There’s this restaurant in New York called Serendipity. It houses some decadent desserts though I’ve not been graced with their flavors yet. My friend told me we could go but not until we watched the movie, Serendipity, starring John Cusack. I agreed with her wisdom and we decided to watch the feature that upcoming weekend. I mentioned it to my roommate and he was instantly excited and said he might invite a few friends. Sounds great. Come Saturday and I assumed with the upcoming chick flick that my roommate’s friends would be girls. Wrong. I opened the door to three guys. So in a serendipitous moment, we had five guys and one girl, sitting down to watch John Cusack woo Kate Beckinsale. Everyone loved it.
Romantic comedies are simply wonderful. I know there’s probably instant judgement on my masculinity but hear me out. Why was it that five guys could sit down and enjoy this lighthearted film about love as much as our female counterpart? In short, I think these films relate to us in a personal way that digs deep into a longing we have as human beings. All other genres, though wonderful and inciting, don’t connect with us as personally as a romantic comedy does. Horror films attempt to eliciting thrills through monsters and scares, adventures derive from outlandish tales we could only dream of participating in and SciFi simply can’t happen…yet. But romantic comedies are built off our everyday experiences and interactions and even though the conflicts are often heightened, their truths hit home in a way that Indiana Jones can’t.
These films can be dangerous if we don’t correctly interpret their meanings. It’s easy for anyone to look at a romantic comedy and assume it sells cheap and easy sex, supports divorce and creates an ideal situation that guys and girls can never achieve. That unobtainable, perfect relationship makes it easy to write these movies off. However, I’d argue that that longing is actually an incredibly beautiful thing if approached properly.
Romantic comedies explore 3 kinds of relationships: the protagonists relationship with his/her parents and family, the unbreakable bond of a best friend and, of course, a romantic one. Each are different and independently beautiful. As I’ve said before, as humans, we’ve been given a relational core. That longing that people often dismiss as irrational is actually indicative of something much deeper and incredibly gorgeous. Of course we’re not going to find something “perfect” within our earthly grasp; there’s only one place to find that. But it also doesn’t mean we simply throw it away.
Watching romantic comedies reminds me of brokenness. It shows me how messy relationships can be no matter who it’s with and even families and friends will have fallout. But I’m glad these movies always end happy. That’s how all our relationships can end. When we dismiss that longing, we often stop fighting for something we desperately need. Even though our earthly relationships are fallen, it doesn’t make them any less of a gift. I’ve got the most wonderful parents and siblings. My best friend for some reason still puts up with me from a thousand miles away and, though I’m not married or dating, I’m eager to uncover the beauty of that relationship. We’re all fallen people in a messed up world and romantic comedies will continue to depict our brokenness and sin. The perfect longing that these films create can become a reality but not on this earth. That doesn’t mean we can’t strive every day to ameliorate all those wonderful relationships we are blessed with. They’re gifts. Let’s treat them as such and remember that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights“