We read about it in books (like Pride and Prejudice) which inspire heartfelt sighs. We smile over the interplay between Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in To Have and Have Not, but can those illusions (and romantic novels and movies are illusions) interfere with real life because, although there are exceptions, it mostly ain't how it works out.
He's Just Not That Into You, a movie currently on HBO and available through Netflix, did a good job showing romantic illusions through several stories of relationships at different stages.
It's not that romantic love is a bad thing unless we become confused with what it really does. Romantic love is a lot of fun (and angst). It inspires beginnings but grows into something else if the relationship is going to last. Unfortunately in our world, expectations for what that will be and how it will last get confused. The illusions are encouraged not only by movies and books but also advertisements.
He's Just Not That Into You is based on a non-fiction book, which came out a few years ago, written by a story editor working on Sex and the City who was frustrated with how often he heard women saying things that worked against their own best interests. That inspired his writing to set it straight-- as he saw it.
When I mentioned the film to my daughter, she said-- and it all starts in grade school. I laughed because that is exactly how the film shows it to be.
The cast is Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Scarlett Johansson, Justin Long, Jennifer Connelly, Kevin Connolly, Mandy Moore, and Bradley Cooper with an assortment of other characters having some of the funniest lines. The film does a good job of illustrating the traps into which so many fall.
From He's Just Not That Into You:
Gigi: Girls are taught a lot of stuff growing up. If a guy punches you he likes you. Never try to trim your own bangs and someday you will meet a wonderful guy and get your very own happy ending. Every movie we see, Every story we're told implores us to wait for it, the third act twist, the unexpected declaration of love, the exception to the rule. But sometimes we're so focused on finding our happy ending we don't learn how to read the signs. How to tell from the ones who want us and the ones who don't, the ones who will stay and the ones who will leave. And maybe a happy ending doesn't include a guy, maybe... it's you, on your own, picking up the pieces and starting over, freeing yourself up for something better in the future. Maybe the happy ending is... just... moving on. Or maybe the happy ending is this, knowing after all the unreturned phone calls, broken-hearts, through the blunders and misread signals, through all the pain and embarrassment you never gave up hope.