I’m a non-confrontational kind of gal. I live in a perpetual “no boat rocking” zone. Nowadays with so much dissention and dissagreement in the world, it’s hard to find a place as a little ball of social anxiety and timidity. So with my apprehensive countenance and a world full of sadness, it’s no suprise that I keep finding myself being drawn to movies that give me a clear cut, reliable romance. I have been burned too many times in my short life. I have put my whole trust in a Barbra Streisand/Robert Redford type relationship only to be emotionally crushed in the end (See ya Katie? See ya?! What the hell is this? Where’s my happy ending?!). Sometimes you just want a story that will satisfy you through and through. A movie where you can bolt yourself onto the love bicycle like the third wheel you are (not the best metaphor, I’m aware). A film where the conflict is not focused around the main romantic relationship. I love movies where the couple lives in this insular room of tenderness and care, while outer forces try to tear them apart. Movies that give me untainted happiness for the majority of my movie watching experience are a cooling balm to my burnt and bruised heart.
One of my favorite examples of this is My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Once the romance is established in the first act, we are assured of the love of this couple. The conflict lies rather with the families, and how big of a role they are to play in Nia and John’s relationship. This allows me to watch the adorable proposal scene and feel happy knowing a breakup isn’t just around the corner. On the other end of spectrum are movies where the conflict is inherent in the relationship; movies like Jane Eyre, where Rochester’s hidden marriage (150 year spoiler alert!) is a concurrent burden on the romance. We are given a few adorable scenes, though when watched again they are somewhat tainted by the reveal of the psychotic wife. It’s hard for me to look back on Rochester’s proposal to Jane, in which he denies having a wife, and say “Oh this seems totally adorable and honest and sincere”. I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop and crush all of Jane’s dreams of love and happiness. Now this is not to say that I don’t like stories with that type of conflict. Most of my favorite romances don’t present a safe love story immediately, and the entirety of the movie rests on the question of “Will they get together/stay together?” (Some favorites include You’ve Got Mail, Pride and Prejudice, Bright Star, An Affair to Remember, Far from the Madding Crowd). I think that uncertainty puts the audience in a unique emotional spot.
Of course, there deserves to be a home for stories with all kinds of conflict, but somedays I just want to watch something that gives me both romance and security. To know for certain that the world may wage war against a couple, but they are faithful throughout the entire movie, dammit. They are a bulwark standing firm in the rough winds of humanity! Sometimes it’s just nice to curl up with a movie and know all the shoes that could drop have dropped, and you just can go on and enjoy the story of a Greek woman eating her twin in utero.