The Romantic Comedy Genre

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Bryce Fechner
Professor Tom Sobchack
FILM 4210
8 May 2014
FILM 4210 Final Paper
The romantic comedy genre, although widely seen throughout the last few decades, has existed for quite some time. Its prevalence and predictability have often been parodied but the genre’s popularity and box office success can not be denied. Some of the earliest incarnations of romantic comedy form appear in literature, Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream for example. The genre has been prevalent in film ever since the technology’s inception. Popular examples from that time include Girl Shy (1924) and Trouble in Paradise (1932). The three films discussed in this paper all fall into the category of romantic comedy and are each unique in their own way. When Harry Met Sally... (1989) is a film that succeeded both commercially and critically despite its conventional structure. Annie Hall (1977) added an element of seriousness to the genre and experimented with the format through its non-linear storytelling. Silver Linings Playbook (2012) explored the topic of mental health through each of its main characters and the effect it has on their relationship makes the story very compelling. Each of these films are critically acclaimed with a total of nine Academy Award nominations and five wins between the three of them, including best picture. They illustrate that, in spite of the numerous failures and flaws of the romantic comedy film, there is still the possibility to innovate and excel within this multifaceted genre.
(It is important that a working understanding of these films is established to give some context for the paper, so I will provide a brief synopsis of each one before continuing on with a deeper discussion of it.) When Harry Met Sally... foll...

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...on follows, coupled with a vow to stay together come what may. However, their separate discussions with their therapists make it evident there is an unspoken divide. When Alvy accepts an offer to present an award on television, they fly out to Los Angeles, with Alvy's friend, Rob (Tony Roberts). However, on the return trip, they agree that their relationship is not working. After losing her to her record producer, Tony Lacey (Paul Simon), he unsuccessfully tries rekindling the flame with a marriage proposal. Back in New York, he stages a play of their relationship but changes the ending: now she accepts.
The last meeting for them is a wistful coda on New York's Upper West Side, when they have both moved on to someone new. Alvy's voice returns with a summation: love is essential, especially if it is neurotic. Annie torches "Seems Like Old Times" and the credits roll.

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