Picture the scene: it’s a dreary weeknight evening, you’re tired from work, and you want to watch something that will pick you up. My guess is that some of you – perhaps more than would admit it – would pick a romantic comedy.
Over the years the romcom has been designated as “chick flick”, dismissed at awards ceremonies (the best picture Oscar primarily goes to drama films) and frequently panned by critics. Yet, critics are not the only ones buying cinema tickets or watching streaming services.
A 2013 article from the New York Times found that the romcom was one of the genres most likely to divide audience and critical opinion. Like many other things that are classified as “women’s things”, the romcom is often spoken of as a “guilty pleasure”.
Researchers such as Claire Mortimer, who writes about comedy and women, argue that the dismissal is not just down to the genre’s status as “women’s films” but also because romcoms are genre films. Such films are often seen as repetitive – they rely on a number of tropes to be wheeled out again and again and we come to expect certain styles, stories and characters. Some films become key examples of a genre, a kind of “best of”, and form a template which the others either imitate or diverge from.
That’s not to say that all romcoms are the same. But there’s a dominant form that we think of as being definitive, called the “neo-traditional romcom”. Tamar McDonald, a professor in film, argues that this is the main form of the genre now – one that “has no use for realism”.
This can be seen in characters running through airports, the absurd lack of communication between love interests and the convenient mishaps. Without these elements though, the resolution wouldn’t be as sweet.
The perfect romcom
So what are the ingredients for a perfect romcom? Looking at the lists of the best romcoms of all time – which the internet isn’t short of – we see similar tropes popping up repeatedly. One popular favourite, When Harry Met Sally (1989), features the “friends to lovers” storyline. This reoccurs in more recent films like Always Be My Maybe (2019).
Within a romcom, there typically has to be miscommunication – and lots of it. Although a relationship can blossom steadily, often unknown to the characters themselves, romcoms usually feature a pivotal moment where one character is not understood by the person they want.
This miscommunication is also underpinned by conflict. Leger Grindon, an expert in romantic comedies, breaks these kinds of conflict into three major fields: between parents and children, the two characters who are dating, or when someone has to choose between personal development and sacrifice.
We’ve seen examples of all of three over the years. Children defying their parents’ wishes to be with someone they love is a common theme in the queer love story, like Happiest Season (2020), but is also present in other films, like My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002).
Conflict between the needs of the love interests can be seen in What Women Want (2000). And the conflict between personal development and sacrifice has been a common theme of many recent Netflix romcoms such as Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between (2022) or The Holiday Calendar (2019). In Hallmark Christmas films (their own sub-genre of the romcom) like Just In Time for Christmas (2015), women often have to choose between their career and their relationship, a common recurrence for the Christmas sub-genre especially.
Romcoms can provide escapism, but at their heart the glue of the genre is finding connection through love and laughter. How realistic this is may be shifting, with more recent examples in film and television providing more cultural critique (see comedian Rose Matafeo’s brilliant Starstruck series, streaming on BBC Three for example).
The parameters for the characters of these stories are also changing. Once predominantly white and straight, the genre is opening up to a range of different stories. Recent examples like Red, White, and Royal Blue (2023) and Bros (2022) put gay male romance front and centre, while Rye Lane (2023) and Crazy Rich Asians (2018) foreground non-white protagonists.
Perhaps this is because – as Mortimer argues – the genre is concerned with “perennial themes” of love and identity. In a moment where definitions and understandings of identity are shifting, the romcom provides an ideal place to think through these issues in a comforting way. Or perhaps we just need the optimism we associate with the genre at a time of war and economic crisis.
Although there may be classics and new challengers emerging for the title of the best, the perfect romcom is one that shows that, despite all the challenges life may throw at us, there is sometimes a happy ending.
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Author: Christina Wilkins – Lecturer in Film and Creative Writing, University of Birmingham
Ananya Panday, Siddhant Chaturvedi surprise fans at NH7 Weekender
Pune (Maharashtra) [India], December 4 (ANI): Actors Ananya Panday, Siddhant Chaturvedi and Adarsh Gourav recently attended the NH7 Weekender 2023 music festival in Pune, where they performed their song ‘Do Jo Hota Hai’ from their upcoming film ‘Kho Gaye Hum Kahan’ live in front of audiences.
Pictures and videos from the gala have been doing the rounds on the internet. Take a lookAn ode to the carefree essence of youth, ‘Hone Do Jo Hota Hai’, in its melodic concoction brews a cup of warm feelings for the listeners. OAFF and Savera’s music is blended perfectly with Lothika’s vocals and compliments Savera’s breezy voice. The lyrics, which weave the music together, have been penned to action by veteran Javed Akhtar.
Speaking of ‘Kho Gaye Hum Kahan’, ‘Kho Gaye Hum Kahan’ is a ‘coming-of-digital-age’ story about three friends in their mid-20s navigating life in the world of social media.
Set in Mumbai, this refreshing narrative of three friends is brought to life by the debutant director Arjun Varain Singh and the creative forces, known for exploring different facets of friendship, Excel Entertainment’s Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar in collaboration with Tiger Baby’s Reema Kagti and Zoya Akhtar.
