Films July 24, 2017
'Cause nothing says "happily ever after" like over-controlling relationships.
Ah, the everlasting allure of the modern rom-com. Rom-coms have been your eternal love-hate relationship since junior high.
As much as they are packed with unrealistic relationships and sickly sweet soundtracks, they are chock-full of feel-good moments that you just can’t resist.
However, even the best rom-coms have their dark sides; namely, the awful messages they provide young girls about the ideals of love. Although several of the hits from 2016 and 2017 have moved past these tropes, a few classic rom-coms are guilty of conveying bad messages. Such as:
First off, watch this movie as a not-child… and then gasp in horror. While our young, pure minds easily disregarded every innuendo thrown into the classic 60’s film, the message at the finale is hard to mask.
After Sandy decides how “Hopelessly Devoted” she is to Danny, the next time we see her on screen, she is totally different. She has changed her voice, taken up smoking, reformed her personality and reinvented her entire wardrobe.
While there is nothing wrong with changing our look, Sandy did this in order to get a guy… and it works. The entire Rydell High student body celebrates her successful personality switch. They sing and dance, and then they fly off into the sky to live happily ever after.
Oh yeah, and they sing “You’re the One That I Want.” The “you” in this instance, is the new-and-improved, fake Sandy. Not who she really is. Oops.
Okay, now Ryan Gosling’s character in “The Notebook” would probably not actually plummet to his death if she did not concede. However, his tactic is a little too similar to some of today’s more extreme methods of control.
Psychologists have long since discussed the “If you leave me, I’ll kill myself” concept in the context of committed relationships. Frederic Neuman, the director of the Phobia and Anxiety Treatment Center in New York, shared the futility of this method with Psychology Today.
“Anyone hearing that will be angry. Getting someone angry is not going to encourage a feeling of love or a wish to return to a committed relationship.”
With this taken into consideration, it’s not surprising that Noah and Allie’s relationship involved such tumultuous ups-and-downs. It’s more or less built on a foundation of anger and moderate insanity.
We’ve already mentioned “The Notebook,” but there is a such an abundance of ill-informed messages that we couldn’t help ourselves. Unlike in “Titanic,” where Kate Winslet’s fiance is arguably the most hateable character on the face of the Earth, James Marsden’s character is a complete dream in “The Notebook.” He treats Allie like a princess, is faithful to her and wants to build a beautiful life with her.
If Allie had realized her feelings for Noah, she could have broken things off with Lon the minute she saw Noah in the newspaper. After all, going to Ryan Gosling’s empty estate while you’re engaged is just never going to end well.
Infidelity in film is not exactly unique, but the movie tends to romanticize it, despite the fact that she had romance with her fiancé as well. Also, the movie poster is literally her in mid-cheat. So yeah, not the world’s greatest message.
This being said, James Marsden is not totally faultless in the world of rom-coms. In “27 Dresses” Marsden plays Kevin Doyle, a reporter who becomes obsessed with the full-time bridesmaid Jane (played by Katherine Heigl). However, he pursues her in possibly one of the creepiest ways possible.
Jane leaves her day planner in the cab that she and Kevin shared, and he opens and checks it out (rom-com sin #1). He also takes the liberty of writing himself in once a week (rom-com sin #2). On top of that, he begins writing an article on her without asking (rom-com sin #3).
In addition to all of these things, he takes pictures of her without telling her that they could one day be published, which is just not okay under any context (rom-com sin #4). Although he eventually rethinks the article and it is published without his permission, none of the mix-up would have happened had he been, oh, I don’t know, not a stalker.
So most of the internet has already agreed that there are 400,000 things wrong with this scene. Now don’t me wrong, “Love Actually” is an incredibly entertaining, emotional movie. The Kleenex industry probably owes 30 percent of its business in 2003 to this film.
However, most of the critique of this scene goes to Andrew Lincoln’s character, where he confesses his love to his best friend’s wife (not the best move, Rick from “The Walking Dead”). However, Keira Knightley’s choice is arguably a lot worse.
All this being said, the allure of rom-coms can never be denied. Sometimes a realistic movie is just not what you’re in the mood for, and you need the mindless joy of boy-meets-girl at the end of the day.
However, we should be increasingly careful of what messages romantic comedies expose to young women.
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