This generation is not new to the concept of a romantic based psychological thriller. After all, many have seen the likes of Fatal Attraction, Sleeping with the Enemy, Obsessed, and The Seduction. We have rooted for the gullible lead character to have much better sense than they were displaying and have watched as their little worlds unraveled before our eyes. The unsuspecting victim opens the door to someone they should have known better than to trust far too often! So when my wife asked me to join her and other friends to check out the latest release on love gone wrong, I was ready for more of the same.
The Perfect Guy premiered on Friday with the two male leads being Morris Chestnut and Michael Ealy; of course, the ladies in the theater were perched on the edge of their seats. I tend to think it had a bit more to do with the shirtless scenes and not their acting prowess. With a cast of veterans like Sanaa Lathan, Charles Dutton, John Getz and Rutina Wesley, the flick had a strong base and an easy to follow storyline.
My purpose is not to spoil the ending for you, so in short it matriculates through a sudden, yet painful, break up of Leah Vaughn, played by Lathan. I say sudden because she abruptly corners her long-time boyfriend about the subject of marriage and children after observing him at a dinner party. When he didn’t respond to her liking, she suggests he “leaves”… and no one was surprised when he did. A few weeks later, up pops a dashing guy at the bar played by Ealy. Filled with charm, charisma, and raw sex appeal, he quickly woos her into a whirlwind. Both Leah’s friends and parents echo the same sentiments, “He sounds too good to be true.” This is the part of the film where I began looking around the theater to make mental notes to review at a later time.
Here is what I thought about Leah’s transition, act of heroism and other decisions in the movie:
- She used poor judgment on when to confront her boyfriend about his intentions and their future. Here’s the deal. When you’re pissed off may not be the best time to open dialogue about the status of your relationship. From the movie, it was obvious her emotions were high and the guy was just blindsided. It takes poise and maturity to discern when and where to strike up a touchy conversation. Breathe, take a step back, and even make an appointment when you and your significant other will sit down calmly to discuss what’s going on. Trust me, a bit of strategic planning will go a long way when dealing with matters of the heart.
- Being vulnerable from her hurts, she opened the door to a new relationship long before she was truly ready. As a relationship coach, I am asked all the time, “When should I begin to date again?” My answer startles some clients because there is no textbook answer. I don’t have a set amount of time. It boils down to your inner barometer. That part of you that knows you have thoroughly done an autopsy on the relationship, dealt with the cause of death and properly eulogized the matter. Until then, you are a walking billboard of hurt and bitterness that prevents you from being ready to engage in a relationship.
- The “wow” factor served to distract her from laying a firm relationship foundation. As it was later revealed in the movie, Leah had no idea where this guy worked, lived or who his friends were. This is a recipe for disaster! She had made all the emotional investments and he’d brought nothing to the table. She let him into her world and friendships, taken him to meet her parents and been physical with him. All the while he had kept himself locked up like a top-secret file. Relationships should be organic and not rushed. There are levels, like a foundation that must be built in order to progress to the next stage. When you skip the steps, you usually find yourself hurt or mislead in the end.
If you’ve seen any thrillers in the past 20 years I am sure you have a good idea how this story ends. I walked away thinking of many female clients I have worked with who were in the process of rebuilding their lives after letting someone in who had ulterior motives. None, of course, were as tragic as Leah, nonetheless, they all left significant scars that needed healing. So ask yourself the hard questions about the guys who come into your life. He might be great, but I have to raise an eyebrow if you’re telling friends he’s The Perfect Guy.
by Early Jackson
(Edited by Cherese Jackson)
Movie: The Perfect Guy
The Modern Princess: the 21st Century Guide to Fairy Tale Relationships
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