5 Lousy Lessons in Love We Learn From Movies


Film is a great medium for spreading ideas. Few other art forms are as universally accessible as what plays out for you on the screen. In some cases this power is used for good and sometimes it’s used for evil. And then sometimes it’s just used to make money by spoon feeding audiences mindless drivel. Most of the time mindless escapism doesn’t have much of an impact on your day to day life or real world expectations. They’re just movies after all. No one expects the stranger who stops them on the street to tell them they’ve been chosen to fight a legion of evil, demon possessed, alien, zombie, robots to save humankind from enslavement/total destruction just because some similar situation played out in %40 of all movies they’ve ever seen. We know that man is just looking for a light, or the time, or to mug you depending on the kind of neighbourhood you live in.

Give me your wallet if you want to live.
Give me your wallet if you want to live.

The exception to this rule for many is love. Chick flicks and romantic comedies may not be any more realistic than the next sci-fi film but that doesn’t stop people from falling hook line and sinker for all that mushy fluff. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying mushy fluff as long as you recognize it for what it is: complete bullshit. The problem is that for nearly all of us movie romance is our first exposure to the complexity of feelings, relationships, and sharing genitals. Whether we actively notice it or not it has a huge impact on how we view love and expect our relationships to be. Here are 5 lousy lessons in love you learned from movies.

5. It’s All About Passion

Not to downplay passion or anything, I’m sure it’s great, there are things movies don’t take into account when it comes to two people’s qualifications as soul mates. Things like stability, compatibility, and potential for a healthy relationship. Think about the great movie lovers, Jack and Rose, Baby and Johnny, Allie and Noah. Sure they all have unbridled passion going for them but can you really sustain a relationship on passion alone?

No, but you probably could on Swayze's shoulders.
No, but you probably could on Swayze’s shoulders.

Sometimes despite all their chemistry two people are just too different to work out and that’s not something to be ignored. You want different things, you have clashing ideologies, and you live very different lifestyles but who cares when the sex is this good? Even more importantly passion can be explosive and not just in the bedroom. As much as you love anyone sometimes they will piss you off and if you have a whirlwind kind of love that’s also going to translate to a whirlwind hate. Jealousy and rage are also things fuelled by passion.

Nothing says "I love you" quite like verbal abuse.
Nothing says “I love you” quite like verbal abuse.

Everyone has known that one couple that loves each other so deeply that they plainly ignore how turbulent their relationship is. They’re toxic together. They fight all the time get each other rilled up over nothing but for some reason they refuse to just call it quits no matter how many times they break up they always get back together. Passion isn’t always a bad thing but you need something to balance it out.

In many movies like The Notebook one party even gives up the healthy and stable relationship they’re already in for passion. Allie leaves her stand up, successful, handsome, fiance who treats her well for her first love. A guy who’s become a grizzly bearded hermit who just hammers his life away, and treats the woman he’s currently seeing with little more than indifference. When you look at it on paper some might say she fucked up. This leads us to our next point…

4. Settling is a Bad Thing

Maybe I wouldn’t say Allie in The Notebook would have been settling for James Marsden the guy is clearly a catch.

I'd argue out off all the X-Men he'd make the best boyfriend.
He’d be the best boyfriend of all the X-Men

I also don’t mean to say you should always settle for whatever person will have you. You should definitely have standards. What I mean to say is that these days people expect too damn much of their romantic partners. Everyone wants the perfect mate but people aren’t perfect. You’ll never meet someone who checks all your criteria of everything you’ve every wanted in a man/woman. If by some chance you do find this person you better expect to find one big flaw in their character, like being a cyborg with a taste for human blood or thinking anything Adam Sandler has put out in the last decade is funny.

Everyone has deal breakers sure, for example mine are having no sense of humour, a history of torturing animals, or spoiling tv shows for fun. As reasonable as that all is I also have a friend who has a strict no bum-chins rule. As absurd as that sounds I am 100% serious. We were watching Mean Girls and she couldn’t even concede to Aaron Samuels being a stone fox because of his cleft chin.

Sexy smirk, Swimmers body, butt on face. 2/10 Would Not Bang.

You can’t order romantic partners out of a catalog so until that day you better be willing to compromise on the way they wear their hair and to what degree they enjoy video games unless you’re cool being alone forever.

3. The Opinions of Your Family and Friends Don’t Matter

There is nothing movie goers like better from their love stories than leaving the theatre believing that love concurs all. Love conquers social class, wars, and the Great Evil that threatens to burn up the earth every 5,000 years despite everything your parents may have to say about your new beau. Love conquers all bitch.

I was six and even I rolled my eyes at that ending.
I was six and even I rolled my eyes at that ending.

In movies it’s not unusual for one or both lovers friends or family to try and get in the way of the budding relationship. You’re best friend just doesn’t understand what you two have. They’re being judgemental. You’re parents think they’re  too old for you or too irresponsible but age is nothing but a number they just don’t see the depth and sensitivity you see in all those hours spent earning achievements on COD.

Every successful campaign brings us closer together.
Every successful campaign brings us closer together.

In some movies the couples friends and families have perfectly valid reasons for why the couple shouldn’t be together but who cares? It’s True Love. For example in Twilight almost everyone warns Bella against being involved with Edward and it’s hard to say they’re wrong considering he’s a blood sucking 90 something year old who can barely contain himself from eating her and that’s before you take into account his demand to control her life.

She needs me! I'm the only one who understands how incompetent she is at running her own life!
She needs me! I’m the only one who understands how incompetent she is at running her own life!

