11 March 2018
After a course of hated but much-needed antibiotics that killed both the vileness inside my lungs AND all of the strength I might have ever had, I want to come into the mend with the belated Oscars thoughts. Particularly analysing some of the films nominated and deciding how much I like it that five out of eight movies are about romance and relationships (Lady Bird, Get Out, The Phantom Thread, The Shape Of Water and, OF COURSE, Call Me By Your Name) and how out of those five, none cared for the more “traditional” romance story. Actually, I have now decided how much I like that and that is very.
Let’s put aside the usual WW2 dramas that keep being told every year and nominated maybe every other year, I could definitely use a break from the WW2 story-telling, not because they are unimportant, it is the opposite, they are vital, however, they no longer feel fresh. I have not seen Dukirk and I don’t feel that I have missed out.
As much as I loved and pledge forever to love CMBYN, it wasn’t expected to win, therefore my hopes weren’t crushed. I perfectly welcomed the victory of The Shape OF Water – not only because it was mind-blowingly beautiful and magical and, well, watery and I am a pluviophile, I bloom in rain – but also because the win has presented no drama, you know? A beloved Mexican director, a movie that is not politically or even morally charged, a film about kindness and a visual masterpiece – I am here for that win. It’s nice to have a rest from the theatrics of any kind in 2018 (remember last year’s Oscars f-ck-up???). The Shape Of Water is undeniably a film about romance, I have heard people say it’s La La Land underwater, and though I personally wouldn’t go that far, well, there IS a musical scene. Romance for sure then. Only romance between a woman and an intricate fish. A fish with a dick, but a fish nonetheless. It’s safe then to call it unconventional, right?
So yes, sign me up for some FEELINGS and complicated or simple relationships. But the idea of a romance is shifting, isn’t it? Perhaps, Phantom Thread comes as close as possible to whatever the heterosexual normalisation of boy gets girl the white men behind the scripts and the cameras have been force-feeding the audiences. F-cking adios to that, in Phantom Thread it is the girl who, in twisted and dark ways, fights for the boy. And gets him. Because he is a masochist and gets off on torture? No matter the intricate details of his soul, what matters is this is NOT the romance we’re used to seeing on screen. This love story is warped and fraught and weird and funny. And yet feels perfectly acceptable.
Get Out is essentially (I barely dare talk about the film “in a nutshell”, it is DEEP, so I am sorry) a look at an interracial relationship, where the relationship is core around which everything else is built, and what is built is NOT pretty. Lady Bird looks at romance from the perspective of a regular bratty unhappy teenager, though the film centres on the relationship between the heroine and her mother – arguably the most important relationship of one’s life – their growing together, their unavoidable acceptances of each other. And Call Me By Your Name, well, it's a boy love boy situation. I have by now, at the time of writing, watched it seven times and I will watch it again – there was not a film last year that made me feel the joys and the pains of love, of first love in particular, than the story of Elio and Oliver. This is also the only film in ages that has made me reconsider for a split second my stance on marriage and relationships: Elio’s parents, you see. Theirs is the domestic perfection that I have stopped believing is attainable. If I ever consider marriage again, blame it on the Perlmans.
There we have it, complete bullsh-t like Home Again going straight into the pile of the worst films of the year, and all of the unconventional romances climbing to the top of the Oscars' list. I am sure that the Reese Witherspoons and the Julia Roberts's will never be out of jobs, but I personally am perfectly fine realising that another Gone With The Wind might never be made again. I would much rather pay money and spend time to see The Girls Trip again – another romantic comedy where a relationship between a man and a woman is secondary to the true romance of friendship between women.
Ah man. What a time to be alive!