My name is Teresa, and I am a RomCom addict.
I can’t deny it. Given the opportunity to camp out in front of the TV for a night, I’ll choose a romantic comedy over an action movie anytime. Why? Because the romantic comedy is a concrete manifestation of who I want to be and how I want my life to be.
If we take a closer look at why we like certain genres of fiction, we can learn a little more about ourselves–and others. It’s kind of like taking a personality analysis, like the Briggs-Myers or Jung Typology. But analyzing our movie choices allows us to SEE a picture of the parts of ourselves–and others. And, I do have an annoying, yet undeniable, habit of analyzing just about everyone I meet.
It comes with the occupation–teaching. It’s not that I face the enemy each day. It’s not that I am on a seek and destroy mission. But if I can get into the heads of the people I work with and figure out what makes them tick, then I can overcome the obstacles between us, nip problems in the bud, as Barney Fife would say. The objective is to work together, not in opposition. I also learn more about me and why I do what I do.
But I digress. My mission here is to confess my attraction to romantic comedies and to explain why I am drawn to them like a bug to a light.
Basically, the most alluring element of romantic comedies is that they spotlight the yearning created when we find ourselves in one place while wanting to be somewhere else. Take the case the case of Jonathan Trager and Sara Thomas in the movie Serendipity, my all-time favorite movie and inspiration for this blog.
For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, Jonathan and Sara meet by accident and realize they are somehow cosmically connected. However, their meeting seems to headed for a dead end. They both belong somewhere else and to someone else. However, they challenge fate. Sara writes her name inside a book, and Jonathan writes his name on a $5 bill. They send these items “out into the Universe” to see if destiny brings them back together again.
And not to be a spoiler here, but obviously they do but not without plenty of obstacles.
Wouldn’t it be great to know if we want something badly enough it will happen, even if obstacles are involved? If we want something badly enough, we’re willing to take on a few obstacles. Right?
Everybody has dreams that don’t come true. Every little boy doesn’t grow up to be a professional football player, and every little girl doesn’t grow up to become Homecoming Queen. RomComs take care of that little detail. Every RomCom has the happy ending that real life doesn’t provide.
Another reason why I like a good RomCom is because the main character is usually a quirky, yet likeable, female who is on mission. No matter how hard she tries to make a smooth journey, she always finds herself in an awkward predicament. Take for instance Anna Brady in Leap Year. Anna has been waiting forever for Jeremy, her cardiologist boyfriend, to propose. When he doesn’t, not even on Valentine’s Day, she decides to take matters into her own hands. When she hears of an Irish custom that guarantees marriage if a woman proposes to a man on February 29, Leap Day, Anna travels to Dublin, Ireland, to propose to Jeremy, who’s there on a business trip.
Anna’s travel plans run awry when she can’t get where she wants to go due to inclement weather. Her plane lands in Wales, and she has to take a boat to Dingle, where she wanders into the only restaurant in town. She finds herself at the mercy of Declan, whom she pays to drive her to Dublin. Although Anna tries her best to maintain control of every detail in her life, nothing goes right. Complicated turns to comedic. She loses her Louis Vuitton luggage, breaks the heel of her expensive pumps, tries to herd a herd of cows, and feigns marriage to Declan so that he and she can secure the only remaining room at a quaint little inn.
The point is, when everything goes wrong, everything turns out right for Anna. Her mission to marry the wrong man fails, and she falls in love with the guy who drives her crazy. She lives through rejection. She acts like an “idjit.” She falls apart, but she gets everything she ever needed, even though at the time she doesn’t know what she really wants.
I think Declan sums it up best when he says to Anna, “Why don’t you stop trying to control everything in the known universe. It’s dinner. Have a little faith that it will all work out.”
I think we all have a desperate need for IT to work out,–whatever IT is. Oh, to have the comfort of knowing, yes, life will work out.
My third favorite movie is August Rush, though some people may identify it more as a Chick Flick than a RomCom. Whatever you call it, I like it. It’s a movie that ends with a rhapsody. And in case you aren’t into music theory, a rhapsody is ”a musical composition of irregular form having an improvisatory character.” Is that what life is? A composition with irregularities and improvisations?
The premise goes like this. Lyla is an accomplished cellist. Louis is a guitarist and vocalist of The Connelly Brothers, an Irish rock band. Succumbing to their mutual attraction, they spend the night together, but then their lives are interrupted. They go their separate ways, and Lyla finds out she’s pregnant. Before giving birth, she is involved in an accident, and the baby comes early, only to whisked away by Lyla’s father, who puts him up for adoption. The boy, a.k.a Evan, ends up living in an orphanage the first eleven years of his life, but he has something spectacular about him. He can hear music EVERYWHERE.
Led by a spirit of “knowing he will find his parents,” he goes on search for them. He follows the music. A street busker finds him and exploits his talents for cash. Evan becomes August Rush. Again, driven by his passion, August follows the music and finds himself at Julliard, where the people take note of his savant abilities and nonconformist methods and enroll him as a student.
His work is so grand his work is chosen to be played by the Philharmonic at Central Park. Coincidentally, Lyla too will play there that same night, and Louis shows up as well.
Louis and Lyla follow the music and find Evan. The family is reunited.
This RomCom isn’t like the others. The lead character isn’t a quirky, female. But there is a happy ending. Love prevails.
And that is the real message behind RomCom–love prevails.
No matter how ridiculous life can be, love prevails.
No matter how many obstacles and hurts a person has to go through, love prevails.
No matter how confused the lead character may be about what she wants in life, love prevails.
Love prevails. And in the case of August Rush, music leads the way.
Come on now. How could I not fall for a good RomCom?
Real life, however, is not always a RomCom. Any given day, it could be a action-adventure or a thriller or even a horror story. Just turn on the news. There’s your proof.
As for me, I will continue to play the quirky, clutzy, sometimes overly optimistic, sometimes doomsday pessimistic, spastic female on a mission. And I will go where the music takes me and wait for love to prevail.
WORDS OF WISDOM
[Love} always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
I don’t wanna wait in vain for your love; / I don’t wanna wait in vain for your love. / From the very first time I rest my eyes on you, girl, / My heart says follow t’rough. / But I know, now, that I’m way down on your line, / But the waitin’ feel is fine ~ Bob Marley from the movie Serendipity
Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you / Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you / But in your dreams whatever they be / Dream a little dream of me ~ Ella Fitzgerald from the movie Leap Year
Well, it’s a marvelous night for a moondance / With the stars up above in your eyes / A fantabulous night to make romance / Neath the cover of October skies ~ Van Morrison from the movie August Rush
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