‘Kho Gaye Hum Kahan’ chronicles the lives of Imaad (Siddhant Chaturvedi), Ahana (Ananya Panday) and Neil (Adarsh Gourav), through the very relatable journey of three best friends together navigating aspirations, relationships and emotions.
Bringing their infectious energy from reel to real, the young and dynamic cast helped turn a wall on the bustling street in Mumbai into a vibrant mural, capturing their friendship and inviting the crowds to join their journey as they kicked off the promotions for the film.
‘Kho Gaye Hum Kahan’ is set to arrive on December 26 on Netflix. (ANI)
Emily Blunt shares how ‘The Office’ fans react when they spot her with John Krasinski
Washington [US], December 4 (ANI): The popular sitcom ‘The Office’ may have ended more than a decade ago but that doesn’t mean fans of the NBC comedy are over the relationship between Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer).
On the latest episode of Variety’s Awards Circuit podcast, Krasinski’s wife, Emily Blunt, admitted fans aren’t always happy to see her out with her 13-year-old husband and they yell at her, reported People.
‘The Office’ is an American sitcom television series that follows the daily lives of office workers at the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company’s Scranton, Pennsylvania, branch. It ran on NBC for nine seasons, from March 24, 2005, until May 16, 2013.
‘The Office’s original cast included Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, and BJ Novak; however, the ensemble cast changed frequently throughout the series’ existence. Outside of the core cast, notable actors include Ed Helms, Rashida Jones, Amy Ryan, Mindy Kaling, Craig Robinson, James Spader, Ellie Kemper, and Catherine Tate.
“Do you know how many people still yell out, ‘I wish you were with Pam!’ like when I’m walking next to him?” Blunt, 40, shared. “‘Where’s Pam?’ I’m like, ‘She’s not here!'”When asked if she had met Fischer, she replied, “She’s the best. She’s one of our dearest friends. We love Jenna.”Fischer, 49, acknowledged in 2020 that she finds it difficult to explain to fans that she and Krasinski, 44, are only former on-screen lovers on ‘An Oral History of The Office’.
“People don’t know how John and I are not a couple in real life,” Fischer told host Brian Baumgartner, who played Kevin Malone on the series at the time. “They don’t understand it.”During the nine seasons of ‘The Office,’ Jim and Pam flirted, dated, broke up, reconciled, married, had two children, and eventually relocated from Scranton to Austin, Texas.
“I don’t know how to explain it, because it’s a little bit like telling kids there’s no Santa,” she added.
Fischer explained that she feels like she has to “justify” why she and Krasinski aren’t “actually in love.” Krasinski has been married to Blunt since 2010, while Fischer tied the knot to writer and director Lee Kirk the same year. She was previously married to James Gunn from 2000 to 2008.
On ‘Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen’, the actress previously acknowledged her on-screen connection with Krasinski.
“Oh, John and I have real chemistry,” she shared. “There’s like a real part of me that is Pam and a real part of him that’s Jim, and those parts of us were genuinely in love with one another.”However, Krasinski clarified that his former costar’s words were misconstrued. “I think that was wildly misquoted or taken out of context,” Krasinski told The Daily Beast at the time.
“I’m sure she was trying to say something nice about how genuine the acting relationship was–of bringing a relationship that became that popular onscreen – and I think we both feel it’s such an honour to be a part of that relationship,” reported People. (ANI)
Amy Jackson on being part of Indian cinema
Jeddah [Saudi Arabia], December 4 (ANI): Despite hailing from England, Amy Jackson is known for her work in Indian cinema. This week, the British actress and model dropped by the Red Sea Film Festival studio to talk about how that happened and what’s next for her following a five-year hiatus, reported Deadline.
The ‘2.0’, ‘Singh Is Bliing’, and ‘Thanga Magan’ actor, who also played Saturn Girl in the CBS hit ‘Supergirl’, have appeared in films in Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, and Kannada.
According to Deadline, describing her journey, Jackson talked about starting out in Indian cinema at age 16. “When you’re that young, you embrace it. “I fully embraced that world; it was amazing,” said Jackson.
The actress, who was in attendance at the Red Sea Film Festival with her actor partner Ed Westwick, hailed her position in ‘Supergirl’ as “possibly a favourite role” and stated that she would be glad to don a cape or head to outer space for future roles.
“I am alien obsessed. I am totally into space and parallel universes…I would love to do more of that for sure,” she said.
As for the films in post, she will play a Europol agent in Reliance’s sports action film ‘Crakk – Jeetegaa Toh Jiyegaa!’, which stars Vidyut Jammwal and Arjun Rampal in the story that charts the journey of a man from the slums of Mumbai to the world of underground extreme sports.
She’s also in Mission Chapter I, in which she stars with Arjun Vijay. This time, the actress plays a British guard at London’s Wandsworth prison.
“There is a lot of action and a big escape attempt,” promises Jackson. Both are due for release next year, reported Deadline. (ANI)