You know chick flicks? They’re mostly run-of-the-mill pieces of mediocrity that directors make to guarantee some femme group-spending on a ladies’ movie night. On the contrary, there’s something to be said for the power of a feel-good flick watched with good girl friends.

Realist movies aren’t as fun to watch as the unrealistic fast food of a chick flick.

[Below are spoilers for the movies Alfie and Sweet Home Alabama.]

Take Alfie – despite the possible chick flick designation for having Jude Law in the cast, this movie ends as a downer. Alfie’s really messed things up for others and himself with his playboy lifestyle that includes personal attachments to many women. He thinks it’s ok; he always makes it clear beforehand that he’s not the type ready to commit. Still, the movie ends and he is lonely and guilt-ridden. Realistic? Maybe. Droll? Definitely.

Take Sweet Home Alabama – despite definite chick flick flavours such as good-looking screen personnel and a fairytale storyline of economic success and ‘true’ love, it does kind of subvert fairytale romances of the urban fashionable blue-blood strain where the rich marry each other or some poor girl or boy. (It does upkeep the childhood sweetheart fairytale though.) In any case, we admittedly hope for our own fairytale.

Back to the point. “S/he/It is so real.” That’s what we say when we’re impressed with how something has moved us deeply. Like when something has the raw power to connect with a part of ourselves that we believe to be ‘real’. What is real? We keep returning to the chick flick; whether we say it is real or we don’t, we include it in the functions of our life.

Perhaps the ‘real’ thing we see in chick flicks is the hope it inspires. That hope may not be for any realistic target, but the act of hope is viscerally real. And hope is far more appealing than despair.


Chick flicks are like fast food

Chick flicks are like fast food: not real, and very bad for your health if consumed on a regular basis.

Some assumptions of those affected:

  1. It only ever takes 121 minutes to meet The One and be in love forever, absolutely.
  2. Loving someone is passive; you can experience it by sitting, watching, and welling up emotion.
  3. People will inevitably get thrown together because you think know they are ‘right’ for each other.
  4. If you are ‘right’ for each other, okthanks go live happily ever after.

Actually, when you watch a ‘romantic movie’, two people will hit it off, and could potentially be really good friends. Then [footage not shown].

We don’t see the mundane life happening; all we get is the romance. Popular art (the movie) has to be ‘nice’ and it has to be palatable to a diverse audience. We want what we kind of wish life were like. If it tastes good in the mouth, who cares what it does to the body? Grab some food in 5 minutes? Or spend the time grocery shopping, washing your vegetables, peeling and cutting, marinating your meat, preheating the oven, waiting for your food to bake, setting the table… washing the dishes?

Is it possible to get emotionally obese on cheap love?

Enchanted by Enchanted

Fresh. And just really funny. So many references to other stories – I like that. It takes the stereotypical Disney fantasy, admits and jabs at all the outrageous unreality of it, and then ends in an outrageously unrealistic fashion anyways. Meanwhile empowering the female character at last. (and stooge characters too)

What does it try to argue? Fantasy? Reality? A synthesis? Stop arguing about which one is better as long as you do a good job of it? Stop accusing Disney of fantasy because nearly every other movie out there is ‘fantastic’? We are ‘fantastic’ and proud of it?

Well one point is certain: we all need some feel-good fantasy in our lives – just a little. (But we also need a healthy serving of reality – and like Samuel Johnson and many others have pointed out: the audience knows the difference between the stage and reality.) (Or do they? And can they separate it in their own lives?)

I am of the opinion that the film is rather sophisticated in its treatment.