John and I disagreed wholeheartedly about this film. We actually couldn't talk for a few minutes upon leaving the theater.
John: Did you like it?
Me: Yes, I loved it, but I know you didn't so let's just not talk about it.
John: That was a terrible film.
Me: I'm going to walk five steps ahead of you now and not talk, okay?
We eventually were able to discuss The Romantics like normal, functioning human beings, over fancy cocktails at Coffee Shop. But I was reminded of why I prefer to go to movies alone, in the morning, with all the old people. They allow my bad taste to go unnoticed.
So, as a fair warning, if you like 'good cinema', as John calls it, maybe don't read my thoughts on this one. If you're kind of a sap with slightly lowbrow taste who doesn't really know what she's talking about, welcome to my post.
The Romantics is a WASPy little tale of tangled friendships and about coming home. It's The Big Chill lite, and a decade earlier. It centers around a wedding and what we suddenly become when we stop paying attention. I remember Zach Braff saying that he wrote Garden State about a time of life that very few films touch on-- the awkward late 20s. It's suddenly acceptable to be married, or successful professionally, and its not unheard of to own a home. Your life has started to take shape, and its terrifying if you haven't progressed with your peers.
Katie Holmes was pitch perfect in this role, and I mean it. She played the odd girl out of a group of friends who all married each other. She was tall, and unhappy, and tired, but she stood up for herself at the end there, breaking the mold a bit. We expect her to hold her tongue and to suffer silently as she watches the love of her life marry her best friend. SHE'S the enemy, I suppose, having slept with him the night before his wedding, but its always more complicated than that with infidelity, now isn't it? I felt her pain, down to my spleen. It hurt so very badly.
Like one of my other favorite films, The Philadelphia Story, The Romantics takes place in a 48 hour period, most of which its characters are intoxicated. WASPy, indeed. We sat nervously through terrible rehearsal dinner toasts and awkward silences and that very specific sound of beer bottles clinking past midnight when there aren't any other sounds to dull them. It was shot on a hand held camera, and even John couldn't argue its stellar impact on capturing slurs and stumbles and too-loud laughter.
I've always fallen for movies that capture a world, and this film does it well. J.Crew did the costuming, I mean, COME ON. It's gorgeous, you have to give it that! And the pretentious unhappy drunkenness is an exaggerated observation of a certain set, not a portrait. No one talks that way, I KNOW. But they let me into a world where one might get to go sailing, and it was lovely. Don't tell John, but sometimes that's all I need.