I have never seen Jerry Maguire before even if I had heard about it numerous times. I wasn’t quite pulled by the word of mouth or it’s marketing because I’m a guy and rom-coms aren’t my go-to’s on my lazy weekends. But then I had the chance to stream it this Saturday and boy was I blown away.
To me, Jerry Maguire isn’t just a cheesy rom-com, it’s a character study on a man who wants to find a more meaningful success story.
Spoilers ahead 🚨
At the top of his career as a sports agent, one night Jerry Maguire (35 years old) finds himself inspired to write a humanist mission statement entitled “The Things We Think and Do Not Say” containing details on how sports agents should be more inclined with nurturing and caring for the athletes they work with and less about how they can gain more clients and profit. But this honorable gesture was taken as an insult by the higher-ups in his office at Sports Management International (SMI) and he was let go of his job. Aside from this sad detail, he is also a lonely soul who is incapable of being alone.
Angered by the greedy nature of his capitalist colleagues, he hurries back to his office to salvage his clients and keep him afloat to start a new firm.
Rod Tidwell, the funny, excited and family-oriented athlete (played excellently by Cuba Gooding Jr. who won an Academy Award for this role) was the only athlete who doesn’t leave Jerry to dry unlike his other well-off athlete “friends.” Rod Tidwell bestows a lot of his family wisdom to Jerry. “Show me the money” is their battle cry and one of the dynamics being explored in their relationship is the hesitation of Jerry to give Rod the big contracts. Jerry finds it difficult to promote him because he doesn’t have the high stats while Rod wants more money to provide for his family. Jerry doesn’t take his business personally and that’s why he doesn’t really value that detail so much. And this tandem works so well for Jerry’s character development which I’ll get into a bit later.
A single mother who doesn’t have the pleasure of taking a break is Dorothy (played by Renee Zellweger) who admires the bold move that Jerry made. She believes in his aspirations which is why she went with him when Jerry exited the company and was hired as his assistant. Plus it’s really obvious that she finds him cute and is super attracted to him.
From this point on, the film gets very real. It doesn’t skip Jerry’s worst episodes and it doesn’t skip his struggles. Just when we all think he’s about to get his big break, he gets derailed and overpowered by his competitors. His girlfriend doesn’t show him any affection which is why he breaks up with her. And his old friends at his old office insult him and treat him very poorly. When all things get too cold in his work life, he finds calm and peace by bonding with Dorothy and her family.
I just gotta say that Renee Zellweger is really cute and attractive in this film. The close-up shots showcasing her bubbly cheeks and sultry lips make me envy Tom Cruise. She is very charming even though she’s kind of a lost soul. The way she’s so nervous around him, the way she looks at him and the way she breaks down all of her defenses when he’s around makes her so cute and attractive.
Let’s talk more about their romance. Unlike the majority of trashy romance comedies, the relationship between Jerry and Dorothy is believable and grounded in reality. The chemistry isn’t shown with grand gestures but rather the nuanced emotions, the pressures of society, and really clever lines. I freaking blushed and giggled like a little girl when Dorothy said “I love him! I love him for the man he wants to be. And I love him for the man he almost is.” and wished that someone said it to me. And the fact that she was talking to her disapproving sister, Laurel Boyd (played amazingly by Bonnie Hunt) and Jerry was just hiding in the hallway and then a few seconds later they find out he’s eavesdropping and so he just grins and she’s all embarrassed makes the scene even funnier and romantically exciting.
But this film again isn’t all about that. Because the two confront each other after a few years in their marriage and realize that they fell in love with each other just enough to pursue a lifelong commitment. He closes his inner feelings to her which is why she feels unfair. And although he wants her to make him a better man, she feels as if it’s too big of a cross to bear even though his intentions are good. This puts them in a rough place and us the audience broken-hearted because we never wanted them to be in this situation even though Laurel was the realist who perceived all of this. Throughout Jerry and Dorothy’s journey, we ignored all the negative preaching that Laurel gave because it felt so good to feel so hopeful about something again.
After their separation, Jerry flies to Indiana for Rod’s football game. Before Rod heads to the field, Jerry hinted to Rod about his deteriorating marriage. And what’s absolutely great about this scene is that throughout their relationship, Rod has always tried to push Jerry to be more open with his wife. And while Jerry is motivated to make his marriage work, it was simply too late at that point. Rod picks up his hint with a grin on his face that is evocative of his heartbreak. Later on, Rod scores a touchdown which got the crowd and Jerry cheering loudly. But when he caught the ball, he didn’t land well which left him unconscious and got Jerry and Rod’s wife super worried. Jerry ran to the field and quickly contacted his wife to notify him of the current situation. I was shocked and horrified together with them as they wait and see if Rod’s gonna be okay and was elated when he woke up and jumped around to celebrate his victory in securing a playoff spot for the Cardinals. And hold on to your belts because this isn’t even the most emotional moment of the film.
While Rob was getting cornered by the media, he tries to find Jerry in the crowd while trying to hide his tears. “Where’s my agent?” he screams. He was so emotional when he found him so he threw himself to hug him like a brother Jerry’s old colleagues watch and envy their emotional victory. We all know at this point as to how they stayed with each other after all the downturns in his career and the way the film pays off this emotional investment is so heartwarming.
When Jerry realizes the value of his small victory, he rushes back to Dorothy to win her back. Dorothy is with an army of single mothers who are sick and tired of the failures of their husbands. He opens the door with a braveheart and gives an emotional speech. “You complete me.” he says to her and while it is slightly cringe as to how they threw their love lines, I forgive them for it because this movie is absolutely amazing.
We get another emotional scene with Rod when Jerry puts together an $11.2 million contract for Rod to play for the Cardinals. He is teary-eyed as he tries to thank everyone during his interview and he makes sure that Jerry is mentioned and credited. We all scream to our heads “say his name!” because it would really mean a lot. When he mentions his name with tears rolling down his face, our heartstrings get pulled once again because we know what the value of the scene is.
Jerry Maguire is something I did not expect to like. I fell in love with it after watching it and I would gladly recommend it to anyone looking for a heartfelt movie. It is one of a kind and it definitely hits a lot of notes right. All props to Cameron Crowe for directing it and all the amazing performances from the cast.
Jerry Maguire gets a 9/10