Wordless and Eternal: Love in Film

“Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” is what someone would say if they were never in love. That quote comes from the 1970 Romance, “Love Story.”

It’s hard growing up with messages like this. Surrounded by movies like “Titanic,” “Maid in Manhattan,” “Serendipity” and any Nicholas Sparks adaptation.

In movies like this, love is immediate, eternal and wordless. Love at first sight is impossible to avoid and, even if tragedy separates two lovers, they will be together forever.

This scenario has been played out on movie screens for generations and it’s a damaging notion.

Researchers at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland found that relationship problems discussed in their counseling center reflected misconceptions about relationships and love, thanks to Hollywood movies.

One misconception is that, if your love is true, you will know everything about each other and what’s wrong in your relationship without talking.

Nobody’s a mind a reader and communication is key in a relationship. Some stuff is hard to talk about, sex especially.

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In romantic movies, sex is something that begins (and ends) without consent or communication.

Sex can be fun and transcendent all at once, but it begins with trust and understanding, two things unachievable without talking.

Romance in movies is hyper realized, enhanced like the actors themselves. Little of what is on-screen is true. During the honeymoon phase of a relationship, it may feel like two lovers have, “crossed the oceans of time” to find each other, to quote Dracula.

But once that’s over, the real work begins and one comes to find out that that initial infatuation was only a foundation on which the real and toilsome love is built. It’s worth it, in the end, if you love that person.

It’s important to not get wrapped up in romantic movies, books and video games. The characters on-screen live in an idealized world with idealized people in idealized relationships and these ideals are important.

Real life is a struggle and getting away from that for 90 minutes or two hours at a time isn’t a bad thing, it provides an escape and catharsis. But at what cost?