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When a Man Loves a Woman
SUBJECTS — U.S./1991 - present;
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Alcohol & Drug Abuse; Parenting;
Romantic Relationships; Marriage; Father/Daughter;
MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Caring.
Age: 13+; MPAA Rating -- Rated R for language; Drama; 1994; 126 minutes; Color. (The profanity in this movie consists of the f--- word and the s--- word. They have been heard and used by the vast majority of children over the age of 12. The rating is egregiously undeserved, especially in light of the tremendous educational value of this film. In the opinion of TWM, this movie is suitable for ages 13 and up.)
Michael and Alice are a young couple very much in love. But Alice is an alcoholic and can't control her drinking. This wreaks havoc on Alice, Michael, their two young daughters, and their marriage.
When a Man Loves a Woman is an excellent description of alcoholism and its effects on a marriage. Michael has learned to protect Alice from the consequences of being drunk. He sees someone he loves in pain and does what he can to reduce that pain. Alice encourages this behavior because it allows her to live an intoxicated life without, for a time, paying the price. Over the years, Michael's enabling behavior has become deeply embedded in the couple's relationship.
Mid-way through the movie, Alice hits bottom and realizes that she has a serious problem. She enters a treatment center and returns home desperately trying to stay sober. Alice soon realizes that Michael's enabling behaviors are dangerous to her recovery. Their marriage is put under tremendous strain as Alice insists that Michael change the way he relates to her. The last third of the movie shows how the couple struggles to adjust to Alice's new persona and the altered terms of their relationship.
All of this is done with emotional insight and cinematic skill.
The Teachwithmovies.com Learning Guide to When a Man Loves a Woman includes a lesson plan on Alcoholism and Codependence, a handout on "Alcohol and How it Affects Us," another handout on "Codependence in Family Systems With An Acoholic or Addict" as well as a comprehension test. Discussion questions are provided which highlight the lessons of the movie and serve as an integral part of the lesson plan.
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High school health classes love When a Man Loves a Woman because it provides emotional insight into married or committed relationships. Students in high school are looking forward to having these relationships and are interested in learning how they work.
Learning Guide Excerpt
To give you a sense of how our Learning Guides can be used by teachers to develop lesson plans, and by parents to supplement school curriculum or for homeschooling, we have set out below a paragraph from the handout that accompaniess the Learning Guide to When a Man Loves a Woman.
Alcohol is a drug, not a food. Instead of being taken apart by the acids and enzymes that digest food, it passes directly through the walls of our stomach and small intestines into our bloodstream. Our bodies rely on enzymes in the liver to break alcohol apart into harmless chemicals. But the liver can process only a small amount of alcohol at a time. The remainder stays in our blood and depresses (stops or slows down) the activity of our central nervous system (including the brain). This is why alcohol slows reaction time, reduces coordination, and impairs judgment. The more alcohol in our bloodstream, the slower our minds work.
The Learning Guide to the film When a Man Loves a Woman contains sections on Benefits of the Movie, Possible Problems, Helpful Background, Discussion Questions, Links to the Internet, and Bridges to Reading. The Discussion Questions are divided into three categories: Subject Matter, Social-Emotional Learning, and Moral-Ethical Emphasis.
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