So, who exactly are love stories made for? For the hopeless romantic sitting at home with a bowl of popcorn dreaming of something magical? For two lovers to cling to each other when the romance in the film starts to over boil like rice that has been left too long?
The answer is C... all of the above.
In full-on film going mode, I drenched my viewing pleasure in some of the best love stories that I have not yet had the pleasure of watching. And it was a lovely mix of Romantic comedy, an epic romance and the inevitable true life - love and loss - romance. Is it a question of pertaining certain aspects to our own experiences or is it about dreaming of that love to come... and if so, would you choose one of the above genres to try fall into or would you try amalgamate all into one piece, to form your idea of love or the love you are living at the moment? Do we have to relate in order to be engaged?
It has always been a popular understanding that forming characters with problems we can relate to transcends a movie on screen from that of just a movie, to art that touches your soul. So this would be the ultimate achievement as a writer, to create someone that is completely relatable. But when it comes to a love story, I very seldom find myself relating to either of the people caught up in the messy business of love and tend to rely more on their sub-plot as individuals to find something to relate to.
For example, in "No Strings Attached", we have two young adults who are out to simply satisfy the need for companionship without the complications of a commitment. So who would be more relatable? On one side, we have a young woman that is afraid of getting hurt. A woman so guarded that she is unable to let the greatness that comes from a relationship to come into her life. And on the other side we have a man with a broken heart, because of his father, that is lifted up in the air by the charismatic way about this woman. I tend to lean towards the guarded woman.
The movie was a pleasure to watch albeit with a very predictable ending - which was actually great to watch, due in large part to the brilliance that is Natalie Portman's craft.
To off set the happy ending I put in "Blue Valentine" next. It's one of those great, hard-hitting, love stories. Wrapped up with a brilliant soundtrack and some magical cinematic moments. It's a love story like no other. their relationship is so layered and we slowly watch the dissipation of their love as the movie jumps between past and present. Here we have a kind-hearted, carefree and lazy man that has fallen in love with a woman that has more baggage than he was initially expecting. She in turn is a hard working, rigid and responsible woman. Her love for him intensifies from that initial "honeymoon" phase to something rather serious in a short amount of time and her dependability on him is palpable. By the end I could totally relate to him. Nothing harder than leaving the one you love alone because they asked you to.
And to pick myself up, "Water for Elephants" was the last one on the menu. It is truly a delight to watch in that old school kind of epic-love-story-that-stands-the-test-of-time way. A man with a gift for animals meets a girl with a gift for animals and the only thing standing in their way is her husband. But he is not just your normal jealous husband... he is wicked down to his black heart that is filled with greed. She gives him a reason to strive for something and he gives her the possibility of a new life and freedom.
In love, not in love. Relatable or not... who gives a shit. Watch these three movies, they are all real goodies yo'. And should leave you feeling something by the end of them.