My rating: 7
IMDB rating: 5.1
IMDB link: The Romantics
A very dear friend recommended this movie to me and I absolutely love her for it. Exactly as the case was with the brilliant film, Third Person, this film was definitely not a favourite among the critics. And this got me thinking, what is it about a certain movie at a certain time that just resonates to you more than it does to someone else?
The first thing I looked at was, using metacritic.com (because it showed 20 different reviews of the movie), the demographic of the critics. From the 20 reviewers, only four are female, that is 20% for a film dealing with the friendship between two woman and their subsequent relationships.
Am I being too much of a feminist about this? Perhaps, but given that this film is based on a novel, and starring some of Hollywood’s favourites it is quite interesting to see the negativity surrounding this film.
Next, I think it is important for me to tell you why I liked this film and why I feel some resonance towards it:
There is a wild, untamed, raw proneness to the emotional that is always awake within the creative mind. It feeds of instability, unpredictability and in some cases sorrow and hopelessness. When mixing two of these minds an explosive, once-in-a-lifetime, passionate and dependant love is eased into existence and it will take a lifetime to eradicate it.
But what often happens is that the creative mind is afraid of its own strength, its own capacity to love and its own ability to be consumed by that which inspires him and he then rather reaches for the usual, the stable, the predictable to create a kind of life that he could bear but that would not consume him.
To me, this state is fully comprehensible. Being from the ‘creative’ industry, I see this as often as I have experienced it myself. Tom chooses Lila out of fear, fear for his own creative self. That does not mean he does not love her; he loves her stability, her ability to have complete control over her emotions and her homeyness.
Unfortunately, he will never be able to love her with the same passion that he loves Laura. Laura inspires him, challenges him and his love for her burns him alive. At one point he says how he would wake up terrified, not knowing how to please her more and more everyday. She also realises this predicament when she says that it is most probably their greatness that makes him sick.
What I like most about this movie, though, is its ending. It is an open end, with no real resolution other than Tom letting go of his emotions in the rain. Does this mean he chooses emotions i.e. Laura? Or is he merely letting go of that last sense of the self? The ambiguity is quite heartbreaking as the viewer now has to self-examine.
I think that loving a film, or any form of literature, is dependant on you, the viewer’s state of mind. Your willingness to receive whatever it is the movie wants to convey, plays another significant role on your enjoyment of the film. It is therefore extremely important to never, ever take a critics’ word for granted, but to make your own assessment.
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