(This was supposed to come out in my column for Goldstar. For all who prefer to celebrate Valentine’s one day late.)
Many of us grew up in the belief that “life imitates art”. With the way things are going nowadays, however, it is art that somehow imitates life. Art has certain elements that contribute to how people perceive life. According to Oscar Wilde, “the self-conscious aim of Life is to find expression, and that Art offers it certain beautiful forms through which it may realize that energy.” And this is certainly true when we talk about movies. Specifically movies that dwell on relationships and the complex concept of love.
To illustrate my point, here are examples of some movies perfectly suited for Valentine’s because people going through similar situations can relate to their stories. Somehow, they see themselves in the characters. Some even believe that these movies all talk about them.
The Bridges of Madison County (Meryl Streep & Clint Eastwood)
This 1995 romantic drama was originally a book by Robert James Waller. It tells of the love story of Francesca Johnson (a war bride) and photographer Robert Kincaid. Their time together was a brief four days, but it changed a lot of things in each other’s lives. They planned to elope, but Francesca changes her mind at the last minute.
The story is told through a letter Francesca left for her children, Michael and Carolyn, who are greatly affected by their mother’s story.
This quiet movie moved a lot of people because it talked about some things that can happen, or may be happening, to their lives. The sadness that was evident in Francesca’s routine life. The emptiness she felt when her husband and kids were away. The excitement that a beautiful stranger like Kincaid offered. The fleeting moments of happiness that seemed to last forever.
Love Story (Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’ Neal)
This may be a 1970 movie, but it has every ingredient that makes today’s romcoms (romantic comedies) and love stories a box office success.
Love Story is about a music student and a wealthy law student who develops feelings for each other and carry on a relationship despite the differences in their backgrounds. They get married, but the guy’s family disowns him. This doesn’t really matter to them, though; as they knew they always had each other. Ever heard of the line “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”? That’s the most famous line from this movie.
Love Story is the typical boy-meets-girl-and-then-they-fall-in-love-despite-family objections movie. A lot of people, especially die hard romantic Filipinos, see themselves in the story. Even our teleseryes and movies love the you-and-me-against-the-world theme so much!
This is a classic love story that anyone should experience at least once in their life.
Sleepless in Seattle (Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks)
This blockbuster came out in 1993. I believe that anyone who cares to watch romantic films is familiar with the story of the Chicago widower who moves to Seattle and a Baltimore-based journalist. Not knowing to whom or where to pour out his grief over his wife’s death, the widower calls in to a nationally broadcast radio show and he lets out his grief and tells the whole United States how much he yearns for his wife. The journalist falls in love with him after hearing his story.
People who believe in fate and destiny can easily identify with this movie. Some may even believe that this movie was made for them, to make them realize that someone out there is destined for them – no matter how far they are from each other.
The Notebook (Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling)
This is another poor boy-meets-rich girl type of romantic movie. Their first meeting is unexpected, but they fall in love just the same. Then they are forced to separate because of the differences in their social status. Fast forward to many years later and they meet again, trying to recapture their love and turn it into a lasting relationship.
Again, those who are embroiled in a similar poor boy-rich girl (or vice versa) situation will see themselves in the characters of Gosling and McAdams. The world is full of hopeless romantics!
My Best Friend’s Wedding (Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, Cameron Diaz, Rupert Everett)
One of Julia Roberts’ most successful movies (commercially and critically), My Best Friend’s Wedding is global box office hit that tells of the story of two friends Julianne and Michael (Roberts and Mulroney) and their promise to marry each other if neither of them is married at 28. Just weeks before Julianne’s birthday, though, Michael calls to tell her he’s getting married. This is when Julianne realizes she is in love with her best friend as she tries to plot out ways to stop – more like sabotage – the wedding.
I don’t know anyone – a friend or relative – who has experienced the same situation as Julianne’s, but I’m pretty sure a lot of moviegoers can relate with the falling-in-love-with-the-best friend stuff.
This is a fun movie that takes a look at romance on a different angle.
There are many other romantic movies that signify how art imitates life. We get them every year – from both local and international producers. But no matter how clichéd these movies are, we will always find ourselves lining up to watch them. We will always have tissues and handkerchiefs ready in case we find ourselves crying shamelessly.
It’s the day after Valentine’s. It’s not yet too late. Go and watch some romantic movie with your loved one!
[Runners-up: Four Weddings and A Funeral (Hugh Grant & Andie McDowell), Safe Haven (Josh Duhamel & Julianne Hough), and Love Actually (featuring an all-star cast)]
Please don’t forget to join our campaign on awareness against violence on women and girls. Watch The Vagina Monologues at Rodelsa Hall tonight at 7. Donation tickets will be available at the venue. See you!