The public parts of my notebook.
It is trite to say that Hollywood romances are trite. One of the interesting things they tell us is how little story matters, but how important narrative is. Stories are just events and causality. Narratives are meaning. The director can make meaning from the exciting new person, the reliable ex, a character’s sacrifice of their ideals for their beloved, a character staying true to themselves. And, really, when we say “meaning”, we are talking about order. Things being as they should be.
What Hollywood can’t do is complexity. Perfection, in whatever event it is found, must be simple. Two lovers must be of one mind as they turn together into their shared, final moment. All idealised romances peak in a perfect moment and then end. That moment might be eternal, but there are definitely no new moments afterwards. If you don’t stop the story, you have to return to imperfection.
It’s just about a man and a woman who are friends and who kind of fancy each other. It’s about what might have been. It’s about flirting, but always maintaining deniability. It’s about physical affection that is both sexual and not meant to go anywhere.