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Careering into the future

Shopworker seeks to escape her past with a spectacular job offer, writes Emily Bright

Her godson Dilly created an impressive fictitious CV online

FAKING fluency in Mandarin, a Harvard degree and service in the Peace Corps is a bold move. But that’s what disillusioned 43-year-old assistant shop manager Maya Vargas (Jennifer Lopez) feels forced to do when she seeks a new start in comedy drama Second Act, released in cinemas yesterday (Friday 25 January).

Living in Queens and passed over for promotion in favour of a pretentious MBA graduate, Maya is frustrated that her 16 years’ experience at the company is still not enough. The career setback makes Maya dwell regretfully on her past decisions, reopening old wounds.

Suddenly, Maya secures an unexpected interview with Manhattan-based elite consumer goods company Franklin and Clark, and is interrogated by CEO Anderson Clark (Treat Williams).

What Maya doesn’t realise is that her godson Dilly has created an impressive fictitious CV online. Quick-witted Maya bluffs her way through and convinces Anderson that she deserves the job. Interrupting the interview, Anderson’s daughter and company VP Zoe (Vanessa Hudgens) walks in and is far more sceptical of Maya.

When she’s offered the high-flying job, Maya accepts, jumping at the chance to break free of her past despite her concerns about the deception.

On her first day, she takes on rival Zoe in a ten-week product development competition. When established company figures side with Zoe, Maya is left with a bunch of endearingly hapless junior assistants.

Nonetheless, her fresh perspective cements her place in the company and softens her relationship with Zoe. Maya’s self-confidence flourishes. But when she’s rocked by a revelation from her past and has the chance to make amends, she has to choose whether she will run or come clean about who she really is.

‘Maya learns she does not have to be stuck for ever,’ says Jennifer Lopez of the character she plays. ‘You can always reinvent. You can always make a change. You can always keep growing, and to me that message has so much relevance for everybody.’

Many of us were looking for a fresh start this January, vowing to stick to our new year’s resolutions. However, often life gets in the way and we’re hit with circumstances beyond our control. When we experience grief, disappointment or hurt, a positive new beginning can seem impossible. It can be tough to escape from the pain of our past.

But Christians believe that anyone can begin afresh with Jesus, who offers us love and acceptance no matter what, and helps us to heal and rebuild our lives. One Bible writer called Paul had his life completely transformed after he put his faith in Jesus. He reflected that ‘anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!’ (2 Corinthians 5:17 New Living Translation).

Jesus invites everyone to start again with him, whether it’s the first, second or the hundredth time.

Will we get in on the act?

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