[This article contains spoilers]
Baby Driver reminds me of two other ones: American Ultra (which is not as good) and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (which is a better movie). It’s is the attitude of these films, the quick editing and the surprising focus on a rather nice romance. Another, better known film, that did this ‘action romance’ better is Deadpool.
I’m not saying that if you liked Deadpool you’ll all of a sudden like all these other films (especially given that American Ultra being the weakest example). But it seems to be a recent trend, come for the bloody fights, stay for the touching story.
I find it strange that the best romance films nowadays aren’t even trying to be romantic films, but action ones. I think it’s a little sad that the romance genre is so sparse and unoriginal in modern times. I’ve brought it up before, but The Apartment has be one of my favourite romance films I’ve ever seen, and funnily enough, that one also has a male protagonist.
Whatever happened to the iconic romantic film? Where are they? There have been some decent ones, like About Time (another male lead…I wonder why?)
What about those really dumb and sappy films that stared Meg Ryan? The movies where it was obvious where it was going? Aiming squarely at that middle age woman demographic? I miss those films. I miss the predictable clichés that you’d see from a mile away. The fact that they love each other so damned much that it hurts to be apart. That soul crushing romance. I love that stuff, yet I can’t think of any true great examples of a pure romance film experience in the last few decades.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Deadpool, I think it’s a wonderful romance and a great action film, but I want more. I want to watch a woman crying like Bridget Jones’s Diary, or see a sweet quirky family dramedy like My Big Fat Greek Wedding. But those were over a decade ago.
Some notable mentions should be Silver Linings Playbook. A decent film, but I wouldn’t call it remarkable. It’s more about mental health than romance, and even then, I think it plays down those more serious aspects for comedy (like the father basically gambling everything away. ‘It’s okay because they won the bet’, seems to be the films logic behind it. Real life doesn’t work that way).
Love & Other Drugs is a good film, but it’s narrative is fractured. It moves from a love story to living with a partner with Parkinson’s disease rather fast, but it does ‘go there’ which I appreciate. The Proposal is also pretty funny and silly, but not for everyone. I enjoyed it, but it’s hardly a classic.
I haven’t seen The Fault in our Stars or The Perks of Being a Wallflower, but I understand that they’re meant to be good ‘young adult’ romance flicks.
The only great film aiming for this audience that I saw was Your Name, a wonderful film. Yes it’s animated, an action film filled with a time travel adventure. However it’s a love story at it’s core, which is nice.
I guess I wrote this to say, I’m still waiting for a film that’ll knock my socks off. That’ll come out and be sappy, silly and funny. That will be a return of a real romantic film, for an adult. I love Deadpool, but it’s just not that same.
Romance films of the 21st Century, where are you? It’s been too long and you’re sorely missed.