Great Expectations of Movie Love

How many times have we tried to pin the blame for our romantic shortcomings on Hollywood and the preposterous, impossible ideals they instill in our hearts (earlier evidence). In reality we can blame that land of glitz and glam for James Franco’s ubiquity (full disclosure: I follow him on Twitter—have you seen those dimples?), Gigli, and Nicholas Cage’s career, but we cannot rebuke them for our naive hopes of riding off into the sunset with our ever-faithful, tall, dark, handsome, humanitarian doctor prince special agent.

It’s our willing suspension of disbelief that allows us to buy into the saccharine plots Hollywood is pandering. How many times have we uttered “well that’s just not realistic” while watching Jason Statham leap over burning cars, pull some tuck and roll maneuver and escape relatively unscathed but for the strategically sexy little cut on his right cheek bone? (*sigh* let’s pause for a Statham moment shall we?) But when it comes to the romantic comedy we somehow think it's ok to adopt the fluffy philosophies purported by these carefully scripted relationships? 

I’ve lauded it before and I will do so again—and not just because of my JGL obsession, (Have you seen those dimples? K. I need to cool it with the man crazy sentiments today)—500 Days of Summer has been one of the more realistic portrayals of relationships that I’ve seen. (A friend once said the same of Closer, but for the sake of humanity I hope that’s not true.) It points to the way we romanticize relationships when we consider them in hindsight, but upon closer examination they aren’t as perfect as we imagine.

We can't blame the movie industry for our bloated romantic hopes, they are just giving us what we want. And no one wants to see reality at the box office. Because when these tales do make it to the big screen, they are unbearably depressing. Ok, to be fair, the truly great relationships I have witnessed don’t look like pretty people with the white trash treatment, but they sure don’t look like Jennifer McHathadams falling into the safe, unfailing arms of Hugh McCanaugnycusak either.

The reality is relationships are sticky, messy and far from perfect. People within them are selfish and insensitive at times. Nothing I’m saying is revolutionary, but I feel inclined to remind myself and readers (all three of ‘em!) of that fact especially after a viewing of some particularly sugary film. There are going to be times that we don’t get what we want or need out of our relationships. They will become stale, familiar and completely unmoving. We will be let down. We will be burdened with the responsibilities of adulthood and life in general and we will fall short in the eyes of our lovermuffinkins.

Ok that got way too serious so I shall end with this little gem, happy St. Patrick’s Day!