I am looking for a pair of red boots to wear and I have Mary Horowitz to thank. In the movie, All About Steve, Sandra Bullock plays quirky Mary Horowitz – a square peg trying to fit into round holes. She is a cruciverbalist – a crossword constructor for The Sacramento Herald.
Everyone who meets Mary learns that she is just a half bubble off of plumb. She is incredibly intelligent and amazingly spouts facts about everything under the sun, but she is somewhat socially inept. She lives with her parents and wears a pair of gorgeous red go-go boots everywhere, much to her parents’ chagrin. She also talks incessantly – sharing trivial facts about everything she knows (which is quite a lot).
Mary is set up on a blind date with Steve (Bradley Cooper) and is instantly smitten by his good looks. Steve quickly decides that Mary is just a little too overwhelming for him so he breaks off the date before it actually leaves her parents’ street. Steve mentions to Mary that he has to go on the road as a news camera man and wishes she could go with him in an attempt to brush her off nicely.
Mary, in her quirky way, becomes obsessed with Steve and is fired from her job because she publishes a crossword that is – all about Steve. Mary sees this as an epiphany moment and sets out to find Steve in order to travel with him as he suggested.
What happens in the rest of the movie is funny, groan-worthy, and heartwarming as Mary stalks Steve and meets a number of interesting characters along the way. While Steve is running from Mary and thinks she is a crazy, psycho stalker, others she encounters see beyond that. They see Mary as a warm, loving, caring – although slightly strange and talkative – woman who is following her dream.
In the end, Mary doesn’t get the guy and she realizes that changing herself to be “normal” doesn’t bring happiness – but embracing her own quirks and eccentricities as simply a part of who she is makes for a full and happy life.
The great thing about this movie is it reminds us that not everyone is going to fit into society’s idea of “normal.” Mary tried but just couldn’t do it and discovered that it was okay to be herself – regardless of what anyone else thought. The great thing about All About Steve is the lesson that Mary learned: If someone doesn’t love you for who you are, they are not worthy of your love – or your time and that loving and accepting yourself should not hinge upon how others see you. At the same time, changing yourself to make someone else happy will only make you miserable.
I loved this movie but even more, I loved the message. I have been guilty of trying too hard to be “normal” to fit in and I struggle with trying to be true to who I really am. Why? For the same reason everyone else does it – I want to be liked.
I have decided I want a pair of red boots for myself and the next time I think I should put a lid on some of my own quirkiness and eccentricities, I will remember Mary and if someone doesn’t like me for who I am, then that’s their problem. They should get a pair of red boots for themselves.