The back of the DVD case describes The Romantics as a “generational comedy”. Whoever wrote this clearly never watched the movie because The Romantics isn’t at all funny. It would be better to describe this movie as a “complicated drama”, because if there was any way to describe the relationships in this movie it would be “it’s complicated”.
The Romantics is the story of a group of college friends who are on their way to see two of their best friends Lila (Anna Paquin) and Tom (Josh Duhamel) tie the knot. Laura (Katie Holmes) dated Tom for 4 years and still has feelings for him, but is also Lila’s maid of honour. Even though she broke up with Tom and wants to see her two friends happy, Laura can’t help but feel that after all these years, Tom may still feel the same way about her.
The basic story revolves around a group of friends who met during their college years. As they grew closer they came to call themselves “The Romantics”. One of the characters in this movie goes so far as to describe this group as “incestuous” in the way they bounced around between each other during their college years. Time has since moved on since their carefree days in college, but unfortunately for them, some issues remain unresolved. As you can tell, this basic setup has huge potential for drama, which the story does explore pretty well.
However, when I was watching this movie I couldn’t help but feel I was missing out on something. A great deal of the plot revolves around the connections that these characters made with each other during college, and we never get to see that part of their life. If you look at this movie as part of the “slice of life” genre, it left me with a very unsatisfied feeling.
The characters are all interesting enough, and are portrayed relatively well by the actors involved, but I couldn’t help but find myself annoyed with some of them when I should have been empathising with them. This again exaggerates the feeling of disconnectedness and dissatisfaction that seems to permeate the entire movie. Some of the supporting characters also have a great deal of potential, but we see so little of them that it doesn’t matter.
Without saying too much, the ending also lacks punch. A lot of other Japanese slice of life movies have had similar endings and I’ve been quite happy with the way those movies concluded. With this movie, it just feels like far too many questions are left unanswered.
The Romantics is a love story filled to the brim with drama, and is very clearly aimed at a female audience.
The Bottom Line
The Romantics is a clear cut drama that will most likely bore most men to tears. I’m not even sure if the female audience it’s aimed at will be able to overcome the strange feeling of dissatisfaction that I had throughout most of this movie, although I’m sure the love triangle aspect of the story will no doubt appeal.
About Rowan Govender
Rowan Govender, a writer and artist who is more commonly known by his pen name Rowango, graduated from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal with an Honors degree in Media in 2006. He relocated to Cape Town in 2007 to pursue his interest in writing and film. He is currently employed part time in the Technical Writing industry, while he pursues personal creative projects.