Cyrus: why would two brothers make a film about a dating single mom?

by singlemomseeking on July 9, 2010


When I heard that two brothers made a movie about a dating single mom, I said, “Excuse me?”

Why in the world would Jay and Mark Duplass – a screenwriter/producer team who are both married fathers with toddlers – write and direct a film about a single mom?

I got curious. After all, Cyrus is NOT some thriller or action film that’s bringing them to the forefront… it’s a movie about a single mom who’s dating.  Don’t get me wrong: I was thrilled to hear that a genuine, real film about a dating single mom was going big. (Because we ARE mainstream, after all!).

No worries: you won’t read any spoilers in this post. I’ve been trying to see Cyrus  for two weeks now, and at last, I’m off to see it tonight!

Recently, during a telephone press conference, I got to ask them about what motivated these guys to make this film. Here’s the gist of it:

Still single seven years after the breakup of his marriage, John (John C. Reilly) had all but given up on romance. But at the urging of his ex-wife and best friend Jamie (Catherine Keener), John grudgingly agrees to join her and her fiancé Tim (Matt Walsh) at a party. To his and everyone else’s surprise, he actually manages to meet someone: the gorgeous and spirited Molly (Marisa Tomei).

Their chemistry is immediate. The relationship takes off quickly but Molly is oddly reluctant to take the relationship beyond John’s house. Perplexed, he follows her home and discovers the other man in Molly’s life: her son, Cyrus (Jonah Hill).

A 21-year-old new age musician, Cyrus is his mom’s best friend and shares an unconventional relationship with her. Cyrus will go to any lengths to protect Molly and is definitely not ready to share her with anyone, especially John. Before long, the two are locked in a battle of wits for the woman they both love–and it appears only one man can be left standing when it’s over.

“Here’s the weird thing we figured out recently,” explained Jay on the phone. “The relationship between Molly and Cyrus is subconsciously based on our relationship. Mark and I are are three years apart, but basically, we’re like twins.”

In other words, their relationship is VERY close, not unlike a single parent and his/her child.

“When we were in our 20s and dating,” adds Jay, “it was VERY hard for any girlfriend to break through and feel like she had any place. Every girlfriend seemed like half of the relationship we had with each other. So, we imagined what it would be like as a single mom.”

“Her life is tough. She has to keep things moving, stay positive, and hope for the best. When you’re a single mom, you’re momentum is such a big part of it.”

Wow, I love these guys already! So, have you seen Cyrus?


P.S. Between you and me, however, I’m not going to advocate the T-shirt that Fox is marketing for Cyrus for $24.95: “Seriously, Don’t F**k My Mom.”

Seriously, do you find that funny?… Or offensive?

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

maem July 20, 2010 at 11:35 am

I am with Kim and Kriz in this. Though is cool a movie about a single mom finding love, but I agree is male centric and I don’t think gives a good message. The child is a 21 year old male, is not a kid, getting into his mom’s dating life. Cyrus attitude seems intrusive to me, he is adult he should be getting a date for himself not watching over a grown woman who knows better than him. I am the child of a single mom and sincerely at 21 who my mom was dating was her business, not mine. I was busier with my dating life to be “watching” over my mom dating life. I mean, the child can give an opinion but Cyrus attitude seems like a jealous male. It doesn’t seem very healthy to me


brokenpromisering July 14, 2010 at 10:47 am

I’m with Kriz on this. The concept of a 21-year-old son fighting over his mom with his mom’s boyfriend gives me icky feelings.

Unless the message is that the kid emotionally grows up and his relationship with him mom becomes more appropriate (read as “not-icky”) and they never have any kind of sexual subtext for their relationship, this is only a twist on the classic them of male competition to win a woman. And then for the filmmakers to say that it was a metaphor for their relationship as brothers. Ewww…

I haven’t seen it, but i don’t know that i want to either.


Shannon July 13, 2010 at 11:04 am

I’m with Michele. The idea of the shirt is funny, but I would not want my child wearing it. I think it will be a great comedy, a bit in the vein of Stepbrothers ( a huge fave of mine, which also has single parents with adult children living rather unhealthily with them).
.-= Shannon´s last blog ..11 is the new 15 =-.


Michele July 12, 2010 at 11:04 am

The story sounds interesting. My son is about to be 20 so I can kind of relate. I think the “idea” of the T-shirt is funny but if my son wore it, I would knock him into next week.
.-= Michele´s last blog ..Paradocks Grille =-.


Naked Girl in a Dress July 12, 2010 at 10:57 am

It’s an interesting concept, but I would be more interested in the mom’s struggle to focus on young children while dating. That is very challenging. Keeping your 21 year old son from the man you are dating sounds like an odd (and maybe not healthy) relationship between mother and son.

The shirt is totally offensive. Just my opinion. Who would actually wear it?
.-= Naked Girl in a Dress´s last blog ..Celebrating Each Step =-.


Jim Everson (Depot Dad) July 10, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Marisa Tomei would get my attention too.
.-= Jim Everson (Depot Dad)´s last blog ..July Update =-.


Kim July 10, 2010 at 8:25 am

I don’t know if I’ll see it, but I think Kriz has probably hit the nail on the head. Her comments make good sense to me. A male writer couldn’t possibly put the correct perspective on anything to do with being a single mom, no matter how much research he might do. As far as the T-shirt, I’m no prude, but I think anything with the “F” word posted for all to see is offensive. It’s crude, rude, and socially unacceptable.

Please let us know how you like the movie!


kriz bell July 9, 2010 at 6:21 pm

i will give them an A for effort, ol A-. seriously, if it’s about a single mom- why is it called CYRUS? no my dear as a film person, this movie is about how men are negotiating their proximity to each other and access to a woman.

it’s about his needs and how his ex takes care of him and makes an introduction.

i really want to like these movies, but while they may be trying, our culture is still so male centric and far away from making room for me as a priority, hell i’ll just say it – light years away from allowing assisting embracing me making myself a priority!

i mean, Cyrus is 21!!! this is why it is my goal as a screenwriter to get beyond and that is going to me it might not be a roll in the grass in the park, the mom making it okay for everybody else…


Single Mom Seeking July 10, 2010 at 12:41 pm

@KrizBell: I really appreciate your viewpoint on this. I’m so curious if you’ve seen the film… (No? Yes?) For the record: I DID love the movie!

I see your perspective re: the male-centric premise (including the title), but I’m not sure how the tables would have turned if the child of the single mom had been a daughter (versus a son).

What I really related to was the fact that a single mom who’s dating can feel so “caught” between her child and the man in the picture. As a woman, she’s on Cloud 9 as she falls in love… but as a mother, she feels incredibly guilty because she feels disloyal to her child.

Some of the scenes hit SO close to him that I laughed hard.
.-= Single Mom Seeking´s last blog ..Cyrus- why would two brothers make a film about a dating single mom =-.


Kim July 10, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Rachel – you make a good point about a single mom being caught between a new love and her child. But if her “child” is 21 yrs old, he’s no longer a child. I don’t get that part. My 20 y.o. son couldn’t care less who I’m dating. Now, if your child (girl or boy) was young, I could understand that. Based on your comments, I would like to see the movie; it sounds cute!

Annie July 9, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Seriously, I had never heard of this movie, and I am sure it will never, ever, come to the town I live in (far northern California)…but I plan on renting it when it comes out on DVD.
.-= Annie´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday =-.


Phil July 9, 2010 at 4:15 pm

The Duplass brothers make very good, interesting films…although not quite mainstream. Keep in mind that all of the dialogue is improvised. I haven’t seen Cyrus yet, but don’t go in expecting an uplifting message about single Moms.


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