff, Jack proceeds to lecture the young man Cash (Don Cheadle), who in turn, proceeds to questions Jack's values in life. "I have everything I've ever wanted," Jack tells him.
Tucked safely inside the walls of his sleek, immaculate designer penthouse, Jack falls asleep...
...and wakes up in a cluttered suburban New Jersey bedroom next to Kate, 13 years older and sleep-deprived but still looking like he remembers her, with a baby crying in the next room and a six year old girl calling him Daddy. And that's just the beginning in a long list of surprises for Jack.
It’s a great movie to that sparks thoughts about your life, though I’m not exactly in agreement with the indirect message the movie sends that life has to be an either/or scenario (in this case, wealth vs. family). It encourages people to justify not pursuing career / wealth goals because they have a family, or that they shouldn’t pursue love / have a family because they’re busy with their career. Both are achievable (else top business people/CEOs/the best performers in their fields would all be singletons, which isn’t the case) – it’s a matter of growing and expanding our capacity.
What I do like is it gets you to reflect on what you’re currently doing in your life. If you continue what you’re doing today, where is it going to lead you? A life of achievements and wealth but with no real friends or loved ones to speak of? A life spent conforming to norms and never taking action to pursue your real goals and dreams? A life just living for others but not for yourself? Someone bitter at life and at the end of it all, yourself? And is this life what you want? If not, what are you going to do to change this outcome?