It’s easy to miss it amid another reboot, another sequel, another homage or doppelganger. Hollywood hasn’t been given a lot of credit for originality of late, which is probably why it’s taken them this long to make a movie focused on one of the key, growing demographics in the United States: the non-traditional student.
Likeable silver screen veteran Tom Hanks’ latest pet project casts him in the role of Larry Crowne, an everyday guy who decides to go back to school and get his degree after a layoff.
Sound familiar? It should. Maybe the circumstances aren’t exactly the same – a layoff isn’t always the impetus, Larry Crowne’s moped isn’t exactly ideal for anyone who has to worry about a child seat, and I’m fairly certain that Julia Roberts won’t pop up as a convenient love interest for 99.9% of us.
But the overall idea behind it – one guy, using education to make a better life for himself – well, that should resonate with a lot of people. After all, the majority of the U.S. student population exhibits at least some nontraditional characteristics, and that number is going up, not down.
We’re a varied group, not only in our backgrounds but in our reasons why we got to this point of looking for an education to jump-start our futures. Some of us are single parents. Some of us have to work full-time. Some of us are trying to change the path we chose after high school. And some of us are like Larry Crowne – needing a leg up in a tough economy.
Despite the differences, nontraditionals are united in the same purpose: learning, growing, changing their futures.
It’s a pretty important movement, and it’s about time Hollywood paid real attention to it.