“Now that was when people knew how to be in love. They knew it! Time, distance… nothing could separate them because they knew. It was right. It was real. It was…”
“A movie! That’s your problem! You don’t want to be in love. You want to be in love in a movie.”
– Meg Ryan and Rosie O’Donnell in Sleepless in Seattle.
First off, Sleepless in Seattle is one of my three favorite movies ever made (The others You’ve Got Mail and Pride & Prejudice, duh).
Second, Meg and Rosie pretty much nail it when it comes to what many people think about love. Time and space can’t keep true love apart, the Empire State Building on Valentines”¦ You know, very Cary Grant-type stuff.
The background music, the perfect words to say, Tom Hanks is always the guy you fall for, everyone’s hair looks great”¦ We want to be in love in a movie. We want to be Tom and Meg, because, well, who doesn’t. We want to be Jim and Pam and overcome the odds of being together. And on the subject of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, don’t even get me started.
I will be the first to admit – I am prone to fall into this line of thought because, quite honestly, Tom Hanks from the ’90s makes me weak in the knees. I dream up plotlines and story twists for my own life and, of course, I can’t forget, a slam-bang finish. One in which Tom Hanks finally shows up in the end and I say, “I wanted it to be you so badly”¦” I even own all of the soundtracks to these movies and listen to them frequently.
But some days, there’s a moment when a little light bulb comes on and I snap out of my daydream. I remember that Norah Ephron isn’t directing every scene of my life. I remember that I don’t actually know Tom Hanks. And I’ve never heard a guy from Seattle on a call-in radio show who needs a new wife. I probably won’t ever meet a stranger I fall in love with on top of the Empire State building on Valentine’s Day, and in case you hadn’t noticed, I’m not Elizabeth Bennett or Kathleen Kelly.
I love romantic comedies and think they are great stories, but honestly they are not very realistic. So, dear reader, remember — don’t get so mesmerized by Tom Hanks’s voice that you forget movies aren’t real life. It’s important to find a balance between a love for the movies and a desire for love like the movies.
In the meantime, you might just find me watching Sleepless in Seattle on my iPad in class.