Hurrah for the Patron Saint of Love – St Valentine! The official day for lovers everywhere!
The movies are, of course, the home of romance: unrequited, comedic, disaster-prone, ripe and sensual – celluloid loves love.
There’s a scene in the seminal Seventies flick, Love Story where doomed lovers Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal share a poignant exchange on her deathbed, and she whispers the immortal: “Love… means never having to say you’re sorry.”
Sorry Ali, but it’s all too easy to take someone you profess to love for granted, particularly after the first flush of lust begins to fade; sleepy-to-urgent, early-morning sex is a distant memory, certainly after a few years’ cohabitation. Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston in The Break Up
Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge or Ingrid and Humph in Casablanca. Or something so indefinable it can only be the meeting of soul mates? Until it all derails. We’ve all felt that very physical heartache when someone we love has left us, or in the case of Bridget Jones is just taking too damn long! The pain is tangible; visceral even.
The romantic notion of love is a powerful force. However, many of the emotions we associate with ‘love’ temporarily blind us to our beloved’s irritating habits that emerge later. And this chemical reaction often has little to do with loving someone just as they are. Instead, we seek to change, sculpt and even grow to hate the object of our desire, simply because we do desire them, ergo they have power over us. We are suddenly, painfully, aware of our vulnerability. What if they leave us? Possessiveness, insecurity, jealousy (taken to the extreme in Fatal Attraction). Gallic charmer Olivier Martinez brought a whole new meaning to the word ‘carpetbagger’ when he was spurned by the deliciously sexy Diane Lane in Unfaithful
Pure, unconditional love is something we feel for our children – as most emotionally healthy parents will recognise. But it’s quite another thing experiencing it for life, for a partner, and I suggest you see The Notebook for a long-term love sob-fest! So, what’s it all about then?
“Love explains love,” announced Rumi sagely – as only he can. And he has a point. Why try to explain something as inexplicable, intangible and wonderful anyway?