As one who recently had to go shopping for an engagement ring myself, I had to sympathize with Matthew, the character played by the once-ubiquitous heartthrob Josh Hartnett in Wicker Park. As the film begins, Matthew is on the verge of proposing to his girlfriend, who also happens to be his boss's sister, and one of the first things we see him do is step inside a jewelry store and ponder his indecision as he is offered a choice of three rings. As one who dislikes shopping in general, even when the stakes are pretty small, I can identify; it took me a bit of effort to set aside the daunting significance of what I was doing—the knowledge that the piece of metal I picked could very well sit on my fiancée's hand for the rest of her life—and narrow my own options down to a single, straightforward purchase.
I assume I survived the experience because the infinitely more important decision—whom to marry—had already been settled. (That, plus I had help; my intended gave me very specific tips regarding what to look for.) Matthew, however, is undecided on that point, too. The three rings, it soon becomes clear, symbolize the larger commitment issues that he will face over the course of the film, as he discreetly sets aside his present relationship to pursue one or two other romantic options.
It's not quite as sleazy as it sounds; in fact, once you know where Matthew is coming from, you really can't blame him, at first. One day on a business trip, while dining at a posh restaurant with his girlfriend (Jessica Paré), his boss, and a couple of clients, he overhears a woman in a phone booth, and he assumes she must be an old flame of his named Lisa (Troy's Diane Kruger). In flashbacks, we will learn ...1
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