Thursday, February 14, 2013

Why modern romance films suck.

In honor of the arbitrary holiday that is Valentine's Day, I figured it would be a better moment than any to discuss the idea of romance in film. The idealistic, impractical, and counterfeit portrayal of two human beings supposedly being "in love." Check your local theater line-ups and about 90% of the time your average run-of-the-mill romantic comedy will be a option for your viewing. These include titles such as: The Wedding Singer, The Proposal, Sex and the City, Definitely, Maybe. You get the point. It's even gotten so bad that two of these films were released at the same time, with very similar plot lines. (see No Strings Attached, and Friends with Benefits). This formulaic message that love is where you least expect it, and that your one true soul mate is actually your best friend, and that when you meet this ungodly beautiful man he's going to be perfect in every way and you're going to live happily together in a middle class suburban area with a dog and two perfect children. This is not the way it works, and it's rather agitating that such false images of a loving relationship such as these are held in such high demand with American viewers. As a female, and contrary to popular opinion of such, I find these movies pathetic in the sense that not only do they deceive you into believing that every possible romantic interaction in your life will go as perfectly planned, but it's simply defrauding. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Romantic Comedies rank as the third highest grossing genre of cinema behind Action and Adventure. You pay ten dollars to watch an 90 minute film even though you know exactly how it's going to end. You can predict the plot line within the first ten minutes. Don't you at least think it's a waste of money?

So I find myself asking, why don't more films exist that show what it really means to love someone? Why don't more films show the pain of sacrifice? Or the pain of distance? Is it because it's not entertaining? Because it won't sell? Because it wasn't written by Nicholas Sparks? Perhaps it takes a special viewer to appreciate the value of a pictorial realism.

In 2011, a film title Blue Valentine was released. It features a story of a couple who experience an unexpected pregnancy (from another man). The current boyfriend puts his entire life on hold for the girl he loves and tells her "let's start a family" completely disregarding that the child is not even his.  They
get married and things seem great until we cut to five years later where their relationship starts to experience hardship and affliction as it begins to test the boundaries and capacity of marriage. This film took 12 years to write and get into production. It received nominations at the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, London Film Critics, Independent Spirit Awards, and many more. It had a budget of 1 million dollars, and only grossed $12,355,734 in box office revenue.

In 2012, a film title The Vow was released. It features a story of a woman who goes into a coma and loses her memory. Her husband diligently stays by her side proving his love for her. Though a few moments of misfortune occur, the ending delivers favorable closure with a high predictability for future happiness. This films took a year to produce. It received nominations at the MTV Movie Awards, Teen Choice Awards and People's Choice Awards. It had a budget of 30 million dollars and grossed $196,114,570 in box office revenue putting it on the list of highest grossing romance films behind Titanic and Pearl Harbor.

So instead of wasting your time with a ridiculous display of false affection this Valentine's Day, pick up a film that proves that human emotion is something much more complex than this pretentious ideology that romance is rounded on all sides and that, in simple terms, love is an easy task. Next time you get the urge to watch Dear John, I advise you to take a look at The Thin Red Line, instead.

Happy Valentines Day.


1 comment:

  1. Amen! I loved Blue Valentine (and, even more, Revolutionary Road), that show love is not rainbows and cupcakes all the time. Love is work, but the best work to possibly have.