Tag Archives: Julia Roberts

Opinion: Have romcoms lost their spark?

25 years ago, in March 1990, one of the most popular and successful romcoms hit screens across the world, taking in over $11m domestically during its opening weekend and a worldwide lifetime gross of just under $465m.

Classed as Julia Roberts’ first headlining role, the world fell for ‘tart with a heart’ Vivian Ward in Pretty Woman. Roberts took home the Golden Globe for Best Actress and received her first Academy Award nomination for Best Actress while co-star Richard Gere was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Actor.

Together with Meg Ryan, Roberts dominated romcoms during the 1990s, with Ryan starring in such films as Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail and Roberts following up her Pretty Woman success with My Best Friend’s Wedding, Notting Hill and Runaway Bride.


Today, Katherine Heigl, Reese Witherspoon and Rachel McAdams come to mind as being the most prolific romcom actresses, though Witherspoon has successfully diversified, gaining critical success for roles in Walk the Line and Wild.

In terms of actors, Matthew McConaughey, Ryan Gosling and Channing Tatum all have a few romcoms under their belt, though they are now pursuing more comedic, action or dramatic roles.

Story-wise, multiple romance novels by American author Nicholas Sparks have been adapted for film, including The Notebook, Dear John and The Lucky One. These romantic dramas are what McAdams has leaned towards, with the likes of the aforementioned The Notebook adaptation, The Vow and The Time Traveller’s Wife.


As explained previously, fantasy, sci fi and action are my favourite genres, and it’s very rare that I’ll watch a romcom or romantic drama. However, Pretty Woman remains one of the few romcoms that I’ll repeatedly watch; Ryan’s Sleepless in Seattle is another.

While friends around me were going to see 2004’s The Notebook, 16-year-old me refrained, not seeing it until my first year of university a couple of years later. While my housemate cried at the end, like countless people before her, I remained unmoved, as it had become quite obvious to me early on what the outcome was going to be.

I can’t place my finger on it exactly but I feel that romcoms have lost their charm. McAdams has the same winning smile as Roberts and Witherspoon has a similar style as Ryan, but the films they appear in are forgettable.

I’m not anti-romance but I do prefer watching things that stretch your imagination and leave you with lots to think about rather than a warm-and-fuzzy feeling.

Perhaps it’s due to technological advances that the charm has gone.

In Sleepless in Seattle, Ryan’s Annie falls for Tom Hanks’ Sam after hearing him speak on a radio show. She then sends a letter suggesting that they meet up. In today’s society, while Annie might have heard Sam on the radio, she would probably have searched for him online, found him on Facebook or some other social media and then sent him a private message.

That is if she liked the look of his profile, of course.

Today’s rules of dating have changed. It’s not so much the chance meeting seen in Serendipity, though my boyfriend and I did meet in this organic fashion, but more the swipe left/swipe right style of Tinder and other fast-paced mediums.

You can get to know an online version of a person and make a judgement on their personality before physically meeting them.

What do you think? Do you think that today’s romcoms are comparable to my Nineties classics?


[Flirty Friday] My Best Friend’s Wedding and Bridget Jones’s Diary

For my final Flirty Friday post of the month it’s a double bill, catching up on the week that I missed.

When I was younger I bought a best of album packed with all of Burt Bacharach’s classics. Don’t ask my why, I would have been about 13 at the time so should have been buying more modern music!

The album included many songs that have been featured in films, and about five or six songs from the album had featured in the first of today’s films: My Best Friend’s Wedding.

My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)

IMDb: “When a woman’s long-time friend says he’s engaged, she realizes she loves him herself… and sets out to get him, with only days before the wedding.”

My favourite scene from the film features pretty much every member of the cast. In attempt to make her best friend jealous, Julianne, our heroine, asks her gay best friend, George, played by Rupert Everett, to pretend to be her fiancee. George thinks this is a very bad idea and, to embarass Julianne, he decides to start an impromptu rendition of ‘I Say a Little Prayer’.

My next film doesn’t feature any Bacharach, not that I can remember anyway, but it does have plenty of other fantastic songs.

Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

IMDb: “A British woman is determined to improve herself while she looks for love in a year in which she keeps a personal diary.”

Whenever I hear ‘It’s Raining Men’ I think of Bridget Jones’s Diary, and this scene. Quite possibly the worse film fight in the history of cinema, for me it is also one of the best. This is exactly how I expect two middle aged British men would fight.

[Flirty Friday] Pretty Woman

As I wasn’t very well last week and lacked the energy to do anything except sit on the sofa, this week’s edition of Flirty Friday is what I would have posted. Next week will be a double bill to catch up on my lost week.

Pretty Woman (1990)
Dir: Garry Marshall
Starring: Richard Gere, Julia Roberts

IMDb: “A man in a legal but hurtful business needs an escort for some social events, and hires a beautiful prostitute he meets… only to fall in love.”

The first Gere/Roberts offering – they would reunite nine years later for Runaway BridePretty Woman stars Richard Gere as Edward Lewis, a businessman who pays Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts) to escort him to a number of social events.

The film was a box office success and, according to Box Office Mojo, has amassed a worldwide total lifetime gross of $463,406,268 (approx £294,207,522).

It also received many nominations, including a Best Actress in a Leading Role Oscar nomination for Roberts. Though she missed that, she did take did home the Best Actress award at the 48th Golden Globes.

Aside from Gere and Roberts’ chemistry, there is one other reason why I enjoy Pretty Woman so much: Hector Elizondo as the kindly hotel manager Barnard ‘Barney’ Thompson. At first Barney does not take to Vivian, knowing full well that she is a prostitute hired by one of the guests. However, he soon takes her under his wing and teaches her some valuable lessons on how to fit in with Edward’s world, including which cutlery to use and when.

Elizondo would reprise this kindly teacher role again in The Princess Diaries.