Sunday, March 1, 2009

Cool Love Equals Realistic Love?

My definition of Cool Love is love that has no limits, love that doesn’t fail, and love that is never-ending. Now that I have typed it out, it seems like I have a fairytale version (yet again) of love in my head. I probably do. Most of movies that are out there just reinforce the fanciful notions of love. There are so many to pick from! One of my favorites, Kate and Leopold, is one of the more extreme ones. Here, a handsome British man (complete with the accent) from the year 1876 manages to jump forward into the twenty-first century. There, he meets a girl and they fall madly in love. Of course they hit a few bumps in the road along the way, but it wouldn’t be interesting without some suspense (even though the viewer knows the way it will ultimately end up together). This type of story is told over and over again, is not realistic, and yet is loved by millions of people (mainly females).

Why is this? Why are we attracted to these types of love stories instead of stories like Jules and Jim which are messy and unattractive, but ultimately, more realistic than these fairytales that we all enjoy? I have to admit, I would watch Kate and Leopold over Jules and Jim any day. But why is that? Maybe we all really know that love isn’t easy—maybe it’s not even out there—but the idea of romance and love has been sold to us over and over again as something that only brings joy and happiness. However, in reality, love can be nasty, hard to deal with, and sometimes causes people to do crazy (and not always the good kind of crazy) things—things like driving cars off of bridges.
So what if Jules and Jim presented a more realistic picture of love? Is realistic cool? Not in cinema. People go see movies to escape their lives and to see something unrealistic that will allow them to feel better, to cry, or to be angry as needed. For better or for worse, cinema has become a modern form of therapy. When you are feeling down, grab and Adam Sandler flick! When you need a good cry, go to the nearest romance section near you and pick up P.S. I Love You. I could go on, but the point is, we like unrealistic films because they make us feel better. Something like Jules and Jim just makes you realize how screwed up the world really is sometimes, and that’s no fun.


  1. I agree that Jules and Jim is definately not a fairy tale love story, but was it realistic? How many women have the father of their child and their new husband living with them under the same roof? and fairly happily for a time? I know people do crazy things, but that is a bit extreme. I hope that similar situations do not occur in real life. The film does point out the negatives of love, but in what I consider an extreme manner.

  2. Jules and Jim may be an extreme case, but I think a lot of us deny the true face of many marital relationships and how many of them really work. Married couples don't show their dark secrets to the world. You've heard of swingers and you know they exist, but do you know any personally? That's just one example. I think this particular situation is far more likely to occur than a perfect, fairytale relationship presented in so many films.

  3. Realism is overrated in film.

    Is cool love universal, especially if the examples you give only appeal to women?

  4. Emileigh, you make an excellent point about Jules and Jim being messy vs. the clean and very obvious relationships of "unrealistic" film. Obvious here meaning that the next step is always apparent - there is no messy decision-making. For the most part, this is why I don't watch romances in which the roles and ending are obvious. While FJohn dismisses the value of realism in film, I completely disagree. Realism in romance is the difference between something being "cute" like Kate & Leopold and "cool."