The “rom-com” plot never changes: the pretty, but downtrodden, single woman gets saved by the rich, good looking, completely idealized man, whose only flaw is that it takes him a little while to figure out that he’s in love with her; then in the last ten minutes of the movie, he must race somewhere to find her and keep her from leaving town.
“Feel good movies,” that’s what they’re called. But who feels good after seeing them? Single women? Like seeing this one movie is going to wash away past hurts and disappointments, bringing instead, inspiration and hope to carry on – and to believe – yes believe, that the exact same thing will happen for you because Mr. Right is just around the very next turn…
While channel surfing late one night, I realized this movie formula was well-established with 1950’s films like Sabrina, and the Doris Day comedies. Who says that in order to have a happy ending, the couple must get together?
Shakespeare. He’s the one. All the comedies end with a wedding, just as all the tragedies end with a death. We’ve had over four hundred years of conditioning! But The Bard was wrong. This is the new millennium and, back me up here ladies, in the real world the guy tells the girl that he doesn’t deserve her, that she’s going to be a great wife for some other lucky guy, blah, blah, blah, before leaving her with a few mementos and a broken heart.
So what’s a modern girl to do?
I muted the television and sat for a while in the darkness, only the blue glow of the screen lighting my way. And in the solitude of my apartment, I figured it out.
It’s time to change the narrative. You can’t expect or rely on another person for your happiness. You have to find your own bliss. A happy ending can be whatever you want it to be.
4 thoughts on “I Blame Shakespeare”
Love this post!
For my birthday I saw “The Martian” and it was the first movie I’d watched in a theater in 14 years that was not animated or PG rated. Refreshing change of pace, but also action-hero formulaic. Hollywood needs to take more risks on movies that break the narrative and still engage audiences.
Cathy – glad to get your movie review of “The Martian.” I’m visiting the folks this week and thought it would be a good movie for us to watch together. Looked for it at the local library but all the copies were out.