By Evelyn Heis, Film & Television Editor
As the Earth takes yet another lap around the sun, the dreaded February 14th is approaching once more. Valentine’s Day: a commercialised, capitalist holiday - or a loving day to celebrate your significant other? You decide. Valentine’s is marked by grand efforts, large teddy bears, an obscene number of roses and over-priced chocolates - no better tokens of your affection, of course.
And yet within this holiday of excess, lavish doting, and public displays of affection, there seems to be a universal sense of absence: “Why haven’t I found a partner?”, “Why aren’t we more like this couple?”, “Why didn’t we go out?” Whether it's because we’re conditioned by stereotypical rom-coms and heartfelt dramas that make us feel really lonely, that’s right, I mean The Notebook (2004), or because of the influx of social media posts every year, the FOMO is very much real.
To fill this absence, we may patch it up with cheesy rom-coms, getting lost in the love lives of fictional characters and away from our realities. We aspire to have the same love that Rosie and Alex have in Love, Rosie (2014), and a connection as strong as Harry and Sally’s in When Harry Met Sally (1989); a love as unexpected as Patrick and Katerina’s in 10 Things I Hate About You (1999); and perhaps, a love as tender as Hazel-Grace and Augustus’ in The Fault In Our Stars (2014), or one that transcends social class, but not an iceberg, like Jack and Rose in Titanic (1997).
Pressured by this supposed need to attain such romantic relationships as the ones we idealise in our comfort films, we tend to overlook the already existing and prevalent love that surrounds us in our everyday life: A stranger smiling at you in the street, someone holding the door open for you, your favourite barista remembering your coffee order, a dog running up to you in the park, someone complimenting your outfit or the girls who hype you up in the women’s toilets. It doesn’t always have to be romantic to make you feel loved.
Perhaps, we should all take a vow to refrain from clouding our expectations with romantic films on Valentine’s day (not forever though, they’re one of my guilty pleasures) and avert our focus to alternative films that celebrate other equally vital relationships. To commemorate friendships, delve into Leon: The Professional (1994), Forrest Gump (1994), and Pitch Perfect (2014).
To find comfort in fleeting, yet meaningful connections, watch Lost In Translation (2003), Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019), or Call Me By Your Name (2017). To escape reality altogether, binge-watch The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (2010-) and get lost in a world full of rich-people, catty dramas, and parties.
Valentine’s day is characterised by superficial gestures in the name of love and heteronormative displays of affection; but whether you have a partner or not this year, make sure to show a little bit more love to those around you who give you love every single day, regardless of the particular holiday.
Featured Image: Evelyn Heis/Epigram
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