- Warning: This post may contain spoilers about the movie Stepmom.
The opening scene is of Isabel (Julia Roberts) trying to find her boyfriend’s son, Ben, who is now late for school. Finally, she finds him hiding in the cabinet as he is already late for school. We immediately see that Isabel is having trouble with her boyfriend’s children. Isabel is younger than her boyfriend, Luke (Ed Harris), and doesn’t have any children of her own and obviously is struggling with Luke’s children.
Moving along in the movie, Luke is going to be away for some time and he doesn’t expect Isabel to be able to take care of the kids by herself so he wants to hire a babysitter. Isabel, however, wants him to give her a chance, so he does.
The movie even addresses divorce because Luke and his ex-wife Jackie (Susan Sarandon) were once married but now divorced. Of course, divorce has a big effect on children and Luke explains to his daughter Anna that he fell out of love with her mom, but they’re still good friends. He also explains that it’s impossible to fall out of love with his kids because Ben was scared that Luke might fall out of love with him.
Isabel continues to have problems with Luke’s children when she gets them a puppy but fails to remember that Anna is allergic to dogs. Anna and Isabel end up arguing, and Anna says that she doesn’t have to listen to Isabel because she isn’t her mother. Isabel responds by saying, “Thank God for that.” Of course, Isabel shouldn’t have said this to the child of her boyfriend because she should respect Anna. Isabel then corrects what she said by saying that Anna already has a great mom and doesn’t need another one.
Isabel and Jackie, Ben’s and Anna’s real mom, do not get a long either. Isabel calls Anna a spoiled brat, and Jackie says Isabel is too self-involved to be a mother. Jackie obviously doubts Isabel’s abilities to be a mother, and maybe she has reason to have these doubts.
Then Luke brings up that he wants to marry Isabel. Of course the kids do not like this idea, but Luke tells them that hopefully they can learn to accept her because Isabel is going to be in their life. I would think that it is scary to think of getting a new parent especially when you aren’t fond of him or her.
A turning point in the movie comes when Isabel shows Anna a painting technique that she learned at NYU. Anna starts to see the good side of Isabel and views her as a big sister.
Another turning point comes when Isabel loses her job because she leaves work early to pick up Ben and Anna from school. This shows maturation and a character arch as Isabel is taking responsibility as a mother, even if it means compromising her career.
Originally, Jackie had given Anna advice about what she should do with a boy who is giving her trouble at school. The advice backfires and makes Anna feel horrible, so Isabel decides to give her own advice. When Jackie finds out about the advice Isabel gave Anna, she is enraged. Isabel made Anna use foul language at 12 years old, and she made her lie. However, Anna was so happy with the effect it had on the boy who was originally bothering her.
This movie deals with divorce and introducing a step-parent into the lives of a family. These factors can have a tremendous effect on the relationships within the family as you can see within this film. You should definitely check out the movie when you get a chance.