Lose Lose - a Metaphor?

          This is a spoiler-laden plot critique of Thomas McCarthy's 2011 film Win Win (☆☆☆-)*This is not a film review.  If I were reviewing it, I'd do so quickly because I saw it two days ago and almost all the dialogue and images have already yellow-browned and fallen.  Soon they'll all be gone—overwritten by stronger memories—like yesterday's lunch (turkey/swiss/onion/spinach/miracle whip on warmed buttermilk, with dill pickles & sourcream-n-onion chips on the side, and a glass of cold Pepsi).  Yum.

          The plot centers around the main character.  A schlub in every way save one.  You should imagine Jimmy Stewart as the schlub (because the HUGE flaw in this story wouldn't exist if this were a 1949 black and white film).  Jimmy is an incompetent lawyer who's going broke.  He works in a small neighborhood office building, which he owns.  It's falling into disrepair (in large part, due to his maintenance failures).  He also owns a huge suburban home and is the father of two young children (the only thing he isn't bad at).  His wife doesn't work (more befitting a 1949 setting) and Jimmy hides his financial situation from his wife (also an action from a bygone era).

          NOTE:  Jimmy is a metaphor for the United States.  Not just the US government, but a distillation of every American.  Of us all.  The blame for the poor economy is borne by all of our inner Jimmies.

          Jimmy's passion is wrestling.  No, that's inaccurate...Jimmy has no passion.  Decades ago, schlub-in-training-Jimmy wrestled in high school and didn't suck too much; now he's a terrible coach for a losing high school wrestling team.

          NOTE:  War metaphor.  America likes its wars.  Once upon a time it was better at them.

          Jimmy has a receptionist.   Red hair? check.  Tight sweater? check.  Snapping chewing gum? check.  Smarmy? check.  Files nails while talking? check.  Constantly complains? check.  Collects a paycheck (which is definitely more than $1,500.00/month...which is important) for doing little work? check.  Delivers an important line of dialogue: "He's LOADED, just read his file."

          Jimmy has a buddy.  He's everything Jimmy is not.  Buddy is rich, single, childless, and in good physical condition.  Buddy's only failure is being a good husband.  Jimmy never asks Buddy to lend him money (nor does Buddy offer anything more than vague ways to make money by investing).  

          NOTE:  A banking and credit company metaphor, as well as a "don't tax the rich" metaphor. 

          Jimmy reads the file.  An elderly client, with no locatable relatives and dementia, wants to continue to live in his own home.  The old guy receives a monthly payment of $1,500.00 (in 1949 that might have been plenty to live on).

          The state plans to move the old guy into an assisted-living home.  Jimmy convinces the court to personally award him guardianship in order to "keep him in his home" and then, Jimmy lies to the old guy and moves him into an assisted-living home anyway.  (All the additional fraud Jimmy would have had to commit is never hinted at...he'd have had to 'spend-down' and hide the old guy's assets, including the home and the monthly income, before medicare would pay for the assisted-living).

          The first month's "stolen" $1,500.00 is used, by Jimmy, to pay his own family's late medical insurance.

          NOTE:  Health insurance crisis metaphor.

          The second act introduces the run-away, high school aged, grandson of the old guy, who happens to be a great wrestler.  Jimmy provides him room and board.  The kid starts to wrestle and to turn around the entire wrestling team.  They begin to win a few matches.  Then the old guy's addict-daughter (wrestling-kid's mom) arrives and tries to get guardianship so she can have the much sought after $1,500.

          In the third act (with his lies exposed and to prevent the court from learning about his fraud) Jimmy strikes a bargain with the greedy addict to send her the $1,500 every month, moves old guy back into his own home, and volunteers to continue to provide room and board for the kid until he graduates.

          The story ends with Jimmy coming home from the office and then heading out to a second job.  He is happy paying penance for the lies/fraud.  He's now paying the living expenses of the old guy, taking on the kid, and sending 18K a year to the addict.

          NOTE:  Hammering home the metaphor.  America is choc-full of addicts, elderly, and youth.  Our collective past greed (and many other of the deadly seven sins) has turned the entire world into a less nice place.  But, it's OK to forget about those improprieties...as long as we take care of those who can't take care of themselves (anymore or yet).  And don't lay off the over-paid sloths.  And don't ask for money from the wealthy.  Just work more.  Yuck.

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