The amount of romantic movies and the amount of people who watch them is overwhelming. Despite the fact that the quality of these movies is often quite low, as they depict meaningless, frequently unrealistic feelings and do not educate or motivate people, the demand for them is high.
For many people, especially women, as the Austrian research shows, romantic comedies, dramas, and sitcoms are the best relaxation method at the end of the working day or on the holidays. Women find themselves or very often would like to fancy, as if they were the characters from the movie and it makes them feel comfortable and safe that they are not alone or that even such beautiful and famous actresses experience the same heart-breaking problems as they do (Gorgan, n.d.).
However, the idealized love scenes in romantic comedies can create unrealistic expectations and become the cause of serious disappointment in reality.
The main problem is that women often start expecting their own partners to behave like the main actors of the favorite films. They want more flowers and gifts without any reason, forgetting sometimes that not each man can allow himself to spend a lot of money on them, as the handsome leader in the classy movie. Moreover, women begin feeling irritated or even upset with their men because they do not guess their most hidden longings as mind-readers from the sitcoms. Some eager lovers of the romantic movies even manage to get angry when the love of their life proposes them his hand and heart, forgetting by the anxiety to knee before their capricious lady.
Moreover, the next research, conducted by the specialists at Edinburgh University of Heriot-Watt, shows that romantic sitcoms make people expect such romance, which cannot be even achieved in real life, where people are preoccupied with daily problems. Most of the proponents of such dramas and comedies can frequently experience the strain in their own relationship. Such movies like “Wedding Planner”, “Maid in Manhattan”, or “You’ve Got Mail” make people build unrealistic dreams, which rarely come true. Moreover, they influence negatively the ability of the couple to communicate about their needs and demands in the right way (Gorgan, n.d.).
The fans of romantic movies should understand a very important thing that the enhanced romantic version, depicted in the Hollywood movies is made in such a way that the product will be sold successfully. Taking these movies for reality is as bad as trying to read a lot of different psychological books but never apply in practice what they advise you to do – no positive result with the happy ending can be observed.
Recently, another research led by Dr Holmes’ team has been conducted. 130 students volunteered to participate. They watched “Serendipity”, a romantic comedy released in 2001. At the same time, another group of students of the same size watched the drama of David Lynch. The outcomes were the following: those who watched comedy were more likely to believe in destiny and fate (Harrell, 2008). The same effect can be ascribed to the majority of the romantic movies with the similar plot – the ideas they transmit are usually very easily overtaken by people who watch them.
Such movies usually have the strongest effect on those couples, who are still on their first and euphoric stages of relationship (just a couple of years). They experience all-consuming and extremely passionate love, which usually fades away as fast as it develops. Besides, much older people and people, who are lonely, are also likely to believe all the conscious and subconscious messages that the movie can carry.
Another serious problem that the romantic movies develop is idealism. People look at the world around them as if through the pink glasses, without realizing that the thing they see is not exactly what is going on.
They see ideal men and women and then are disappointed when those people do not behave according to some fixed pattern in their heads taken from the movies. They start allowing them to buy everything they do not really need or could not even afford, only because the main character of the movie has done so. People are inclined to rely more on circumstances, other people, god, etc., therefore, rejecting the full responsibility which they should take upon themselves for their lives.
Moreover, we think that these movies depict such people as we are. However, we are oblivious that those actors always look a little bit better, behave differently, talk and walk differently. Even the criminals are a little bit better than the criminals in the real world. This is a romantic realism, which allows cinematographers to shoot beautiful selling movies which still manage to remind us of the fact that daily life can never become a life in the movie (Stromberg, 2010).
In addition, when looking at the duration of our long-term relationship, we will notice that this duration is much shorter than it was just 50 years ago: the divorce rates are shocking in some countries. In my opinion, romantic movies with their romantic realism did not play the last role in this problem (Stromberg, 2010).
In conclusion, I would like to add that if we want to experience and enjoy our relationships, which will not lead to a great disappointment, we should remember our real life values such as friendship, respect, mutual attraction, understanding and support, affection, but not tender and passionate love. And if we want to relax, we can always read a good educative book.