What the movies teach us about love and real life

What the movies teach us about love and real life
Our favorite flicks don’t just entertain us, they also teach us a thing or two about how society shouldn’t define how we live and love

MANILA, Philippines – Movies, regardless of genre, help us escape the hustle and bustle of daily life. They entertain and make us feel better, if only within the two or so hours we spend inside the cinema, watching as a story that reflects human experiences and desires unfold right before our very eyes.

We, Filipinos, in particular, love our romance movies. Rom-coms, indies, dramas, even those tinged with a bit of horror or fantasy—you name it, we’ve had our fair share of it and can even name a favorite title or two (or more).

But they not only serve up kilig and a means to escape. They also bring out sobering realizations and even life-changing lessons—pretty helpful, since although love is a universal experience, we don’t really get a manual on how to navigate its complex waters. For some of us, our perceptions about love are shaped by movies, among other factors, of course.

Here are a few lessons we can glean from our romance flicks, based on insights from Jancy Nicolas, screenwriter and associate creative producer from Star Cinema whose body of work includes A Second Chance, It Takes a Man and a Woman, Always Be My Maybe, My Ex and Whys, Sin Island, and more.

Everybody experiences love differently

Storytellers find inspiration in many, many things. They have a rich wellspring of ideas that come from movies, classic novels, stories, articles, and their own personal experiences as well as those of the people they meet—their struggles, hopes, dreams, and insights on love.

That is to say, there’s really no such thing as one “ideal story,” simply because we all experience the same things differently—and yes, that includes love.

Take the Bea Alonzo and John Lloyd Cruz-starrer One More Chance, and Starting Over Again, which starred Toni Gonzaga and Piolo Pascual as examples, Jancy said. Although both films tackled the subject of second chances, they showcased storylines that are polar opposites. Popoy and Basha ended up together again, while Marco and Ginny did not.

“Both movies depict truth despite the difference of their statements on second chances. Thus, both have defined an ideal love story in their own terms,” he explained.

Fantasy is a huge part of our reality

Jancy explained that fantasies represent our desires as humans and is, therefore, something that’s deeply ingrained in reality. As such, they must be respected.

“To fantasize is a part of human nature. To fantasize is to imagine, to hope, to see things beyond what’s already here. We do this on a regular basis, right? Our minds endlessly daydream. If a fantasy represents a person’s hope, who are we to take away that fantasy from him or her?”

He cited the Miggy Montenegro-Laida Magtalas rom-com, A Very Special Love trilogy, directed by Cathy Garcia-Molina and starred Sarah Geronimo and John Lloyd Cruz as an example. The rich guy-poor girl storyline, along with a bubbly and optimistic character in Geronimo’s Laida who doles out power hugs and believes in the power of sun dances, makes it easily pass for a fairy tale which some people had been quick to judge as “unreal” or “shallow.”

But according to Jancy, “Laida herself is a fantasy that represents reality in all of us—a person who keeps on believing in goodness and love. A person we wish we still are but was taken away from us because life happened. That’s the reality in that fantasy.”

Every movie depicts universal experiences

You say you may not relate to a movie about, say, cheating lovers or best friends falling in love. But try to look beyond these and chances are, you’re likely to find issues that would strike a chord.

Jancy shared his experience writing the screenplay for My Ex and Whys, another film by Cathy Garcia-Molina that starred Enrique Gil and Liza Soberano.

“I have never experienced being cheated on and cheating on someone and yet that didn’t keep me from being able to write the screenplay. Because ultimately, I look at Liza’s character, Cali, beyond the issue of cheating. She’s a girl who was betrayed. Betrayal is a universal experience beyond infidelity alone. And that’s where I was able to relate to Cali. 

“All of us know what it feels like to be betrayed at some form or the other. And we all have experienced the aftermath of betrayal–it makes us lose our trust in the world but more so, lose our trust in ourselves.

“The journey of My Ex and Whys is more than just an exes story and more than a statement on the aftermath of infidelity in a relationship. It is a journey of a young woman learning to trust love, life, and herself again,” he said.

What these tell us, simply, is that all forms of love must be celebrated equally. Our age, gender, or status in life should never matter. We must be free to love in the way we truly feel, in the ways we know how – despite what society thinks is right or wrong. (READ: Love’s dark (open) secret)

In love, as in the movies, respect and understanding are crucial because we all enjoy different stories, just as we approach love differently. Rappler.com

Closeup’s #FreeToLove advocates for closeness and the freedom to love and help young adults “turn mutual attraction into action, free from self-doubt and judgment of others.” To find out how you can become part of the movement, visit freetolove.closeup.ph

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