Are Movies Behind the Times When it Comes to Portraying Relationships?
Choose any film from the vast list of romantic comedies that have been mae over the years and you are likely to find a story about a man and a woman who fall in love. There may be obstacles and challenges in the way but, usually, they end up getting together in the end – and everyone’s happy. This model has been seen recently in films like Last Christmas, and some writers like Richard Curtis have made a career out of it. Despite the fact that feel-good films like these are generally popular, it could be argued that they are giving us an inaccurate depiction of love in the contemporary era.
In fact, the number of people who watch a romantic comedy and actually identify with the male and female couple in the movie is diminishing. Ideas of heterosexual relationships and monogamy are appealing to fewer people than ever before. There are nearly 650,000 same-sex partnerships in the USA alone, and this number is increasing as more people are coming out, especially so in liberal areas. Despite this high number, there are precious few films which follow the love story of a gay couple.
Some of the romantic films that stand out for being about a gay couple include Another Gay Movie, Latter Days, and most recently, Love, Simon in 2018. The latter was praised by critics and is one of the only LGBT films to have been produced by a major Hollywood studio. It wasn’t a massive international hit, however, and only grossed $66 million at the box office. Hopefully, Greg Berlanti’s movie will influence more major studios to have a go at creating a more modern take on the romantic comedy.
Another thing which seems outdated about the traditional rom-com is the fact that it usually focuses on a relationship between two people. According to Badoo The Truth, the concept of non-monogamy is becoming increasingly popular. Society as a whole is starting to be more accepting of the idea that people can have open relationships, or enjoy mutually respectful and trusting relationships with more than one person. Depending on its intricacies, this can also be referred to as polyamory.
According to social science, one of the reasons behind the rise of this form of relationship is that it helps people deal with feelings of jealousy in a constructive manner. Couples tend to be much more open about what they are doing and with whom, and there is no need for lying and trying to deceive partners. If this kind of relationship was more frequently depicted on screen, it might help the concept gain more mainstream attention. People who are involved in non-monogamous relationships wouldn’t have to feel ashamed or embarrassed when talking about it in front of family and friends, either.
There have been some films which have touched on non-monogamy in the past, but they have often been geared towards quite niche audiences. Examples include Rita, Sue and Bob Too, and Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Hollywood filmmakers now need to try and get these 21st-century ideas of relationships into the mainstream, as the current model for rom-coms seems to be alienating a vast number of viewers.