The return of the Rom-Com

After a full year of superhero movies, the classic love story returns to the silver screen.

Photo courtesy of | Crazy Rich Asians took over the box office the week of its release, bringing in $120 million in its first weekend alone. The movie ended up being in the top ten largest films of the summer and was celebrated for diversity. 

The drought of romantic comedies that we endured the entire year of 2017 left us to face the reality of our lackluster love lives of college. No new or “original” rom-coms made reality inescapable. OK, that was dramatic, but still, there was not even one classic romantic comedy worth noting throughout the whole year. Not even Reese Witherspoon’s attempt in a so-called romantic comedy was enough in 2017, and she’s an essential to some of the best rom-coms. We went a whole year without thinking that it was possible to fall in love with your worst enemy or a guy that you have a bet with, and 2017 suffered from it.

Romantic comedies have been a staple of the entertainment industry for decades. The classic storylines of love triangles or friends that just happen to be in love have kept us optimistic for years. My first great love in life was Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You and I would definitely be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed when my high school boyfriend didn’t interrupt my practice with a song asking me to homecoming.

The totally unrealistic and slightly frustrating turn of events in rom-coms is what keeps us going. Luckily for us, the nineties and early two thousands are making a strong comeback, so we at least have the best classics to watch. Although I would argue there is hardly a limit to how many times you can watch Pretty Woman, it’s sometimes nice to throw in a new movie. So, in 2017, when we were universally deprived of “original” rom-coms, we were all left wondering why.

Modern times have called for modern adaptations. 2017’s only slightly successful attempt at a romantic comedy was The Big Sick. The story followed a Pakistani man and a White woman’s love despite cultural and health difficulties that the two faced. The film was not released in major theatres, but the film was wildly popular among critics; one article in The New York Times calls romantic comedies a “moribund subgenre” in film, but The Big Sick was an exception to that opinion.

Nonetheless, just when we were starting to give up on rom-coms, 2018 arrived. The classic genre has seemed to take over popular films of the summer and continues to control conversation. Netflix originals The Kissing Booth, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Sierra Burgess Is a Loser have been hot topics on social media all summer. The easy access that Netflix allows is appealing to a younger audience and bringing back the classic, cheesy rom-com that we all know and love.

One of the more modern rom-coms that we’ve seen in 2018 is Crazy Rich Asians. The Chinese-American film brings the most classic elements of fairy-tale life that makes us love rom-coms so much. There’s over-the-top luxury, unquestioned true love and a funny cast of supportive friends. But it is groundbreaking in the film industry as one of the only popular movies in America to date with an almost all-Asian cast. This modern film brings together our nostalgic love of rom-coms with the new diversity that young America loves.

I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for a good rom-com. I know how unrealistic and repetitive they are, and I’m fully aware that if I said even a third of the things that Emma Stone did in Crazy, Stupid, Love that I would have to transfer schools out of embarrassment. But there’s something comforting in watching a love story unfold before you. Rom-coms have been the best therapist I could ask for some nights. 2018 is the year that the romantic comedy made its comeback, and I hope that they are here to stay.

By: Sydney Sanders | Head Photo Editor