It’s Complicated

Review by Stacey Tuttle

For every example of noble, sacrificial love there are at least a thousand examples of self-serving , shallow love.  It’s Complicated was a story about several people with the latter type of love, each using the other to meet their needs. 

Lest you think I am being too harsh, let me say that I actually liked the movie.  To be honest, I laughed hysterically through it…twice.  I also felt that it was actually very honest about the questions and motives and uncertainty behind the actions of some of the characters, as well as the types of advice and support we get from the general public.  (Oh, how I hope you have at least one trusted voice that offers better advice than what was in that movie!) However, just to say that it was honest does not say that it was right.  You can ask a good question but act completely wrongly in response to that question.  To say that the advice Jane received from friends and counselors was “honest” is to simply say that it typified the types of advice people usually get from their friends and counselors, not that the advice was good.  It wasn’t.  The advice was common, not wise.

Here are some quotes from the movie along with some biblical responses:

Jane: “So you’re saying, this is a healthy choice for me.” (To have an affair with her ex husband.) The path of righteousness is always the healthy choice. 

Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out. Prov. 10:9

“Since we were together that long it’s not really that wrong.” (Jane’s justification for the affair) Jane is justifying her present by her past.  Your history doesn’t change the standards of right and wrong.

Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that seems right to man, but in the end it leads to death.”

“You’ve never done anything bad or wrong, ever. So you’re allowed this one.” (Jane’s friends’ advice to her) There is a reason why Jane has never done anything wrong or bad – because it’s wrong or bad!  Sin is not like sick days at work – you are allowed to have 3 in a year, so sick or not, you take it – it’s a freebie!  Sin is ugly, wrong and has consequences.

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death…”

Jane’s psychologist’s vacant response to Jane’s affair is that, “It’s not good.  It’s not bad.”  And later he offers, “It can’t hurt”. I am still trying to understand how he could possibly advise her that an affair could “not hurt.”  It did hurt.  It hurt her kids.  It hurt her own estimation of herself.  It hurt her architect who she was also seeing.  And it hurt her ex husband because it allowed his charm to be more powerful than his character – a dangerous lesson for anyone.  But lest I be unclear, let me point out that “do not commit adultery” is one of the 10 commandments (Exodus 20:2-17).   It IS bad to commit adultery. 


I said that this movie was basically a story about people using each other.  I think Jake is pretty transparent – everything he does is to suit his own interests.  But Jane is not quite so obvious. She is a more mature character who has generally taken the high road it seems.  But this may just be her downfall.  She is worn out from doing the “right thing”.  So suddenly, something comes along that feels so good and so right.  So what does she do? She turns to friends and counselors for some sound advice – literally begging them to steer her in the direction she knows she needs to go.  But every one of them encourages her to just “live a little” and see what happens. 

I think the most dangerous thing about this film is that it ought to be a cautionary tale.  It ought to warn you against affairs.  It ought to let you know that sin is painful and has consequences.  It ought to encourage you to seek wise counsel.  But in the end, it doesn’t warn you of anything because there aren’t really any consequences in the movie.  But, maybe that too is honest in a way.  Maybe the truth is we don’t always see the consequences and we often feel we have gotten away with it, whatever “it” is.  But know that God sees.  Know that there are consequences and that sometimes God is showing you patience.  Romans 2:4, “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?”

Questions for Discussion:

  • Do you feel that it is healthy to always explore your curiosity?
  • Are you justifying actions in your life because of your history?
  • Do you feel you are “allowed” sins once in a while – like a diet plan, you are “allowed” 2 “freebies” a week?
  • Do you think there are consequences to your actions, even if you don’t see them immediately?
  • Are you more likely to use a relationship to meet your “needs” (usually your wants and desires) or to sacrifice your wants and desires to meet the needs of the other person?