Man Loves a Woman is a romantic movie written by Al Franken and Ronald Bass. It was produced in the year 1994. It starred Andy Garcia who acted as Michael green, Meg Ryan who acted as Alice green, Tina Majorino who acted as Jessica Green and Mae Whitman who acted as Casey green among others. Meg Ryan was nominated for screen actors’ guild award for the best female in a leading role. The movie was well received by the audience and was rated among the best movies at the time.

Film Aspects

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Story telling

The movie is a story of a woman Alice Green who is an alcohol addict and the challenges she faces in her quest to recover from the addiction. Alice, ironically, is a high school counselor but an alcoholic. She is good at counseling the students, hence does not lose her job. Her husband Michael Green is a pilot and often is away from home leaving Alice to take care of the children. Apparently, she is a good mother and her children love her. While sober, she takes good care of the children and plays with them and the children reciprocate by showing her love. However, the children are puzzled by their mother’s behavioral characteristics. They just know that their mother loves sleeping a lot, but with different characteristics.

As the story unfolds, Alice’s children are witnesses of the bad things alcohol can do. She often drives them when drunk and at times slaps them. In one of the scenes, Jesse was trying to do her homework and ended up witnessing her mother take aspirin with vodka. She becomes tipsy and trips on her way to the bathroom.

Unlike the drunk Alice, Michael enjoys taking care of his family. When sober Alice is in control of herself and takes good care to the family, when drunk she behaves like a third child to Michael. Michael likes being the strong man who takes care of the whole family. His strong character makes Alice feel guilty for her drinking problem. When Alice begins her journey to stop drinking they have problems with Michael who is no longer sure of his role in the marriage.

Alice finally admits that she has a problem and decides to quit drinking she joins the AA and receives treatment for her alcoholism. Her withdrawal symptoms become evident such as vomiting, sweating and irritability. Alice gets better and better with time. She matures and behaves like a grown up. Her husband, however, is uncomfortable with this change. He is not used to his wife behaving like a grown up. They can no longer go having fun together as alcohol was a catalyst to that. As Alice quits drinking she also is distressed and blames Michael for her problems and settle for a separation. Michael, however, does not want a divorce with Alice as it would affect their children who were too young to cope with a divorce. He has issues as he is no longer the sole bread winner of the family. At last they learn to solve their conflicts. Alice successfully overcomes her alcoholism and becomes a sober, good wife and mother to her kids. The movie ends with Michael giving a speech at Alice’ six months on being sober. He says that everyone deserves a second chance he then kisses Alice as he declares his love for her.


The main actor in the movie is Meg Ryan who acts as Alice Green, an alcoholic woman with two personalities. When drunk, she is the careless woman who cares about nothing. When sober, she is a loving and caring mother to her kids. The whole movie revolves around her, and she is, therefore, seen in most parts of the movie. Andy Garcia acts as Michael Green is Alice’s husband. He is the understanding man who takes good care of his kids and alcoholic wife. However, when Alice begins sobering up, he is vague about his paternal role in the family . He is the main victim of Alice’s addiction to alcohol. He draws both admiration and sympathy from the viewers. The role of the children is acted by Tina Majorino who acts as Jessica Green and Mae Whitman who acts as Casey Green. They both are victims of their mother’s alcoholism and often have to face some violence from her. These two are uncertain of their mothers character as she is a good and caring woman when sober but careless when drunk. They draw a lot of sympathy from the viewer.

The actors in this film are mainly personality actors. They completely adopt personality of the characters. Unlike other movies there is no hero in this movie. The major style of acting used is method acting. The actors completely adopt the lifestyles of their characters. The movement of the actors in the story helps them interpret their characters well. Through their conversations we learn the character traits of all the characters.


Cinematography can be defined as science of motion picture photography. Cinematography involves the presentation of the movie. This includes the presentation of the whole film. One has to look into the lighting colour, distance of the camera, frames etc. The movie uses tungsten lighting. The movie is colored with the distribution of the color being distorted. There is close focal length as one can see the characters closely in most parts of the film.


The scenes in the movie on average are five minutes each. They are arranged systematically so the viewer can follow the flow of the film. There are instances of flash back where we see events that happened in the past. The major type of transition used is dissolve. The editing is continuity editing as there is a systematic flow of the story. There is slow motion in the film especially at the end of it when Alice and Michael are kissing.


Sound in the movie is evenly maneuvered through dialogue and music are present. Music is present in the film, in most of the scenes. Music helps the viewer get into the movie. It provokes emotions such as pity, love, worry and anger. In the movie when man loves a woman, the main characters music is used in various scenes. The theme song is the song ‘when a man loves a woman’ by Percy Sledge. Other songs are also included in the movie production. Love songs are the main type of music played in the movie. There is also dialogue in the film in most of the scenes there is dialogue between the characters.

Style and directing

The director of this film, Luis Mandoki exemplifies his competency in producing this movie. The movie presents its themes very well. The personalities of the character are distinct from each other. He expresses his point-of-view on alcoholism and it comes out clear. Through this film the director tries to educate the public to be supportive to alcoholics and help them recover from their addiction.

Impact on the society

The movie “When a Man Loves a Woman” was well received by the society after its release it among the highest rated movies. The most important part about this movie is that it is influenced by the societal happenings. It mainly addresses the issue of alcoholism in the society. While watching the movie, the audience understands alcoholics in another angle. Psychoanalysis asserts that if the movie is watched by an alcoholic, it provokes a desire to change for the better. This movie’s main motive is to transform alcoholics into responsible citizens.


The movie when a man loves a woman is most likely to be a romantic drama movie. It involves real life situations and the reenactment of real life. All the characters are well developed. The movie does not embark on one major style like comedy or horror. It deviates from its major type to involve comedy especially in scenes where Alice is drunk.

Criticism and analysis

The film generally is about alcoholism and its impact on family life. The film shows the lives of an alcoholic woman and the life she lives. Her alcoholism has brought various challenges to her and her family as she ties to quit. Generally the movie shows challenges faced by alcoholics, but the content is not completely realistic since, in most cases, alcoholics do not have supportive spouses.


The main themes addressed by this film include the theme of Alcoholism. This is the main theme. Child abuse is also seen through Alice’s children as she mistreats them when drunk. The theme of separation is also evident as Alice and Michael separate for a while as Alice is recovering.


The movie when a man loves a woman generally shows the lives of alcoholics and the challenges they face as they try to recover. Most of us have an alcoholic friend or family. It is everyone’s duty to offer them back up in their quest of recovery from addiction. It provides hope to alcoholics that no matter how hard the situation is they can strive and overcome their addiction. In addition, the entertainment aspect of the movie is worth the time that its makers spent in the studio figuring out its synopsis.


David J. (May 16, 1994). The Crow’ Takes Off at Box Office Movies: The opening is the biggest ever for Miramax. In second place is ‘When a Man Loves a Woman,’ with ‘Crooklyn’ third..” The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 28, 2010.

Julie M. (2007). Psychological Review of the Movie When a Man Loves a Woman. Retrieved from:

Neill, J. (2010). Movie director. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Cherry Lake Pub.

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