The Philosphy of Rom Coms
I found myself watching a romantic comedy the other night. It’s one I have seen once or twice before. Although this can be a painful experience, as I knew what was going to happen, I started to see the contradictory ideas in the film. I think these are common to this genre.
Some of the characters were talking about when it was appropriate to say ‘I love you’ in a new relationship. In fact, there was every expectation that sleeping with someone can happen very early in a relationship, but you should not say you love them for quite some time, maybe even years.
This would make sense, in a film like this, if relationship, commitment and family was not so significant to the film in other ways. What often happens is the film pivots on a change of perspective. Main protagonists start falling for each other when they are confronted with the community and family the other belongs to. Essentially, the person they saw before is now seen as a whole, and what is the attractive is the whole package. The human emotion – the love and commitment – is the attractive part, not so much the sexual encounter.
It is not the statement of ‘love’ which is the problem, but the uncommitted un-covenanted liaison which creates insecurity and lack of peace. It is here that the rom com reflects and promotes a failed aspect of society today. The gush of attraction is not shown up for what it is, just a gush. Community comes from a basis of strong family and committed relationships.
Strange then that the problem and solution are implicitly embedded within the film. In a way, no one learns from the tale.