Sometimes, a pro-single movie doesn’t need to have a bad relationship in order to qualify. It can show that a romance can be good, but it may just have a limited shelf life, like a box of amazing Girl Scout Cookies.
Ruben plays drums in a heavy metal duo; the other half is his girlfriend, Lou. It’s a sad occupational hazard of the rock and roll life that hearing is often damaged by being surrounded by constant loud noise on the stage. For example, damage was done to Neil Young’s ears; he suffers from tinnitus and had to stop recording for a few years.
Ruben’s issue is much more severe. A doctor informs him he’s lost most of his hearing, and it will continue to deteriorate if he keeps playing. He can obtain a series of cochlear implants to help him, but they’re out of his price range (gotta love the United States’s healthcare system, right?).
Ruben’s livelihood is affected on two levels: 1) music is how he and Lou eat; and 2) he’s a recovering drug addict, and drumming provides an outlet for all the excess energy he’s accumulated from not using. Ruben insists he can keep playing, but Lou’s not having it (and for good reason, obviously). Through his recovery sponsor, they learn about a community for Deaf recovering addicts, led by Joe.
One of the rules is that addicts must come in solo; no significant others allowed. Ruben’s vehemently opposed to this, but Lou pushes him in. The community is based on the idea that being Deaf is not a handicap; it teaches its members to accept being Deaf. Through life in the community, Joe is able to progress through the stages of grief (in this case, he’s mourning the loss of his hearing). But it’s a journey getting there, as he uses Joe’s computer to follow Jen’s new career as a musician in Paris. He also sells his RV and music equipment in order to pay for the implants. Upon learning this, Joe asks him to leave the community.
He flies to Paris and briefly reconciles with Lou. They sleep together, but during their time apart, it appears Lou is doing well on her own. She was a cutter at one point, and when Ruben brings up performing music together, she scratches her arms. They’d been together four years, and Ruben had been clean for the same amount of time. It is a general suggestion in recovery circles that one wait a full year before getting involved in a romantic relationship. Their relationship is good, if a bit codependent. They sleep together one last time, and they acknowledge that each saved each other’s lives before Ruben packs up his belongings and appears to return to the community. It's bittersweet but real.