The Republic of Love (2003) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • A story of love and enchantment set in the coldest of winters, it explores the issues, dilemmas and barriers facing the lucky and unlucky in love in the 21st Century, based on the novel of the same name by Pullitzer Prize-winning author Carol Shields. Tom is a charismatic late-night radio talk show host, whose unconventional upbringing has made him a little too quick to fall in love and marry, resulting in three divorces before the age of 40. Fay is his total opposite; her romantic ideal has not yet been attained and is unlikely ever to be due to her impossibly high expectations as a result of living with the perfection that is her parents' rock solid marriage. This unlikely pairing proves the rule that in love, there are no rules and the couple meet and fall deeply in love at first sight. All is faultless, until Fay's parents' marriage breaks down suddenly, out of nowhere, after 40 years of wedded bliss. Fay and their relationship are thrown into turmoil. Will Tom be able to persuade his naturally cautious and terminally confused fiancée to work through all the damage and chaos? The characters' connect in a maze of situations, underpinning the idea that 'geography is destiny' and that each of us has our own 'republic', where lives intersect.

  • Tom Avery and Fay McLeod deal peripherally with the issue of love professionally, Tom's as a late night radio DJ where he receives calls from listeners who often talk about their love life, and Fay's as a researcher of mermaids for a folklore museum, her work which largely entails the aspect of love of the species. However, both have been unlucky in love in their own lives, but for different reasons based largely on their upbringing. Tom easily falls in what he believes is love in his desperate want for it to happen, not truly knowing what it is or isn't until it falls apart. He didn't have a model of a loving relationship in his formative years as his eccentric mother, Betty Avery, was too preoccupied dealing with her own issues of depression to provide much guidance to him. As such, Tom, at age forty, is thrice divorced. Never married Fay has always wanted a fairy tale relationship like her parents, Richard and Audrey McLeod, Audrey who has always stated that she and Richard have been their gift to the other. Fay breaks it off with her latest serious boyfriend, Peter, her boss at the museum, as she feels that relationship is no where close to that of her parents. When Tom and Fay meet for the first time, it is love at first sight, both who are not afraid to make that statement despite not knowing much about the other beyond what is on the surface. That love and the want to get married is moved along by the stars seeming to be in alignment, such as they living in the same high rise building in Toronto, and knowing many of the same people, including Fay knowing all three of Tom's ex-wives in different social circles. Beyond any skeletons that may arise in the other's closet, an event happens in Fay's life which shakes her to her core affecting her view of love, where she may never allow herself to feel that emotion whether it be to Tom or anyone else.



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