Have you ever watched a film and experienced a minor déjà vu moment wondering where you’ve already heard that one line before? Or do you sometimes get tired of how within the first 15 minutes of a movie you can tell who’s going to end up with who and the predictable drama that will enfold between point A and point B? Here are seven romance cliches that (regardless of how entertaining they may be to watch in a guilty pleasure rom-com) we’re getting tired of seeing again and again:
1. Portraying finding “the one” as the solution to all your problems
Whether it’s a career woman or a boy with a troubled past, main characters often find healing through their love interest. Singleness is often viewed in media as a temporary state waiting to be “fixed” by the perfect someone rolling into your life. Overall, being in a relationship shouldn’t be so over-idolized because the drastic before and after featured in films isn’t always realistic and won’t actually solve all your life problems.
2. Romanticizing over-possessive behavior
Being super controlling in a relationship and getting overly aggressive when someone else talks to your significant other shouldn’t be so normalized, right? This can be expanded to generally “stalkerish” behavior found in many protagonists. For example, Edward Cullen literally watches Bella (who is about a century younger than him) sleep without her knowing. Honestly, this can be found in too many rom-com movies to list and it’s time that toxic relationships (and stalking) should stop being so normalized and viewed as romantic.
3. “You’re different than other girls.”
It seems that the dorkier and quirkier a girl is the more “unique” and appealing she appears to the male lead. Or how being more “tomboyish” makes the girl more interesting- the cool girl monologue in “Gone Girl” comments on this ideal. This line, either explicitly said or implied, in films perpetuates the notion that not being like “other girls” is a compliment. The trope of having a (often-times) clumsy female lead juxtaposed against a vapid and superficial clique of “girly” girls pits women against each another unnecessarily and generally results in more one-dimensional characters anyway.
4. Love at first sight
Two people who know almost nothing about one another sacrificing their entire careers and friendships to maintain their one-week relationship is a bit over-done. While meet-cutes can be admittedly adorable and it’s easy to get caught up in all the “love” in a film. However, when you pause and ponder over the substance of so many relationships in films, it can leave you questioning the depth of many on-screen couples.
5. Life not having meaning after losing “the one”
This cliché is perfectly exemplified by basically the entire “Twilight” series, especially “New Moon”. The characters literally call each other their only reasons for existence and would rather die than be alone without each other. This is a tad bit dramatic and, once again, can lead to encouraging unhealthy relationship stereotypes.
6. Playing down cheating when the main characters are involved
Cheating is sometimes overlooked in films and not given a second-thought when it involves the main characters having an affair to be with their “soulmate.” I’m just saying that if a film or TV show for the matter (i.e. “Gilmore Girls”) wants to paint their leads as being morally introspective, then at least be consistent and have them go through a few seconds of reflection or, you know, wait a couple minutes to tidy up loose ends and save the drama.
7. Predictable love triangles
The storyline of two “soulmates” meeting each other only to realize that one of them is already taken by a less than ideal other person has been played out again and again. First off, it makes you wonder why the first couple is putting up with one another in the first place (i.e. “Sliding Doors”) and also creates a far too foreseeable outcome for the film.