Made of Romance?

In Film Reviews on January 5, 2009 at 5:01 pm

made-of-honor2In my continuous efforts to meet my wife on her turf, I agreed to watch Made of Honor with her this last weekend.  She loves Patrick Dempsey.  Ok, let me be honest.  I have been wanting to see the movie.  Frankly, I was curious about the draw.  I mean, what is it that women are drawn to in movies that classify as ‘romance’?

I am not averse to romance.  In fact, I think there are very masculine forms of romance.  I’m not talking about buying flowers or chocolates.  I mean putting my life at stake for my wife.  I am talking about taking real risks to be continually pursuing her and learning about her.  Frequently, this means I need to hear her; a trait that I must continually work on.

Back to the movie…the plot focuses around Tom Bailey, a good-looking, sharp-dressing and, you guessed it, wealthy playboy living in New York.  Tom’s fame and wealth began in college where he became the inventor of the coffee collar, the cardboard cup-holders on coffee cups that keep us from burning our fingers.  Clever spin, Tom.  Along with Tom’s entrepreneurial prowess, his sexual exploits land him in the beds of many college women.  Most significantly, he lands in the bed of Hannah, the roommate of one of his short-lived flings.  Hannah’s candid annoyance at Tom’s lewd lifestyle earns her top spot on Tom’s most-trusted ‘friend’ list.

Ten years after college, Tom is extravagantly wealthy (pretty sure he doesn’t work).  Hannah also lives in New York, where she restores  fine art.  As Tom neglects Hannah as a possible match, she eventually tours Scotland, where she meets Colin.  They fall in love and decide to get married.  As you can guess, Hannah asks Tom to be her ‘Made of Honor’ and the plot thickens.  Despite his continuing sexual exploits, Tom realizes that he has feelings for Hannah.  He launches a strategy to win her back, wrestling to give her a simple ‘I love you’.

As the movie ended, I was a bit disgusted with the depiction of Tom’s sexual life.  He was a pretty loose guy.  To believe that she could trust him after such a short change from his deceit, manipulation and degradation of other women was a bit far-fetched.  It seems true character change takes more than the whimsical shift in emotions.  However, I did not write the movie off entirely.  There was still something very attractive about it to the female audience.  So, I inquired with Lindsay about what she found romantic.  The results were very interesting.

Lindsay drew attention to how well the main characters, Hannah and Tom, knew each other.  Regardless of character flaws in Tom, it was romantic that their understanding was so intimate of each other.  This intimate knowing was built throughout the film in different ways.  They guessed each other’s favorite desserts.  Tom knew about inspiring poetry to Hannah.  They called each other’s BS.  It was as if they ‘got each other’.

On my end of the film, I noticed the message of how minimized sex was.  It was suggested that Tom had sex with many, many women.  There was an inattention paid to this fact.  It simply was not brought up as an issue, most notably to Hannah.  I wondered about the absence of conversation around sex.  How much has the role of sex been degraded, belittled and trampled on?  Something that was intended to be special, pure in the context of commitment and promise, has been minimized to an emotional expression.

Take away messages about romance?  Knowing each other well can say a lot about romance.  How many women (or men for that matter) want to be known, heard and understood.  Sometimes this comes in the form of calling each other on our crap!  Romance without a high regard for sex seems shallow and base.

  1. Josh,
    I thought you might enjoy watching a romantic movie from another generation to compare to the shallowness of some of the movies that pass for romance these days, like Made of Honor. Check out Marty on TCM on Monday (January 26) at 6 p.m. It’s been many years since I’ve seen it, but I remember it was an excellent movie. I plan to record it myself and watch it again. I hope it is as good as I remember. If you do watch it, let me know what you think.

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