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Eyes on the prize

I’ve been thinking about endings–of movies, of novels.   Specifically, I’ve been thinking about the ending of Green Card, with Andie MacDowell and Gerard Depardieu.  A movie that could almost make me love a Frenchman.

(Do we need a spoiler alert for a movie that came out in 1990?  Nah.  But there it is anyway.)

Our hero is Georges, a boorish but lovable Frenchman who entered into a sham marriage with an American to get a green card.  They’re busted in the end.  The goons from immigration lurk in the background, allowing Georges a few minutes of happiness with the heroine as they finally realize they love each other.

He’s deported, but because he took the rap, his girl goes free.

In the background, the Emmaus Group Singers croon “Eyes on the Prize.” The song is about hope and perseverance when life is tough.  In a much more serious context, various versions of the song became an anthem of the civil rights movement.

Here, even though it’s only embellishing the last scene of a romantic comedy, it still shines with that bittersweet flavor of tough times and hard sacrifices.  It’s perfect for the movie’s not-quite-happy happy ending, and it always brings a tear to my eye and a smile to my face.

Keep your eyes on the prize, friends, even if you’re not living in a romantic comedy.

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