What is it about Romance movies and novels that make us swoon? Is it the alluring, dark stranger? The clandestine meetings and glances when it is forbidden? The Handsome prince we want to whisk us off our feet? The beautiful woman who is so desperate for love she would move half way across the world for her desire? Is it the unrequited aching that we all relate to? Or is it just that we want to be taken back to some of these wonderful emotions we have had and can relate to? Probably a little bit of everything.
I have never been one to be all swoony. It seemed sort of silly to think there was a Prince Charming out there, though I was hopeful. Then when I was in high school, Sixteen Candles and the rest of the films like it showed me I was not the only one who thought I was too awkward, nerdy, silly and lovesick. For that, I would like to thank John Hughes, RIP, for reaching in and understanding some of us teenagers. As I got older, the Gothic soul in me preferred the "You will pine away and never win" vibe for a bit, but that got tired and I started to enjoy the troubled stories like "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest" instead. No romance for me, I had real intense emotions to deal with, no sulking over a missed kiss.
Then I saw "A Room with A View".
It fed my Anglophilia and I wanted to be Lucy Honeychurch with my own George Emerson. Hence this began my love for Romance Films and stories.
Joy, pain, sorrow, anguish, laughter, hate, tears and passion, are all-encompassing in a richly told romance. We all feel Heathcliff's desire for Cathy and hate and pity him when he turns into a monster. I'm sure most of us probably swooned when Rhett tells Scarlett "You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how." Then there is"An Affair to Remember" which needs no explanation, just a tissue. When Emma Thompson as Elinor Dashwood is told by Edward Ferrars that he is not married and she breaks down, we all cry in relief with her.
Perhaps it is these reactions we know we will have when the pivotal moment happens that keeps us coming back for more. The kiss, the struggle and tension, the reveal and the inevitable happy ever after that follows making it worth our while to sit and watch "The Notebook" or "From Here to Eternity" or "Bridget Jones's Diary" or "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall". No matter how happy we are in our relationships, we enjoy the tear jerker now and then. Rooting for love to conquer all...Now THAT is entertainment.