So, right off the bat, I guess I should say that I don’t really believe in “chick flicks”. I mean, I do, of course. I understand the idea that some films are marketed more at a male audience and some are marketed more at a female audience. And sometimes, for some people, that it is a really important difference. “Chick flick” is a term generally reserved for movies that focus primarily on romantic or sentimental topics, and usually have a female lead character.
(Incidentally, this is #43 in a series of 47 posts about movies, with topics selected by my friend, each given to me after the previous one is written. For more information, check out #1 here.)
But I’ve always maintained that if a movie is good, it doesn’t really matter what genre it is (eg. Sci-fi, romantic comedy, tragic drama, Western, thriller, children’s etc). But of course, I know that’s not entirely true. For example, I don’t care how artistic your pornography or slasher film is, I’m not going to want to watch it.
Anyway, today I’ve been asked to identify some “chick flicks” that are worth watching for guys not because they’re good (though they may be) but because they teach important life lessons–presumably about women or relationships–that would benefit guys to learn. Let’s see…
Emma (1996 – directed Douglas McGrath)
Jane Austen adaptations are always a good go-to for chick flicks that a guy could learn from. The lesson here (as it is in all of the author’s novels) is that living by principles and value actually matters, as does marrying for love and respect. Knightly is in love with Emma, but that does not keep him from speaking the truth to her and calling her out for her bad behavior. Good stuff.
The Story of Us (1999 – directed by Rob Reiner)
I’ve only seen this movie once and it is pretty badly reviewed, but I found it interesting to watch. It got me thinking about marriage, what sort of baggage people carry into them, and what it means to stick them out. There are probably other films that do this a lot better, but I can’t think of them right now.
The Notebook (2004 – directed by Nick Cassavetes)
Perhaps the ultimate chick flick of all chick flicks – a romantic drama that has been known to reduce multiple women that I know to a blithering mess of tears. There’s a lot of foolish behavior all the way through this movie, but there’s also a meaningful lesson about what it means to be committed “in sickness and in health, in good times and bad”, when the story reveals that James Garner’s character is indeed the elderly Noah, determined to read to his dementia-suffering wife the story of their life together in order to bring her back to lucidity, even briefly.
My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997 – directed by P.J. Hogan)
An oddball of a romantic comedy which is fun to watch, and serves as a reminder to everyone that even someone as charming and attractive as Julia Roberts might be emotionally insecure and kind of crazy.
That’s it for this time around. I felt like I had less to say than normal. I suppose the intention of the topic might have been to think of movies that were meant to educate men about women, romance, and being in touch with your emotions, but ultimately that’s not where my mind went.