How are almost all Christmas rom-coms the same? Why do we still find ourselves watching these movies year after year? Read on to understand.
‘Tis the season of Christmas rom-coms and we’re here to consume the mostly white, straight, privileged perspectives baked into a huge gingerbread cultural phenomenon.
Here’s an overused plot: Big city girl vying for the big promotion at her big-city job is sent to a small town for a week. Here, she falls in love with a small-town boy with a low-key, but hearty job. Their love story starts with the two disliking and mocking each other, and concludes with a declaration of love and a kiss in the snow, aka, a career woman giving up her life’s work immediately after one kiss. Switch this guy with a young prince and there you go! five more movies.
Here are descriptions of some recent Christmas rom-coms:
1. Christmas Wonderland
When Heidi returns home to watch her niece and nephew, she comes face to face with her high school love. Heidi offers to help him with a dance, and the more time she spends decorating, the more she finds herself inspired to start painting again.
2. Christmas Inheritance
Before ambitious heiress, Ellen Langford, can inherit her father’s business; she must deliver a special Christmas card to her dad’s former partner in Snow Falls. When a snowstorm strands her at the town inn, she discovers the true gift of Christmas.
3. A Christmas Prince
Christmas comes early for an aspiring young journalist when she’s sent abroad to get the scoop on a dashing prince who’s poised to be King.
How do each of these movies end? You know it. Even the posters of these movies feature the same elements- the protagonists wearing red and green and standing in front of a quintessential winter scene. It’s only the scenes that change. The former editor of io9.com, Rob Bricken wrote, “Watching these movies is like drinking dozens of different types of Chardonnay: They’re all the same wine, but they all have subtle differences and bouquets and flavor profiles.”
These movies are predominantly white (we’re getting there but it’s still a long way to home), show heterosexual binary genders’ romantic arcs, and are ideal to a fault. If your political bent is progressive, these plots can create a certain discomfort. But with all these obvious problems pointed out, why do these movies still work?
A simple answer here is the guarantee of a happy ending full of love. Rob Bricken wrote, “After a shitty day at the hospital, or a shitty day of work, or a shitty day on planet Earth, we eventually realized how nice it was to come home and have this block on our DVR. These movies would not make us feel concerned or stressed, challenge us or fail to provide a happy ending. [They] became a warm, cozy blanket for our brains to get comfy and sleepy under.”
Another reason why we keep coming for more is that, in a country like India, we don’t have much to do on Christmas. Parties and gifts only last for so long. Here, where Christians are a minority, our ideas, and understanding of Christmas are very linked to what we see on screen. The ‘Christmas Miracle’ is more likely to be observed on-screen than experienced in real life. These movies thus give us a chance to celebrate Christmas longer than just opening gifts in the morning and eating plum cake at night.
Since we cannot keep our hands off this gingerbread house, producers keep giving us more and more of the same to mint money. After all, is the festive season also not capitalism blowing horns periodically to announce the arrival of one day of a year?
- A Guide to Christmas Movies
- How to Celebrate Christmas in Delhi
- 5 Songs That Remind You That Christmas is Here
Feature Image Credits: Minnetonka Breezes
Kashvi Raj Singh