Valentine's Day was just this past Sunday, and typically there are two courses of action for celebrating this day of emotion and devotion. Couples use this day to enjoy each other's presence and bask in the time both of them have spent together. Simultaneously, there are singletons who use the 14th of the second month to sit around, eat overpriced chocolate, and reiterate how much their exes are missing out on.
But there is a similarity shared between both celebrations: The idea of a partner meeting every one of a person's ideals. Either a person has found the perfect counterpart or they haven't met someone yet who has swept them off their feet. These standards and expectations are created by the media that a person consumes, like TV and movies.
One person who has created unbelievably high standards for the male collective is British Oscar-winner Colin Firth. The 55-year-old has been in the film industry for over three decades and has a habit of being cast as either a leading man or a stiff-yet-interesting romantic interest for the average or relatable ingenue. He has made it difficult, with his posh persona, for women to allow for anything less than approachable cavalier disposition from their own day to day. Here are 3 of Colin Firth's standard setting roles, ranging anywhere from romance to action.
1. Galahald from 'Kingsman: The Secret Service'
We start off this list with one of Firth's most recent films. Kingsman is an action-adventure movie, focused on a secret society of British spies that protect the world from secret terrorist threats. Firth was 55 years old when he co-starred alongside 26-year-old Taron Egerton, and gave Egerton a run for his money when it came to the execution of stunts and action sequences.
Firth was almost superhuman while he performed in the legendary church scene. But why would this film about action, adventure, sex, and gadgets make this list compared to more emotional and dramatic roles?
Suits. I believe that there are two types of filmgoers, those who are interested in the types of muscle-bound rippling bodies and sex appeal of movies like Magic Mike, and those who are more interested in a sharp-witted and sharp-dressed man who can think and talk his way out of any situation.
Personally, l refer to these kinds of clever, well-dressed films as suit porn, and they are slowly being incorporated more and more into American Films, with a similar type of man being featured in last year's summer reboot, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
2. Jamie from 'Love, Actually'
Although he may not have had a prominent role in this ensemble cast, Firth managed to give us an enduring performance as Jamie in Love Actually. Jamie is one of the first characters featured in this film, with his storyline focused on his recovery from a deceiving partner. Jamie decides to get away by retreating to his lake house in Marseille, France, where he's introduced to his new Portuguese housekeeper, Aurelia. She knows no English and he doesn't speak her native Portuguese, so both of them manage to communicate enough to get by.
But the relationship that grows between Aurelia and Jamie is one that flourishes on what isn't said. There is a definite spark between them both, and both end up expressing their passionate feelings for each other, but instead of the typical love story moment of kissing in each others arms, the language barrier between the two of them blocked what could have been his soulmate.
So what could Jamie do, sit and wallow? Instead, he attempts to overcome his lingual disadvantage of not being able to express his thoughts to the woman he loves. Jamie attempts to learn Portuguese to tell Aurelia his feelings, and that's when every woman watching the film for the first time simultaneously looked at their significant other with a look of slight disappointment. Most women crave a grandiose gesture as an expression of affection, and this is something that Firth's display of Jamie's love nails perfectly.
3. Mark Darcy from 'Bridget Jones's Diary'
I saved this entry for the last spot on my list because it is one of his best romantic roles. In 2001's Bridget Jones Diary, Firth plays London-based human rights attorney, Mark Darcy, who knew Bridget as a child. Darcy is reluctant about Bridget at first, seeing nothing but all of her flaws, but by the end of the movie he famously learns to love her, "Just the way she is." And that level of acceptance is what set all women's expectations for what they look for in a partner, someone who will love them for all of her shortcomings.
You may be wondering why I didn't choose Mr. Darcy from the Pride and Prejudice television miniseries from the 1990s over Mark Darcy. It was reported that the author of the original novel for Bridget Jones's Diary, said she based Mark Darcy off of Colin Firth's portrayal of Darcy from the miniseries. So in a way, Mark Darcy is almost entirely Colin Firth's creation.
Colin Firth's roles have shown people everywhere that there is no such thing as standards that are too high, because underneath a grand appearance, there can also be a loving, flawed person who will love you for who you are. The important thing to remember from representations of fantastic leading men is that you can look to your favorite characters in films and allow yourself to find your own leading man in your own life. You can look and find someone who encompasses every trait you love outside of the silver screen.