With the over saturation of action and superhero films, there hasn't been a lot of room for romantic comedies lately. The most recent film was How to Be Single and most people don't even remember when that came out. Lately, the rom coms all seem to be about the same thing: how to cope with breakups or how to get revenge on a cheating ex. However, independent films have had different (and better) messages to say and because they're in a limited release, the writers are more brave to speak their mind rather than becoming a generic "boy gets girl" story. These four rom coms may seem run of the mill but the stories they convey are so important and relevant to relationships today.
1. Obvious Child
Obvious Child may seem like a run of the mill comedy, but it’s such a rare story to see on screen. Donna (Jenny Slate) is a newly unemployed comic who becomes pregnant after a one night stand. When she goes to schedule an abortion, the only appointment they have available is February 14th, the most ironic day of all. She then has to gather the courage to tell the guy that he is the father.
In most films regarding pregnancy, the woman always seems to have the baby in the end. Whether they change their mind at the last minute or never even think of an abortion, it’s almost never shown on screen. What’s so great about Obvious Child is that she actually goes through with it. No one tries to convince her to keep it or show any malice towards her decision, and Slate handles it all in a comedic manner. That kind of writing takes a lot of guts to do, but Writer Gillian Robespierre goes all out. That may have gotten her a lot of hate with pro-life people but it’s a story that needed to be told.
2. 500 Days of Summer
On the surface, 500 Days of Summer looks like a typical romantic comedy. It seems like these two complex characters are going to live happily ever after, but it’s more complicated than that. At the beginning of the film, the narrator explicitly states that this is not a love story, but a story about love. He couldn’t have been more right. 500 Days of Summer teaches us not to romanticize and put certain people on pedestals.
Tom (Joseph Gordon Levitt) falls in love with Summer (Zooey Deschanel) even though she has explicitly said that she wants to just be friends .But after the sex and cuddling, Tom wants more than just friends with benefits. While watching the film, people find it easy to call Summer the bad guy in this situation, but even Levitt admitted that Tom was the delusional one. He kept wanting to change a girl’s feelings even after saying that she didn’t want a relationship with him. The film is a good lesson on how love isn’t so black and white.
3. What If?
Zoe Kazan has been the rom-com sweetheart as of late. She’s had three romantic comedies come out in three years and she continually proves that she’s probably the most adorable person in Hollywood. What If? plays with the usual conventions but has great chemistry between Kazan and Daniel Radcliffe.
After a string of failed relationships, Wallace (Radcliffe) forms a bond with Chantry (Kazan) who has a long-term boyfriend. Wallace falls in love with her but tries to remain her best friend at the same time. It plays with the concept with the friend zone without getting obnoxious or sexist.
4. Ruby Sparks
Not only does Kazan star as the titular character, but she also wrote the screenplay as well .Paul Dano plays Calvin, an uninspired author who finds his lead character, Ruby (Kazan), come to life. She’s quirky and bubbly, just like he wrote her, but can be anyone he wants. He just simply types any new personality traits and she adopts them right away. It’s seems to be a dream come true until Ruby starts to have her own independent thoughts about herself and their relationship. Ruby Sparks may seem run of the mill but it teaches the (obvious?) lesson that changing people to fit your desires will only push them away more.