Unlikely Romances

We were having a discussion on the Red Sage Readers loop about how a romance makes any story a better story, and how sometimes a story doesn't feel complete or satisfactory without a romance. This led me to think about some of my favorite movies that aren't billed as "romances," and yet the romance or love story is integral to the plot and the characters' actions.

One my favorite recent movies is Apocalypto. Yes, the story is violent, bloody, and gory, but at its core, it's a love story. The hero, Jaguar Paw, has a strong will to survive after his Amazon village is ransacked and destroyed and he is taken captive by the Mayan city-dwellers. During the attack on his village, Jaguar Paw is able to hide his pregnant wife and his son down a well. He knows he must come back to them to rescue them, and it's this love for his family that drives him to amazing feats of valor and cunning as he escapes the Mayans and makes his way back to his wife and son. His wife is no slouch in the bravery department either as she protects her son in the well. It's an amazing and gripping story of the will to survive and how love inspires this will.
Another favorite of mine, Braveheart, just happens to be by the same director, Mel Gibson. Again, he gives us a bloody, violent movie, but at the heart of it all is a great romance. Wallace wanted to keep a low profile when he returned to Scotland, but after the English murdered his wife, he had to avenge her death. The ending was incredible when Wallace is being tortured and he's able to tune it all out and focus on his dead wife moving through the crowd. When the King of England's daughter-in-law is discussion Wallace with her lady-in-waiting, the lady says, "I heard he did it all for his woman." Ahhh, romance.
So do you all think I'm nuts labeling these violent action movies "romance"? How about it? Where have you found an unlikely romance?


Roxana Blaze said...

Hi, Carol, great topic! No, I don't think you're nuts in the least. :) The way I look at it is, just as in real life, not everything is *only* romance or *only* adventure, etc. Although I know I've seen a lot of movies that weren't marketed as such yet were heavy on romance, I can't at the moment think of one off the top of my head. LOL!

BUT what does come to mind as a sort substitute is...TV shows like CSI, ER, Heroes, Bionic Woman, etc., are advertised one way, but always seem to include great romances at some point within the script. And I love it that way, getting a sprinkle of lots of genres in one package! :)


Vonda Sinclair said...

Wow, interesting topic, Carol!! I LOVED Apocalypto. At first I was almost afraid to watch it because I hate gore and violence but once I started watching I was hooked! I loved the romance and action mixed. They make a wonderful combination. I'm a big fan of Braveheart too. I watched another movie recently and was surprised it was mostly a romance instead of whatever it was billed as. Can't remember the title now. But other movies that come to mind where romance played a big unexpected role were the recent movie Miami Vice, The New World and Wedding Crashers. Also love lost was a big motivation on one of the Lethal Weapon movies. I'm glad that most movies have at least a little romance in them.

Anne Crawford-Clarke said...

Hey Carol, Great topic, just as the other ladies said. One of my all time favourite movies is Bram Stoker's Dracula. I think it's a love story at the core, even with all the blood sucking and transformations. It's the ultimate sacrifice for the one you love.

It's one of my all time favourite movies, along with Under the Tuscan Sun, King Arthur and yes, believe it or not, A Muppet Christmas Carol. Not necessarily a romance, but still great.


Amber Leigh Williams said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks a movie's not worth seeing without some kind of love story involved in the script. Everything from The Patriot (wow, more Mel Gibson), the relationship between Gabriel and Anne is endearing even if they both (*spoiler*) die in the end, to Harry Potter and the adorable banter between Ron and Hermione. I would've thrown the last book away if they hadn't got together in the end. Extreme, I know, but that's just the way I am and I'm happy to know I'm not the only one. Great topic!

Amber Leigh Williams

Anonymous said...

I love Braveheart. I never was much of a Mel Gibson fan until I saw this movie, but OMG he was fantastic in it.

Love is a powerful motivator. Even if a story isn't technically a romance, if it harnesses the power of romantic love, I can find myself relating to it on a deep level. So movies I wouldn't normally enjoy -- like Braveheart, which is really a movie about a bunch of soldiers who need baths ;) -- becomes elevated into something I can really relate to.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree but I think the reason is that we all like whole approaches to our stories. Even those labeled romance suffer if there isn't something more to them, like some action, or great dialogue, etc. So it makes sense that what might be considered solely an action movie is made great by the addition of real love to the plot. It's the heart and soul for most of us.