Bad Romance: The Least Convincing Love Stories On Film

Carol – the film of the year; nominated for everything; 94% on rotten tomatoes; rave reviews; Cate Blanchett; Rooney Mara; a vaguely Christmas-looking set. Carol – the film that has it all. Except that the two main characters have some of the worst chat in love’s history. Admittedly, there’s no accounting for the strength of body language and what’s left unsaid, but some good stuff has to actually be said in order to create a great love story. Do these script lines read burning passion to you?

Carol’s opening line: “What was your favourite doll when you were four?”
Therese: “Me? I never… Not many, to be honest.”

Carol: “What do you do on Sundays?
Therese: “Nothing in particular, what do you do?
Carol: “Oh, nothing.”

There’s the critical car scene where Carol says something about how much she loves snow [it is snowing at the time] then a couple of beers and a loose dressing gown later, it’s the sauciest affair of 2015. IS IT?

Oscar Wilde said “You get married to continue the conversation.” At least I thought that’s what he said, but it appears what he actually said was: “Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or in friendship, is conversation”. Who knew you could effectively paraphrase Oscar Wilde, the point being: in matters of the heart, conversation matters, at least as much as a good director and good actors matter. All too often we as viewers are seduced by sexy directing and witty editing and end up mistaking style for love.

Carol is remarkably well acted and directed, and the overflowing nominations are proof of that, but, but, but, there’s not even a barrel scrape of banter; in fact the only joke they share is when, this one time, Carol runs out of cigarettes. I’m all for subtlety and subtext, but, for real, if this is the height of love, I’m applying for a human emotion refund.

Here are four more so-called love stories based on the definition of awkward chat.