Why I Hate Romantic Movies
(and why that doesn’t mean I hate love)
Last night, my friends were going to watch the movie Serendipity
, and I said, “Oh, is that the dumb movie where she writes her name in a book or something, and is all like, ‘Let Fate decide’?” All my friends gasped and said, “It isn’t stupid!” Then one of my friends said, “Gosh, you don’t like Serendipity
, you don’t like The Notebook
… why do you hate love?”
“I don’t hate love,” I replied, “which is exactly why I hate romantic movies.”
My friends laughed. “That makes no sense! Way to contradict yourself!”
“I didn’t contradict myself,” I said. “Romantic movies don’t show love. Love is better than that.”
I believe real love is better than its Hollywood imitation. Real love doesn’t involve stalking or pining or obsession or petty jealousies or control. Love is better than that.
Loving someone doesn’t mean never letting them out of your sight (see: Twilight: Cullen, Edward
). It doesn’t mean drinking yourself into oblivion for seven years after you’ve broken up (see: The Notebook: guy whose name I cannot be bothered to look up, the main
). It doesn’t mean looking for someone to “complete” you (see: just about every chick flick/romance novel ever made/written: main characters
). Love is better than that.
I don’t believe in soul mates. I don’t believe in “The One”. The idea that only one person in the entire world could be compatible with you is ridiculous for a number of reasons (happily remarried widow[er]s spring to mind); and equally ridiculous is the idea that any
person in the world is perfectly
compatible with you. No one is flawed in the perfect way to complement your flaws. Sorry. I think this is such a dangerous idea that’s been ingrained in our society because the implication is that there is someone out there who completes
You don’t need to be completed. You are one whole person. You are
I love the film Sabrina
(mostly because I have a weakness for Harrison Ford), but there is one line at the end that makes me cringe every single time. Sabrina’s dad says, “You don’t deserve her.” And Harrison Ford replies, “I know. But I need her.”
No, actually, Harrison, you don’t. Love isn’t a need. Love is a want
. We all of us could make it on our own. We just don’t want
And that’s why love is
better –– for both parties. Because you choose
it in spite of everything. It’s not forced on you by Fate; it’s not something you need; it doesn’t even necessarily make your life better. But you choose it because you want
This is where it gets tricky. Because love is what makes you want someone, but real love is also what makes you let them go and move on
if you have to. Frankly, if dated someone for a summer, and then we were forced to break up, and then seven years later I met up with him again and found out that he had spent that whole interim renovating some house we’d admired together and drinking himself into oblivion, I would definitely not
sigh, “True love!” and dump my fiancé and get back together with Drunk Guy. I would instead be like, “Wow, I’m glad I dumped that
loser’s ass!” And then I would move on with my life.
That isn’t real love. That’s obsession (and frankly, pathetic). I’m not saying not to wait for someone if that’s what you’ve both agreed to. But if circumstances force you apart, it’s okay and healthy
to move on. It doesn’t mean you stop loving them; it doesn’t mean you don’t remember your time together with tenderness; it doesn’t mean you don’t wish them all the best. You do
wish the other person happiness. And then you move on and live happily yourself. Pining does not equal love. You do not want to be with someone who cannot function normally without you. You want someone who can
live without you – quite happily so – but just doesn’t want
is love. That
is what makes love better than Hollywood. There is nothing special about someone who wants to be with you because you are the only way they can be happy. That is the most selfish reason to want to be with someone. Love is better than that.
So yes, I do hate romantic movies; and I hate them precisely because I don’t
hate love. Romantic movies take love and cheapen it. They turn it into something frightening and pathetic, and then they tell you that this isn’t just what you want, this is what you need
. You don’t need that. No one needs that, and you certainly shouldn’t want it. Love is what you want.
And love is better than a Hollywood romance.