I love romantic movies. Romance comedies. Movies that are centred around the concept of love. I love to see the intricacies of human relationships and how they twist and turn and how they unravel. I love seeing the hero and the heroine or the hero and the hero or the heroine and heroine go through their character journeys, highs and lows, histories and future dreams and interweave them into a surreal diaspora of abstractions.
But love isn’t just an abstraction here. In the realm of Julia and Sandra, Richard and Hugh the story lines pack love and its scope in laughter and tears, with laughter, always laughter, predominating and climaxing. It’s like a wonderful love making. You see the camera swoop from angles and it makes the panorama so pretty. I move from George’s room to Audrey’s face and the song shall forever remain in my heart as its very favourite. It knows with a sated assurance that the cat will be found and the lovers will be reunited under the pouring rain. It makes you believe through those few hours that love will prevail and how love can make you and keep you happy. For a few hours.
Then there are those other movies, where love charges with a brutality that is so forceful it is almost destructive. Almost. You see Kate letting go of Leo as he sinks into the Atlantic, or you see Heath pine away for Jake or Oliver crying for Jenny and your heart shrivels so hard you are afraid it will harden and break. But the movies lift you. They take what you thought was the utter veracity of love and makes you believe if that damn poet was right all along. Wasn’t it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?
You come back to seeing this sentimentality and wonder why so much of literature cannot be more of Austen and Bronte. Why Naturalism and Realism drive the nails further into wounds that life shall anyways inflict. Maupassant and Dreiser, Ibsen and Thoreau had their share of an uproar but give me Emma Thompson who makes you cry with her version of Austen. I ache when I see the twist, and I weep when I see the denouement.
Every story told has a grey shade. The times now seem to want to move deeper into the dark. They want to overturn Cinderella and create Into the Woods, they want to disrupt the pastoral idealism of Anne and make her modern. But I would much rather have Cinderella walk down the stairs wearing blue organdy and walk away with her glass slipper and her prince. Happily ever after should remain so – even if it is just for the sake of our imagination. It makes the world better. It certainly makes me feel better!
The colours of romance are always welcome, and writing on love is a sure success. Let tired hearts who have seen too much of reality come into this world, where dreams do come true, and love doesn’t always end up painful and battered. It is such a forceful emotion that I have to end with what I just heard in the movie I saw tonight. Liking someone is always dependent on the adverb clause of reason, but loving someone, ah loving someone, is always dependent on the adverb clause of contrast.