As a movie buff, I’ve always been enchanted by the meet-cute, that’s filmspeak for when two star-crossed lovers meet for the first time. The formulas are tried-and-true giving romance movie lovers a treasure trove of meaningful hopes and dreams wrapped up in a bow.
In one instance, the couple find themselves in an unusual circumstance and sometimes don’t like each other, but later kiss and fall in love. Like The Backup Plan, when a would-be duo fight over a cab, she calls him a stupid head and the will they, won’t they romance tango begins. Or the meet cute ride to New York in When Harry Met Sally where he tells her men and women can never be friends because the idea of sex always gets in the way. They eventually fall in love, decades later.
Then there’s the meet-cute where one or both of them see each other across a crowded room, lock eyes and immediately know they will fall in love. In Serendipity, they both grab for the same gloves, electricity ignites and each take one glove for a future fateful meeting. And in the heartwarming scene in Sleepless in Seattle, corresponding lovers finally meet and instantly sparks arise with knowing eyes and glowing smiles.
And don’t forget the hook line, where one of them gathers courage and captivates the other with the best or worst line in history.
In Working Girl, she states “I’ve got a head for business and a bod for sin,” empowering many single women to come from the societal male-dominant shadows and approach men first. While the cheesiest introduction line ever uttered “You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling,” from Top Gun, made some women in the 80s swoon and others gag when throngs of men tried to re-create the movie pick up in bars for months after its debut.
The worst lines evoke awkward encounters when someone horribly stumbles over their words, leaving you feel very sorry for them and waiting with bated breath in the hopes that they don’t get shut down, crash and burn. In Bridget Jones’ Diary she tells the object of her affection, “You like me just the way I am.” And the most pitiful line spoken by anyone in any movie, “You are my density” from Back to the Future makes us cringe at the verbal diarrhea start. But in each case, it worked and they fall in love in the end.
Movie meet-cutes are sappy, but reliable. And for many that’s a welcome opposition to the real world where very little is certain.
Sometimes I think the fantasy of movie romance gives a false representation and unrealistic expectations of love, allowing some hopefuls to look for their meet cute every day. But life isn’t a movie and love doesn’t go from nothing to something in 90 minutes.
Yet people fall in love all the time and sometimes life does reflect art. So, despite the odds, the true romantics cling to the faith that their love destiny is only one special moment away.
And despite the warning in Moonstruck when he professes his love, and she replies “Snap out of it,” those seeking love will keep anticipating a life-changing “density” event just around the corner.
(C) Suzanne Rudd Hamilton, 2022
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