Posted by: kcgadiyar | March 17, 2009

And they lived happily ever after.

I watch a lot of movies, and my taste in movies is very, very diverse. But when i need a movie to just watch for timepass because i need to chill out or take a break, it is invariably a Rom-Com that i choose (which means that i have probably seen the entire cinematic output of Hugh Grant, Meg Ryan and Sandra Bullock). Why rom-coms? Well, uncomplicated plots, no need to use my brain while watching and the assurance that in the end the hero will get the heroine. Which brings me to the topic at hand, the hero gets the heroine, but how does he do it.

The average romantic comedy end normally follows a few set parameters. Here are a few examples:

1. The dash to the airport: So its happened, the hero and the heroine both know that they love each other, but there is a problem. The heroine is leaving for parts unknown and the hero cant wait to declare his love for her. So he races to the airport and somehow always manages to arrive JUST before the plane leaves despite seemingly having the whole world’s obstacles thrown before him in order to foil his quest. This is a staple of a lot of films, in fact it is so common that Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na actually had a character comment that there is no way this can happen in real life.

Notable movies in which this has happened: Pick one, this happens in every second movie.
Special Mention: Hyderabad Blues 2, which makes us think we will get the dash to the airport but avoids the cliche at the last minute

Also check this link to see what a movie made of just the airport scene would be like: Link

2. The out-of-breath moment: Slightly different from the dash to the airport. This normally features the hero running the distance of the whole city to get to where the heroine is. (Fact: Movie heroes would make good marathon runners). Then the hero stumbles in front of the heroine and exclaims “I .. (deep breath) love (deeper breath).. you” before collapsing (ok, so he doesnt collapse). The heroine replies in the affirmative, and they live happily ever after.

Notable Movies: When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle (although here it is the heroine running)
Special Mention: 27 dresses, at least the heroine takes a taxi.

3. I am doing this because i love you: This is another very widely used ending, throughout the movie, it is clearly established that the hero/heroine can’t do something, say, they have a mortal fear of spiders. At the end, they will overcome the fear in order to tell the other person that they love them.

Notable Movies: Pretty Woman, in which Richard Gere (who is scared of heights) climbs to the balcony to propose to Julia Roberts. Yes Man, in which Jim Carrey overcomes his fear of 2 wheelers.
Special Mention: Four Weddings and a Funeral, in which Hugh Grants character, who has a fear of marriage, does not get married to Andie McDowell.

4. The sudden realization: The hero and the heroine are both in a relationship (with different people), but fate and a very contrived screenplay make them realize that they are perfect for each other. This normally occurs just as they are ready to marry the other man (or woman) and they suddenly have an epiphany, this normally leads to point 2 and sometimes even point 1 on this list. This is also a staple of romantic comedies, because they cannot have the hero and heroine get together before the end, what would be left in the movie then.

Notable movies: The wedding singer, A lot like love, Serendipity
Very Special Mention: The incomparable Casablanca, in which the hero lets the heroine go back to her husband despite the heroine wanting to stay back with him leading to the “Here’s looking at you kid” line. (I know Casablanca isn’t a romcom, just giving an example)

5. The patch-up: Some romantic comedies have a mix-up between the lead leading to each of them not wanting to have anything to do with the other. The pre-climax will have a reveal which shows that the two are made for each other, there will be sudden realizations here also, but normally an out-of-breath moment will be avoided.

Notable movies: 10 things i hate about you, Hitch, One Fine Day, Music and Lyrics.
Special Mention: P.S. I love you” in which the patch-up happens, but the hero(or who we think is the hero) and the heroine decide to just stay friends.

6. The Monologue: This is the big one, you have dashed to the airport, you have gone clear across town, you had a realization or you just want to patch up. It doesn’t matter what the reason is, if you want it to sound good, enter the monologue. Every romantic comedy needs a monologue, the hero needs to go into detail about why he needs to be with the heroine, why the heroine lights up his life and how he cannot imagine life without her. (Thats the Basic template, leaves enough room for improvisation). The monologue has to be the highlight, it doesn’t matter where it is delivered, at the end the audience (i.e. the people around the couple at the moment) will clap, and the audience (the people in the theatre) get to go home happy.

Notable movies: When Harry met Sally, Jerry Maguire

Finally, a mention of Love Actually which manages to use every point listed here and still not make it seem cliche and also of “Not Another Teen Movie” which spoofs everything on this list. Any things i may have left out, feel free to add your two cents.

Until Next Time,
K.C.G

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Responses

  1. there is another one you missed –
    wedding scene..it combines from 2,4,6 and adds its own last min wedding jitters/replacements/realising whose who’s soulmate/fights and whole lot of lace and veil and flowers flying 😀

    notable mentions : Runway bride,my best friend’s wedding,father of the bride,27 dresses,accidental husband,the wedding date …blah blah ….

    PS :CASABLANCA IS NOT A ROM COM!! It’s a classic….”of all the gin joints in town …sigh!!”

    • I know its not a romcom, but the ending is one of my favorites, and it does avert the cliche, there isn’t a single romcom which averts it, so just felt like including it.


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