Romantic movies nowadays focus on relationships and bonding especially outside an official or legal relationship between two individuals. It is no longer common to encounter a film that emphasizes the importance of marriage. And while respect and appreciation for the institution of marriage has not entirely disappeared, it is however no longer of great interest. If most happily ever afters in movies from the past were about getting married or finding happiness as a couple within marriage, now it’s mostly about being truthful about how you feel, finding one another and being a part of each other’s life.
Even in current cinematic productions there are exceptions to the aforementioned rule and also many old movies that celebrate marriage which are still in vogue. While not many are well-known or appreciated to the extent that they truly deserve, there are a few films that deserve to be mentioned when taking marriage into consideration.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
This movie is the perfect example of a contemporary film that celebrates marriage. Aside from the leads’ relationship and intent to tie the knot, there are several other themes that take center stage during the movie. An important one is the differences in culture and how members of each very different family of the future bride and groom have an influence on their relationship and on their evolution as a couple. The reality of how family contributes as a factor included in the wedding package is not set aside for more superfluous romantic scenes, which offers a depth and often heartwarming view into the main leads’ relationship. The fact that comic relief is often utilized and conflicts are twisted so that hilarity ensues at every step is only an added bonus that does not take away from the rich experience this movie has to offer.
In 2004, Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams became the center of Hollywood’s attention after starring in the romantic drama “The Notebook”. And although many of Nicholas Spark’s novels focus on love, life and destiny, there is no better representation of an enduring love that strengthened a marriage against all odds. Even if most of the movie focuses on past events which describe the leads’ interactions as a developing couple more than their actual marriage, the last part of the film and its ending is a clear portrayal of a struggling yet fulfilling marriage that has gone to hell and back and has remained standing. The Notebook redefined the notion of happily ever after with its sad yet hopeful ending that showed the couple fighting to maintain their love and relationship alive against the terrible disease of Alzheimer.
Love Story has been remembered as one of the greatest romantic tragedies since its appearance in 1970. But besides the dramatic love tale between the two main leads, the film portrays the struggles they have to go through to marry and also to maintain a happy marriage. It gives us hope that even in the direst of circumstances, a couple can find a way to maintain their marriage and to actually treasure it. Even in the face of an immature and unexpected death, the depth of their love and their decision to get married and enjoy each other’s company for as long as possible does not diminish. The ending does not emphasize regret, but happiness for having encountered, loved and married the person one couldn’t live without.
The Story of Us (1999)
This movie brings the modern family life under question while still finding answers to mundane, yet troubling issues that arise through the years for most married couples with kids. The movie starts by showing Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfeiffer as parents contemplating whether or not they should have been married in the first place. As proceeding for divorce progress, the two main leads remember the reasons for which they decided to marry in the first place and find that the person they had been sharing their life with for the past 15 years is actually the person they still want to be married to. Although a romantic comedy, the marital issues described in this movie are common problems in many longtime married couples. And while this might not be the realistic outcome, it shows that there is still hope for some. And that marriage, with all it’s ups and downs, is still worth celebrating.
1995’s Sense and Sensibility
Sense and Sensibility, starring Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant, is a great cinematic representation of a classic love story, in which love and marriage find a common path in a society that encourages otherwise. Two very different sisters follow their own tumultuous path to love and happiness. And while it might not be about two married couples, it does emphasize that even people from different social standings are able to marry and build a happy life together.