By Haley Chi-Sing
For decades, romantic comedies have held a special place in our hearts. Despite the dozens of romantic comedies released every year, only a few have gone down in history as “classics.” Every week, “Love at First Sight” will highlight a classic romantic comedy, picking out a few important lessons it conveys and how they apply to all of our lives
The ‘80s and ‘90s were the peak of romantic comedies and produced some of the best classic romantic comedies out there. That’s why, for the third week in a row, I have decided to choose another movie from the past century: 1984’s “Romancing the Stone.”
1. You never know where life will lead you.
Writer Joan Wilder thought she had her life completely mapped out — she was a successful author, she had the only friend she really needed in her publisher and she was perfectly fine living in her New York City apartment with her cat Romeo. Although her publisher was slightly concerned about her lackadaisical approach to love, Joan was perfectly fine going through life with a “hopeless romantic” state of mind.
It wasn’t until she received the ominous letter and phone call from her sister in Colombia that her whole life and trajectory were changed. All of a sudden, she was thrown in a situation most people would run from without a second thought. Instead, despite being scared out of her mind, Joan put everything in her life on hold to travel to Colombia and help her sister.
Although we may have a set plan or route in mind about what we may be doing five or 10 years from now, none of it really matters when a curveball is thrown at us. I’m not saying “don’t plan ahead” or “don’t look to the future,” especially since I am the type of person who plans things way in advance, but don’t invest your time in one set image or plan because anything can happen in life.
2. It’s alright to be a little skeptical
Joan was always sure that just waiting was the way to find love. She thought that, some day, she would meet “the one” and everything would fall into place. This mindset was partly due to the fact that she was a romance novelist and practically lived for the gushy, cute romance stories, but let’s be real.
Joan wholeheartedly believed she would, one day, find the perfect person for her. As a result, she didn’t believe in simply having a relationship just to have one.
We are allowed to have dreams and a certain image painted in our minds in regard to our futures and prospects, not specifically relationships. But, we must not converge this idea with our standards in life. We should always have standards and expectations in everything we do and come across, they give us a goal to work toward and a success to triumph in the end.
3. You have to trust.
In an attempt to lose her sister’s kidnapper and the Colombian police, Joan and Jack drive their car into the river, getting caught up in the current, and are thrown over a waterfall. During all of the chaos, Joan and Jack end up on either side of the raging river with no means of coming together.
Jack ends up with the gem that Joan needs to free her sister from the kidnappers. He promises to meet her at the hotel and hand over the precious gem, but Joan does not believe him. She refuses to believe he will stay true to his word despite his loyalty up until that point in the film.
With no other choice but to give in, Joan decides to trust him and makes her way to the hotel, in the hopes Jack will come through with his promise. Fortunately (spoiler alert), he does, but what if Joan had decided not to trust him? The film would have probably taken a completely different path.
Although in some situations trusting others could potentially put us at risk, sometimes it is the only option. Putting ourselves at risk is the only option in order to succeed, and we must trust that the other person is on the same page as us. Although it may seem hard at that very moment in time, taking the risk to trust may turn out to be your saving grace.
4. “Don’t be sad it’s over, be happy because it happened.”
At the end of the film, Joan is seen in her publisher’s office with her publisher weeping over the final draft of her most recent novel. However, what her publisher isn’t aware of is the fact that these exact words are simply a recant of Joan’s adventure with Jack in Colombia. Joan remains silent but smiles as she remembers each and every moment with Jack as her publisher finishes reading aloud.
As cliché as this phrase is, it’s wholeheartedly true: “Don’t be sad it’s over, be happy because it happened.” Although Joan was never truly able to say goodbye to Jack, it is the memories she will forever hold in her heart.
While we may wish to go back in time to specific points in our lives, the unfortunate truth is, we can’t. Instead of reviling over the happy moments that have passed, remember the joy they brought you at that moment.