I can say that Sweet Home Alabama has probably influenced my writing more than I thought. Just looking at the tag line...yep...I wrote one of those books. Go back and find the man you loved right where you left him. It's a common love story theme. But what I loved about this story is you loved both the men and you wanted the best for both of them.
Melanie (Reese Witherspoon) is about to marry the son of New York City's mayor, Andrew (Patrick Dempsy.) But wouldn't you know it, the secret she's been hiding all these years is about to come full circle and bite her in the butt! She's a small town Alabama girl, who even changed her name when she became some big name designer in the city. She leaves behind a small town reputation, parents in a double-wide, and wouldn't you know it...a high-school sweetheart/ex-husband (or so she thought.) When it comes right down to it, she never did get that divorce.
The journey of this movie is one we all relate to in one way or another. The whom-you've-become vs. whom-you-once-were. In Melanie's case she was a little untamed, a little bit of a bully, and a whole lot in love with Jake (Josh Lucas.)
When she returns to Alabama to finalize the divorce she has a lot of demons to face and the hardest one is the loving Jake. On many occasions, as an author, I have drawn from Jake's calm demeanor when creating caring men that readers want to fall in love with. His ego is in check. His mouth is too. And he loves the heroine even as she tries her hardest to bury him in her deceit.
I suppose this story could have gone both ways. We would have been okay had she left Jake and continued on and married Andrew. He was in a good place and had lots of friends to catch him if he fell. Andrew, also a sweet man who adored Melanie, would have been a fine catch if she continued to pursue her New York life. The true story was about Melanie finding her true self, because there were times we wanted to shake it out of her. But that only makes it all that more appealing to me as a writer. The heroine people aren't in love with the whole time. It doesn't always make for good reviews, but I think women relate to that.
This movie has some great one liners that you can use everyday. But all in all, it's just a real good, feel good movie.
Bernadette Marie is an Internationally Bestselling author of Contemporary Romance as well as a mother of 5, and owner of 5 Prince Publishing and Illumination Author Events. Read her full bio here.