I am completing a thesis on romance novels, so it’s probably appropriate that I deviate away from that slightly and talk about rom-coms. There are only so many romance novels a girl could read, and today I had the (mis?)fortune to read Normal People which made me feel miserable.
So, to cheer me up, some musings on my favourite romantic comedies of all time. Like romance novels, I’ve chosen ones that primarily focus on the actual romance and that have a happy ending, even if I love the (500 Days of Summer, I’m lookin’ at you, kid).
Edward: “So what happens after he climbs up and rescues her?”
Vivian: “She rescues him right back.”
I love Pretty Woman, though, yeah, it’s problematic on several fronts. Why it works? It uses the faux-relationship motif and it does it well. Richard Gere and Julia Roberts have such great chemistry in this film (unlike Runaway Bride, blurgh) and by the end of the week Edward and Vivian are together, both are making life-changing choices. You know that when the credits roll and they drift off into the sunset that they are both better people because they believe in each other.
Also, there aren’t many women in the world who don’t love the confrontation scene with the stuck up boutique ladies. ‘Big mistake. Big. Huge. I have to go shopping now.’
Linus: Save me, Sabrina fair, you’re the only one who can.
This movie is filled with so many beautiful words, it’s impossible not to fall in love with Linus and Sabrina’s story line. Sabrina has always been in love with David (Greg Kinnear at his finest), but his brother Linus steps in, wanting to protect the family fortune — there is suppose to be a merger between David’s fiancee’s family business and the Larabee Corporation — and falls in love with Sabrina, who he has known since they were children.
The main problem in this movie, the only problem, is that Harrison Ford is getting on quite a bit and Julia Osmond was very young. If there is a ten year-ish age gap like it is suggested in the movie, not a twenty year gap, it doesn’t seem to line up particularly well. If you can happily ignore this, you’ll be wanting to catch the now-defunct Concord to Paris to be saved by Sabrina.
Bridget Jones’s Diary
Mark: I like you very much. Just as you are.
Bridget and I relate on some many levels, and the first time I watched this movie I was a woman possessed. I thought about it a lot. Also, I really really annoyed at Hugh Grant. This was really the last good looking cad role he has played — maybe not. I just pretend that the Bridget sequel does not exist. It is awful.
Why this movie works: there’s a lot going on, but there is also enough of the every day to keep the chaos at bay. Also, our meetings with Mr Darcy are used sparingly at first, and then by time he finally admits her likes our girl, we like him too. Mark’s take on Bridget is so refreshing — everyone is set out to improve her somehow and she feels inadequate most of the time — he’s really the only person in this movie who has Bridget’s best interests at heart.
When Harry Met Sally
Harry: I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.
Possibly the best rom-com of all time. Hands down.
What I like about it is that the film is broken up by interviews of ‘real life’ couples (actually actors, but the stories are real). You wonder a little but about where it is going, and at the end — oh yeah, why didn’t I guess that?
The best-friends-to-lovers trope has always been a favourite of mine, and this movie is perfect for it. Harry and Sally go from disliking each other to becoming besties, to then finally declare their love in a spectacular fashion. The banter is amazing, and it has also given me a new appreciation of The Surrey with the Fringe On Top.