Love

How do I write about love without coming across like a mystic-wannabe, or a hormone-addled teenager?  Maybe something like this…

The Romantic Comedy is one of my least favourite movie genres. More often than not, rom-coms ask complex questions about the nature of love and relationships, but present answers or solutions (sometimes even morals) that are much too simplistic. The main one being that “if we want it badly enough, we’ll have our ‘happily-ever-after’ ending.” They also tend to perpetuate that foulest of myths (outright lies?) that there is one special someone for each of us.

There are a few movies that don’t fit this mould. One of them is “Moonstruck.” And there is one exchange between main characters in that movie that goes against everything that we’ve told and taught about what love is, or should be. It comes close to the end of the film, an exchange between the two main characters. It goes a little like this:

LORETTA

A person can see where they’ve messed up in their lives. They can change the way they  do things. And they can even change their luck. So maybe my nature does draw me to you, but that don’t mean I have to go with it. I can take hold of myself and I can say yes to some things, and no to other things that are gonna ruin everything. I can do that. Otherwise, you know what? What good is this stupid life God gave us? I mean, for what? … Are you listening to me?!?

RONNY

Yeah. Everything seems like nothing to me now, against that I want you in my bed. [ skip ahead a bit] Loretta, I love you.  Not… not like they told you love is. And I didn’t know this either, but love don’t make things nice. It ruins everything. It breaks your heart. It makes things a mess. We… we aren’t here to make things perfect. The snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. Not us! We are here to ruin ourselves, and… and to break our hearts, and to love the wrong people. And die! I mean, the storybooks are bullshit! Now I want you to come upstairs with me and get in my bed!

———-

I love language like that. The words go against what we’ve been taught and shown, but they ring true. They may not be the TRUTH, but they carry it, like an overtone.

And here is the beauty of movies like Moonstruck (and Love Actually, for that matter): they use language that many could try to see as universal, but then present multiple perspectives on love (via secondary characters and story-lines) that show loving people is still more complex. Aside from analogies and metaphors, love cannot be put into words.

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2 Responses to Love

  1. Ben, I like your choice of Moonstruck because all of the characters in it show some different aspect of love and how “it can ruin you.” Maybe one of the things I liked most about it was how it (love I mean) was played out against the backdrop of the family relationships and tradition. Maybe romantic comedies are popular because they are simple, predictable and offer an escape from the complexities of love. We do need to be disabused of those notions though since they are a poor preparation for real, messy, complex relationships.

    • Ben Wiebe says:

      I love Moonstruck because I happened upon it by accident. Random channel flipping with the remote control. But once I started really watching it, I was amazed at the lessons it was imparting. I think it helped that a Canadian director was at the helm of the project. 🙂

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