On last night’s inter-continental flight, I finally made it through the perfect US-expat-in-UK movie, “The Holiday.” Brief plot summary: a cultural exchange takes place between two stereotypes (Kate Winslet as the English Rose and Cameron Diaz as the ultimate California girl) when they switch houses for two weeks to get a break from romantic troubles at home. New romances inevitably devlop.
Overall, I enjoyed the movie. I like Kate Winslet, who is rather unapologetic about her non-waif figure (for an even more blatant display of gorgeous real-woman curves, see Tony award-winning actress and Grey’s Anatomy star Sara Ramirez in her milk add). The story line with Kate Winslet’s character and an elderly neighbor in her borrowed LA neighborhood was incredibly sweet, and played to my love of 1940s classic film.
I’m less a fan of Cameron Diaz in general, and found her quite unbelievable as a sympathetic lead in this movie. (She was an awesome and utterly believable bad-girl in Ed Burns’s She’s the One.) I live in England and have never had the great pleasure of an emotionally-available man with Jude Law’s charm and good looks appearing uninvited at my place, but it makes good fodder for fantasy. However, I with my thirty-something post-divorce cynicism appear to have lost my ability to fully enjoy rom-com romps.
When Jude Law’s character declares his love for Cameron Diaz’s character less than two weeks after meeting her, I rolled my eyes and just about didn’t make it through the rest of the movie out of disgust. Even one of my all-time favorite fairy tales, Disney’s Little Mermaid, had me a bit uncomfortable a few weeks ago. I appear to have lost my ability to believe in any story line that involves “fall-in-love-and-live-happily-ever-after” plots that develop over the course of days or weeks.
Science is, of course, on my side here. It’s more-or-less universally accepted that the early stages of “falling in love” are associated with hormones that dissipate within a year or two (I quote: The romantic love state is a state of a drug-induced euphoria modulated by naturally produced dopamine in our brains. ). Actual relationships take time. Reassuringly for us pragmatists in the crowd, the concept of “falling in love” has been linked with the same brain chemistry as obsessive-compulsive disorder. Apparently the key to a happy marriage is shared housework. So, given our advanced knowledge of neurotransmitters and maps of brain activity by functional MRI, why does Hollywood perpetuate the myth of insta-love? And how sad is it for me that I can’t seem to suspend disbelief and enjoy it any more?