Romance movies: Realistic?
Life & Culture Editor
Romance movies are a staple of American Culture. Films like “The Notebook”, “Titanic”, “Crazy Rich Asians”, or pretty much every film that networks such as Lifetime and Hallmark create become a template for future media and scripts. These films are insanely formulaic and lack true to life situations. Not only do they paint the world in a glamorized and romanticized way, they leave their viewers looking for their own “Perfect Romance”.
The standards that are expected of relationships within films feed into the idea that Prince Charming exists and that Mrs. Right is out there. That being said, romance movies also have a bad habit of putting toxic relationships in the spotlight. This is seen in tropes in which one of the romantic interests does something completely irredeemable and, in the end, the protagonist accepts a subpar apology (most likely while standing outside in the rain).
Romance films give the viewers rose-colored glasses when it comes to what a relationship is really supposed to be. Referencing back to Hallmark and Lifetime movies, their formula seems to attract many viewers, yet still sets the standards for relationships incredibly low and disguises it as a comedy.
In a majority of their films, the female protagonist is called from her high paying career in the city just to return to her small hometown that she hates in order to help with a family matter. She then meets a (most likely) rugged man who is too stubborn and set in his ways to accept her. She finds him annoying and unapproachable in the beginning. Then, the most miraculous thing happens. He either saves her from being hit by a car, helps her work the diner during lunch rush, or teaches her to ride a horse. The protagonist falls hopelessly in love with this man, but much to her dismay, he is either always taken by his own toxic girlfriend or fiancée or does something so irredeemable (such as cheating or lying), that a fight breaks out between them.
The protagonist has a good cry with her old middle school friends until her love interest comes back and apologizes. Very seldomly does she say that that is not good enough. Usually, she will embrace him, quit her dream job in the city, move back to her hometown, and get married to the very man that caused her so much heartache.
Our underlying question is: Do romance movies give their viewers a reason to accept harmful and toxic relationships? It can be argued that people can determine that some of the standards within romantic cinema are unhealthy. However, when we are targeted at such a young age with films like “High School Musical” where the main male love interest acts as though his love of basketball is above his love of his girlfriend and her own interests, we cannot help but to wonder when these standards are formed within us. Subconsciously, a majority of viewers thought Troy was the perfect boyfriend just because he did the musical with Gabriella. That is just not the case. He would have never auditioned if it was not by accident and would have skipped out on Gabriella’s accomplishments just like he tried to do in “High School Music 2”.
In conclusion, romance movies do indeed damage the standards that we form for our own relationships. We either end up expecting our love interest to write us a letter for every day of the year, or, on the flipside, we are more prone to accepting someone who is.