Guilty Pleasures: Rom Coms

I’m sure we all like to deny our love for rom-coms but deep down they’re the majority of people’s guilty pleasure. I feel that I can talk on behalf of most of the population when I say that when we’re feeling sad or going through difficult times in love or just life in general, we for some reason turn to rom-coms. We turn to them for comfort in order to make us cry, and as a result they absurdly cheer us up. I think the main reason rom-coms are such a popular genre of film is because people can escape directly into the narratives and empathise with the characters, forgetting that their own problems ever existed.

Watching someone else fall in love in a fairy-tale manner reminds us that one day it could happen to us. It’s laughable when you actually review the situation from an outside perspective, but it’s an addiction that we will continuously return to. I am certain that most girls at some point have wished to be the female character in one of their favourite rom-coms. The same faces pop up in rom-coms and we become accustomed to what to expect of their acting abilities. We can list some of the main actresses that often take the fairy-tale female lead without thinking too hard: Jennifer Aniston, Rachel McAdams, Kate Hudson, Julia Roberts, Katherine Heigl, the list goes on. If these wonderful love stories continuously happen to the likes of these ladies then surely we could be next on the likes of Channing Tatum or Ryan Gosling’s list. Well, we can wish anyway!

There are some things about rom-coms that we incessantly complain about. Oh they are always the same, just with different actors. Yeah but it never actually happen like that etc. But nonetheless, we really can’t stop ourselves from watching and indulging in them. There is something in our minds that is drawn to watching these fairy-tale representations of love and life as if it’s something we want to aim for in our own lives. Although we are fully aware of the degree of sadness, we still indulge in the films when a new one is released. For example, recently I Give it a Year and This is 40 have been released in cinemas, and although people are trying their hardest to deny themselves from seeing it, I guarantee the majority of you reading this have seen one of them, or are planning on it.The blend of romance and comedy is such a laid back genre that spectators aren’t required to think during the film, it is purely escapism cinema. It is what people want when they go to the cinema to watch a ‘simple’ film.

For me, rom-coms are definitely my guilty pleasure. I find them humorous and just all round lovely (without trying to sound cheesy). I think it’s their ability to absorb the viewer and let them escape into the storyline and become engrossed with the characters, that I can’t help but begin to love the soppy storyline and want everything to end perfectly. For me The Vow is one of the most frustrating, yet loveliest movies I’ve seen in a long time. With my favourite actress (Rachel McAdams) and one of the easiest on the eye actors (Channing Tatum) I couldn’t ask for a more perfect set-up, but everything turns sad when their love story is tainted with doom and gloom. I couldn’t help but keep attempting to figure out the ending- I don’t think I’ve ever wanted two people to be together so much before. For me this was a perfect balance of romance and tragedy, similar to McAdams’ earlier film The Notebook which has a very similar overtone. Some of my favourite films are of rom-coms. They including Pretty Woman (1990), Knocked Up (2007), When Harry Met Sally (1989), The Wedding Singer (1998), What Women Want (2000), Shallow Hal (2001), Amelie (2001), Priceless (2006) The Wedding Planner (2001) and Runaway Bride (1999). If you’re in the right mood, I would recommend all of these.

For me it is the cheesiness and soppy love narratives that make us want to watch them. We don’t like to admit it, but the majority of us do indulge in a little rom-com time, whether it’s for a night in or on the big screen. We’re a generation that can’t stop loving rom-com success. Although I think most rom-coms are more of a girl’s guilty pleasure, I’m sure some boys that are forced to watch them actually enjoy them and secretly pretend they don’t. It wouldn’t surprise me if most boys have a sneaky rom-com on their guilty pleasures list. Overall I say keep making them! Personally, I’d like to see some unexpected actors and actresses putting themselves forward for the roles.

Stephanie Vivian


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