Rom-Com: Good, Bad or something in-between?
You know how some females seem to be on a quest to watch every romantic or chic-flick movie ever created by the human race? Well, even if you don’t know one, I happen to be one. I love movies based on the matters of the heart. No matter how mediocre, exaggerated or utterly fictional these movies seem to be I can still sit there and enjoy the sappy, hormone triggers dished out to me. Don’t get me wrong I love other genres too, however, the promise of love and a happily ever after always wins. There is something comforting about seeing two or more imperfect individuals finding their own unique balance in life. And I am not afraid to say it.
My love for on screen love affairs, as well as the ones on paper, aren’t always appreciated by the people I associate with- which is a feeling most people who love this genre can relate to. The psychology and long-term effects of watching unrealistic and hyped depictions of love are a huge debate within academia as well as outside the circle. The common fear revolves around the possibility of people deluding themselves into believing that these movies are factual or mirrors of what life and love are supposed to be. There are also consequences of enacting these delusions in real life. Which can come at a very high price to one’s moral or psyche at best; at worst, it creates a dysfunctional culture where life never meets up to one’s misconstrued ideas, therefore, guaranteeing failure in the game of life and love. So, the question is: are mainstream romantic movies bad?
A simplified, straightforward answer to this issue doesn’t exist, however, what does exist are extensive studies on the way what we watch (rom-coms) affect our thinking, beliefs, and actions both positively and adversely. Here are a few significant points to consider when it comes to your movie choices, especially romantic comedies.
CONS OF ROMANTIC MOVIES
TV definition of love
Relationships with family, friends, and acquaintances take up the majority of our time and effort all our lives. Sadly, since a ‘relationship for dummies 101’ course doesn’t exist (which I believe should be in schools), we all have to make do with the examples we see around us (including onscreen) plus our own convictions based on experiences.
The television definition of love always has to do with passion or rekindling passion. Falling in love and staying in that blissful, exciting, tummy fluttering phase becomes the start and finish of romantic love. Often, this rabbit hole is almost impossible to climb out of mainly since we go back to the same movies for reaffirmation. A one-dimensional portrayal of love takes away the many faces love takes in real life. This is most noticeable in long-term relationships where the wild flames of passion are replaced with steady, slow, reliable ones. This mature transitioning is one of the biggest fears in any new 21st-century relationship. Many couples are going overboard to ensure the wild whirlwind romance in the early days of companionship last longer because of the negative connotation relaxed, uneventful loving has. After all, what is easy can’t last, right?
All is fair in love and war
‘How to Lose a Guy in 10 days’ falls in my top 10 favorite rom-coms after all who doesn’t love Mathew McConaughey's southern accent and Kate Hudson’s girlish ways. And the two of them together is just yum. However, the movie is a classic example of using love to justify bad behavior. Both Mathew and Kate’s characters manipulate one another for their own personal/professional gain, using every tool in their toolbox to push the other in their desired direction. But because it is a rom-com all is forgiven with a car chase and a public confession. This idea of everything is acceptable for the sake of love or when done to/for a loved one is costly off camera. Love can be unconditional. However, the choice to stay with someone always involves more than the love between the two.
PROS OF ROMANTIC MOVIES
Hope is a synonym for Rom-com
Jane Austin’s Mr. Darcy revolutionized the description of a character worthy of love. For all his arrogance, self-adoration and elitism Mr. Darcy’s good nature attracted the love of Lizzy. Hollywood’s apt ability to depict flawed characters succeeding in the game of love has created one of the most romantically hopeful generations. For all our mistakes, problems and limitations we still believe that there is at least one person out there who wants our brand of crazy. The idea of a perfect man and a perfect woman, with perfect genes and an impeccable lineage falling in love, doesn’t make it anymore. Rom-coms advocate acceptance and growing into the best versions of ourselves through love, just look at Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in ‘Pretty Woman.'
Rom-coms make us better people
Romantic comedies like fairy tales consist of general rules in which good triumphs over evil; a sense of eventual balancing of scales; and rewarding loyalty, fairness, respect for authority, purity, and caring.
These 5 attributes (loyalty, fairness, respect for authority, purity, and harm/care) form the basis of Jonathan Haidt’s ‘moral intuition’ theory- where he tries to explain the origins of, and variation in, human morality. A recent study by psychologists at the University of Buffalo suggests that frequently indulging in sappy romantic comedies could improve our morality. The team led by Matthew Grizzard concluded that “Repeated exposure to romantic films led to increases in sensitivity for four of the five moral intuitions,” i.e. excluding purity. Click here to find out more about the study.
Since romantic comedies predominantly focus on love, romance, emotional support, friendship, etc. it comes as no surprise that repeat watchers internalize these lessons and then possibly enact them in their lives-subconsciously. Bring to reality the fears of critics.
In the end, Romantic Comedies are simply movies aimed at entertaining us, neither solely good nor bad. Nevertheless, like the books we read, the music we listen to, or the friends we surround ourselves with they have the power to influence our outlook on life and our reactions towards certain situations. Understanding the ramifications of our choice of movies is as important as how we spend our money or our diet choice.
That's all folks. Hope today's blabber gives you a new attitude towards Romantic Comedies. Lemme know what you think about the genre? Lessons you've learned watching some of your favorites. And do me a favor by sharing a few of your favorite movies (I am starting to run😊).