Do you know those big, antique dollhouses that you can open in half and peer into all rooms? These dollhouses allow you to see every tiny detail within the interior and see how the spaces connect and relate to each other. There is a style of movie that I enjoy that reminds me of a dollhouse. I am interested in movies about romantic relationships between people. To me, it is most interesting to see a relationship grow, change, or even tragically, fall apart. The movies that I enjoy are emotionally intense; all are dramas that focus on the relationship without much other external action. Movies, in my opinion, that are representative of this are Revolutionary Road, Blue Valentine, Comet, and one that I just finished today called Marriage Story.
These movies are like dollhouses, because they allow the viewer to see inside romantic relationships through life’s little vignettes. “Marriage Story” (on Netflix at the time of this writing) details the divorce of a young couple, once passionately in love. The movie revolves around the relationship between the man and woman and their young boy through this tough time. To me, the relationship between the two feuding protagonists in this movie can be broken down and compartmentalized like the rooms of a dollhouse. We see the couple young and in love, we see them fight, we see them cry, we see them struggle together and apart. We, the viewer, can peer into all their little rooms and watch the action unfold.
Movies like “Marriage Story” and the others I listed above (all of which I recommend by the way!) can be emotionally challenging. These movies are filled with monologue, dialogue, and not much else happening. I think I enjoy these movies because they reveal the most precious and tender aspects of humanity. These movies show us our own vulnerability, our need for love and acceptance, and desire to achieve whatever fantasy we have envisioned for ourselves. These movies teach us that love does not always conquer all and that pain is necessary for healing. I am not a pessimist. I also do not enjoy watching others in pain. However, I feel like I enjoy these movies, because I connect with the characters on a very basic human level. I want to learn from others’ experiences. I want a new perspective, I want to understand the problems, and identify solutions.
I am not a people person, but I love humans. I love human creativity, human kindness, and human capacity for good. I also like to explore human fears, fragility, and vulnerability. Good romantic dramas are relatable. Even if the characters are unlike you, the dialogue is something that those of us in relationships have all thought before but would be fascinated to see play out on screen. These movies often leave me feeling heavy, as if my emotions were temporarily hijacked by the films. As the credits begin to role, I always find myself jumping to put on something lighthearted to cleanse my emotional palette. Are you familiar with any of the movies that I mentioned, Dear Reader? These movies are not for everyone. In fact, if you are a fan of action or sci-fi, you will probably find these films lacking in some way fundamental to your interests. However, if you want some perspective on life or relationships, try peeking into the dollhouse every once and a while.