It’s Rom-Com Week! And I couldn’t be more excited to share my three favorite rom-coms and how they’re symbolic of real life relationship situations.
Today we’re looking at Chantry and Wallace in What If and how the film uses flirting to accurately develop a romantic relationship. If you haven’t seen the film, it’s on Amazon Prime Instant Video. You’ll derive more enjoyment, of course, if you go cuddle up with your guy, girl, cat, or dog, watch the movie, then come back here to finish reading.
My love for the film What If is easily the most recent and the most inauspicious. My wife and I were looking through movies on the big glowing rectangle. As we passed by, she said she had been wanting to see What If. I grumbled a bit because it had Danielle Radcliffe in it. Then we watched it, unsuspecting that it would be so great.
I guess it’s time we talked about this. I simply do not like Daniel Radcliffe as an actor. His performance is always so wooden and stiff, and even though I know that’s his schtick, it doesn’t make it easier to watch. Most of the time he just ends up looking creepy. I didn’t like him in Harry Potter or the Woman in Black or the incredibly terrible Horns. Yet he was tolerable in this film. Why is that?
I believe that credit falls on exactly one person. Zoe Kazan, the actor of Chantry. Much like Jesse Eisenberg, a talented actor, could get Kristen Stewart out of her shell in Adventureland and American Ultra, I believe Daniel Radcliffe is effectively playing off of Zoe Kazan in this film.
Also, well, Zoe Kazan is cute.
Oh crap, hold on, my wife edits these in post-production.
*several hours later*
Umm, okay, Nikki says I can talk about this as long as I’m making a good point about this. Yes, the actor playing Chantry is very attractive, but she’s also cute in another sense. She banters constantly, and it’s so obviously flirting from the perspective of the audience, and yet she does it with everyone. Even her friends acknowledge that Chantry has a peculiar way of talking to people, regardless of her personal attraction towards people. In fact, I honestly don’t think Chantry believes she is flirting.
Constructing Chantry’s character like this allows the audience to accept her as an intelligent person with a lot of personality, rather than a shameless flirt who just wants attention. In short, Chantry is shown to be very intelligent, and a fine animator to boot. Hey, cool, that’s my field! Additionally, I actually see much of myself in Chantry, as I like to establish a witty repartee with new acquaintances, male or female.
Wallace, then, is a good character for the audience to live vicariously through. It’s a rare moment where a slightly wooden portrayal is an advantage. He is always attempting to stay one step ahead of Chantry and failing each and every time. He’s not dumb by any means, but where Chantry is graded an A in most categories – intelligence, sense of humor, confidence – Wallace falls around the B minus range.
We know he has what it takes to accomplish his goals in the medical field, and we even see him make some achievements, but he’s always wrestling with commitment issues which dial back his potential. His best friend has to goad him towards trying to establish how he feels with Chantry, even resorting to playing a rather cruel joke on them. One of Wallace’s ex-girlfriends prevents him from finalizing his medical degree. And he literally has to get punched in he face by Chantry’s fiance to spur him towards finally telling her how he feels.
I think we all have a little bit of Wallace in us, honestly, and it’s what makes the characterization of this movie so great. The film represents the yin and yang of human nature. Chantry is our confidence, and Wallace is our tentativeness.
Furthermore, I love this movie because it reminds me of the early days of the relationship with my wife. Much like Wallace and Chantry, from the moment Nikki and I met, we had this unique wordplay about us. We even played 20 questions to get to know each other. We adored talking to each other, and any awkwardness was mitigated by the fact that we could make each other smile and laugh. We’re still like that, honestly, and it couldn’t be better. Events happened in our life which led us apart from each other and into other relationships, then back together again until we solidified an amazing relationship and eventually marriage.
Wednesday we’ll be covering (500) Days of Summer and what happens when relationships take a turn for the bittersweet. Finally, on Friday, we’ll be looking at my favorite rom-com of all time, Away We Go, and how true to life it sets up its premise.
To me, each of the films represent a set of realities of sorts. What If is the reality that sometimes relationships spark in unsuspecting times and in untypical ways. (500) Days of Summer is the reality that, despite the components of love being there, sometimes a future just doesn’t work out. Away We Go, then, is reality when two in-love people attempt to conquer life together.
Have you seen this movie? If so, how did you like it? Am I being way too praising of an average rom-com? The critics seem to think so, but I want your take. Also, what is your favorite rom-com, and what did you love about it? I’ll see you Wednesday for (500) Days of Summer.