The Dark Side of Romantic Films

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POV: Let’s Redefine Romance


Romantic films have long been a staple in the world of cinema, offering audiences a captivating escape into the realm of love and passion. However, beneath their enchanting facades lie problematic narratives that can inadvertently shape unrealistic expectations and unhealthy behaviors in real-life relationships. In this article, we will explore the various ways in which romantic films of 2020 have had the potential to corrupt perceptions of love and relationships and discuss the need for a more balanced and realistic portrayal of romantic partnerships.


1. Unrealistic Notions of Telepathic Understanding:


One of the most pervasive myths perpetuated by romantic films is the idea that true love transcends the need for verbal communication. Couples in these movies seem to possess an uncanny ability to understand each other’s thoughts and feelings without the need for explicit conversation. This misleading notion sets a dangerous precedent for real-life relationships, where effective communication is the cornerstone of understanding and connection.

For instance, in the film, After We Collided, the protagonists, Tessa and Hardin, often rely on unspoken cues and assumptions, creating a sense of pseudo-telepathy. This unrealistic portrayal of emotional connection can lead individuals to believe that their partners should automatically understand them, without the necessity of open and honest dialogue.


2. Normalizing Stalking and Invasions of Privacy:


Many romantic films have a troubling tendency to romanticize behaviors that in reality would be considered invasive, if not downright creepy. From elaborate, unsolicited gestures to persistent pursuit, these actions are portrayed as endearing and romantic, when in truth they can border on stalking and harassment.

In 365 Days, the male lead, Massimo, kidnaps the female protagonist, Laura, with the misguided belief that she will eventually fall in love with him. This disturbing premise not only perpetuates harmful stereotypes but also creates an environment where women may feel unsafe or threatened by such behaviors.


3. Spotlight on Narcissism and Possessiveness:


Male protagonists, in particular, are often depicted as possessive and controlling, mistaking these behaviors for expressions of love and devotion. This distortion of healthy relationship dynamics can have detrimental effects on how individuals perceive boundaries and personal autonomy.

In After We Collided, Hardin exhibits possessive traits that border on emotional manipulation, leading Tessa to believe that his jealousy is a sign of his deep affection. This portrayal can perpetuate the dangerous notion that possessiveness equates to genuine love when in reality, it is a red flag for unhealthy relationship dynamics.


4. Dependency: A Distorted View of Partnership:


Many romantic films tend to depict couples as being wholly dependent on one another for their happiness and fulfillment. While interdependence and mutual support are essential components of a healthy partnership, an excessive reliance on one’s partner for validation and emotional well-being can be detrimental to individual growth and self-esteem.

In The High Note, the central couple’s relationship is portrayed as the primary source of their respective identities and happiness. This narrative diminishes the importance of personal aspirations and self-discovery outside of the romantic relationship, potentially encouraging viewers to prioritize their partners over their own individual growth.


Moving Forward: A Call for Balanced Narratives:


It is crucial that we recognize the impact of romantic films on our perceptions of love and relationships. Instead of perpetuating harmful stereotypes and unrealistic expectations, the film industry should strive to portray partnerships that emphasize healthy communication, respect for boundaries, and mutual growth.

We need more movies that showcase couples learning and growing together, rather than relying on toxic behaviors or unrealistic ideals. By promoting balanced narratives, we can reshape societal perceptions of love and encourage individuals to seek relationships built on genuine understanding, respect, and empowerment. It is time for the film industry to take a step towards redefining romance for a healthier, more authentic portrayal of love.


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