Falling in love is beautiful and very exciting. The challenge of marriage is to take that initial attraction and make it grow into something larger and richer and more varied. All the difficulties of relationship are opportunities to grow together and to discover ever deeper reserves of love.
When a Man Loves a Woman starts with the giddy, clever, and sexy initial encounter between Michael, an airline pilot, and Alice, a high school guidance counselor. After marrying, they settle down comfortably in SanFrancisco to raise their two small daughters. Alice tries hard to keep the marriage together by looking good and being fun and sexually wild.
On a Mexican holiday, Michael acknowledges his concern over her drinking problem. She promises to stop but starts again once they return home. After slapping her daughter and then falling through a glass shower door in a drunken stupor, Alice agrees to enter a detox program. Even with the help of a nanny, Michael finds it hard taking care of the kids. He wilts under the pressure.
A new Alice emerges out of Alcoholics Anonymous. She is uneasy with Michael's controlling nature and his lack of trust in her parenting skills. He is stunned by her accusations and they separate.
When a Man Loves a Woman goes straight to the heart thanks to the emotionally vibrant performances by Meg Ryan and Andy Garcia. The psychologically rich screenplay by Ronald Bass and Al Franken shows how the rough spots in ourselves and in our partners must be acknowledged and faced if a relationship is to endure.
Alice's courageous effort to deal with her addiction to alcohol is inspiring. Equally important is Michael's realization that he must relinquish control of their marriage to save it. The breakdown in their relationship leads to a breakthrough where their union is reimagined and reinvigorated. When a Man Love a Woman celebrates the inner work that must be done to keep alive the sacred dimensions of love and commitment.