Thursday, July 23, 2009

Romantic Tragedies

So, while working on yesterday's piece about romantic comedies, I was reminded of movies with heavy elements of romance that are not comedies. I'm calling these "romantic dramas", but I'm using the word "drama" very loosely here. Some of these movies are very funny, but they aren't rom-com's so I've included them because of a particularly dramatic or realistic way that they deal with relationships.

Also, be warned that while yesterday's piece is about romantic comedies for guys, today's is more about my personal tastes, which I realize aren't suited to everyone.

The Crow - don't tell anyone, but this darkly gothic tale is centered on a very gripping love story, and that center is what keeps this movie together when all (and I mean all) of its sequels have fallen apart.

Braveheart - I love this movie, in spite of it's relentless disregard for history, like leaving the bridge out of The Battle of Sterling Bridge, or having Wallace impregnate the queen (they weren't married until 6 years after Wallace died), to say nothing of the fact that kilts didn't come into fashion until the 16th century. All that aside, it's a very powerful film.

Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves - it's like diet Braveheart, really, but I still like it. And you can do a lot worse casting than Mary Elizabeth Masterantonio.

Chasing Amy - a very good-but-not-great comedy with some fabulously dramatic bits in Act III. Despite it's alternative setting, it tells a bittersweet story that every guy knows, about how fear and envy can drive us away from the ones we love, making us a little sadder, a little stronger in the end.

Juno - a very funny movie about a pregnant girl who is trying to understand love, but not a clear cut rom-com.

The Secret Lives of Dentists - one of those movies that I love but no one else seems to like very much. It's about a couple having marital problems and a man's attempt to keep his wife from leaving him while she's having an affair. Based on a novella called The Age of Grief, it might have been more palatable had it kept the title.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith - more of an action-flick than a drama, but the guiding mantra is this: action is easy, marriage is hard.

The Incredibles - again, not really a romance and not really a drama, but I love the realism of the relationship between Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl. The scene that really encapsulates it for me was when they were on their way to confront the bad guy and fighting about directions en route.

American Beauty - a truly dramatic, truly strange movie that's about many different flavors of love and the different ways those loves fail.

Fight Club - not really a great fit, I know, more comedy than drama, but keep in mind that Chuck Palahniuk (who wrote the book) is a homosexual and look at the relationship between Jack and Tyler and Marla as a bizarre love triangle and you'll kind of see what I'm getting at here.

Honorable mention: The Princess Bride - more fairy tale than comedy and more comedy than drama, and while it doesn't have a particularly realistic take on love, I'll include it anyway because it is arguably the best movie ever made.

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