Not letting someone else’s opinion influence your own about other people can be a good thing. Just because your dad doesn’t like your new boyfriend that doesn’t mean he’s a bad guy. It could just mean dad doesn’t like the idea of anybody giving it to his little girl. If one of your friends doesn’t like your new girlfriend it might be because she’s cutting into your bro chill time and they need to adjust.

However, if you have multiple or all people telling you that they don’t like your main squeeze then maybe you need to take some time to reflect on why that may be. Is it because they treat you poorly? Is it because they have bigoted political views? Is it because they lack basic hygiene? Maybe they just have a shitty attitude and needed to be slapped more as a kid. Are you really going to pick the person who charmed you out of your pants over the people who’ve had your back for years?

Let me put it this way: If one person tells you there’s a giant serpentine monster attacking the city your first response is gonna, be “No there isn’t. You’re full of shit buddy”, and you’d be right to say so and promptly continue on with your day without a worry. If a second person tells you a reptilian fiend has levelled all of downtown and is demanding the liberation of all chickens you still wouldn’t be wrong to believe that maybe this is an elaborate ruse or that person number one found a gullible moron in person number two. You tell them “Yeah, fucking, right. What do you think, I’m an idiot?” and once again continue on with your scrap booking or whatever it is people do for fun. If you later turn on the news and the anchor is reporting a story about a rampaging Basilisk that’s taken over control of the city and proclaimed itself your scaly overlord and that every Thursday from here on out is wacky hat day than how much longer can you deny it?

Wizards are notoriously forgetful when it comes to closing chamber doors.
Wizards are notoriously forgetful when it comes to closing chamber doors.

As crazy as it might seem if all your friends and family have something bad to say about your main squeeze then they might not be such a great person for you to be with.

(Also, shout out to anyone who got the basilisk/chicken thing without needing to ask google. You’re amazing is what you are.)

2. You Should Be Willing To Sacrifice Everything For Love and Vice Versa

Self sacrifice is the ultimate test of true love is it not? If you love someone then you’re willing to put their needs before your own. That’s why I don’t eat meat. I love animals and I’m willing to sacrifice enjoying a delicious steak for them and for me this is entirely reasonable. Sacrificing small things for your significant other is perfectly fine and even a considerate thing to do.

If you smoke and they can’t stand it so you smoke outside or maybe even decide to quit than that’s the good kind of sacrifice. There’s a Star Wars Marathon at your friend’s place this weekend that you’ve been looking forward too but you partner also has an important work function they want you to come with them to is also an acceptable sacrifice.

But only just barely.

In movies however there seems to be this ideology that you should be willing to give up everything and anything for your new relationship to work out no matter how much that’s asking of you.

For men they’re usually asked to give up their lifestyle. This is usually because the male protagonists of romantic comedies these days are all portrayed as loveable slackers who need a woman to springboard them into adulthood which is a whole other issue in and of itself. If you feel you need to get your shit together gentlemen you do not need the love of a woman to do so.

You're a handsome independent man. You don't need a woman.
You don’t need a (wo)man to make it happen.  You don’t need a (wo)man to make you feel good. — Yes, those are Pussycat Doll Lyrics.

Just think of any Judd Apatow movie you’ve ever seen. In the romantic comedy world it doesn’t matter how happy Seth Rogan is in his life, once he meets a woman he needs to change himself. There’s nothing wrong with a new relationship being the catalyst for wanting to better yourself or up your ambitions but in Hollywood it often amounts to giving up on (albeit often ridiculous) dreams or your inner-child to do boring grown up things. Do you need a real job and to learn responsibility? Yes. That doesn’t mean you have to give up your weird hobbies or quirks to appear more acceptable in your partner’s world.

On the flip side women in romantic comedies get exactly the opposite. A career driven female protagonist who learns that she needs to stop focusing on all that making a name for herself stuff and be content starting a life as a wife and mother lest she die alone. Whether she’s starting out and trying to build her career or at the top of a major company she needs to learn having a boyfriend is way more important than being self reliant and powerful because apparently you can’t be in a position of power without becoming a total dragon lady.

The power to breath fire comes with the promotion.
The power to breath fire comes with the promotion.

The key is balance and compromise. No one who loves you should ask you to give up something important to you.

1. Never Give Up

In love things sometimes get rocky, but you have to hang in there. If you loose the love of your life you have to do everything in your power and some things that aren’t in order to win them back. Surely your commitment to your relationship and perseverance will convince your ex that you’re meant to be together?

What a load a hepatitis ridden crap. Quitters never prosper but neither do the people that spend their lives flogging a dead horse.

This will make them realize what a catch I am for sure!

Sometimes you have to know when to let go and walk away from something, especially a relationship. Just like everyone can’t have the build of Rambo not every couple can work out it’s statistically improbable. Just look at divorce rates.

If someone breaks up with you and you try to sit them down and convince them to try and work it out that’s one thing but if you follow them around, repeatedly partake in grand gestures, and sabotage their new relationships than you’re officially in stalker territory. Sometimes when a relationship is over it’s just that: over. Same goes for trying to woo a crush who is out of your league, already attached, or just flat out not interested.

"No" means "Later" right?
My love for you grows stronger with every blatant rejection.

You can’t convince someone to love you back. I’d say the magic number for rejections is 3 before you need to accept it and move the fuck on.

2 thoughts on “5 Lousy Lessons in Love We Learn From Movies

  1. elmerfgantry June 6, 2014 / 9:38 pm

    But the Fifth Element is such a great movie!!!!!! 😉


    • ellemorgan June 8, 2014 / 12:26 am

      Don’t got me wrong, I love it, but Bruce Willis’s love restoring her hope for humanity? A little unrealistic.


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