This post will contain minor spoilers for Once. Just so you know.
Last week, I went with my husband to see Once. It premiered here in Salt Lake at the Sundance Film Festival, so its release got some promotion in the area, and we thought the trailer looked intriguing.
I loved it. It was beautiful and heart-wrenching and perfect.
In the romance genre, a HEA is required. And that means the Hero is with the Heroine, and there's some sort of promise of commitment. An engagement, a wedding, declarations of love, maybe a baby. If it doesn't have the HEA, it could be lots of other genres: erotica, a love story, mainstream, women's fiction, horror, thriller, etc. But it cannot be a romance. People who don't like this definition always bring up Gone with the Wind and Romeo and Juliet, and then I have to stop my fists of RAGE. Romeo and Juliet is many things, but it is not a romance.
Once is many things, but it is not a romance.
In many ways, I wish I could write like that. I know how the dynamics in a romance is supposed to work, but it was unfolded so perfectly on the screen that it sort of reminded me. But...the movie isn't a romance. That's fine. It doesn't have to be. The relationship between the two leads is real and powerful and honest. If I could write one story that felt that honest, I'd feel like my job has been done.
Another recent movie that inspired me, believe it or not, is Hot Fuzz. A movie could not be more different from Once, (it's even a romance by the standards of the genre) except, it also featured a relationship that felt very real, and very honest to me. Something universal and personal at the same time. Nobody will ever have a relationship like that, yet, thousands of people do every day.
Books work the same, of course, but honestly, I haven't been reading as much as I should have. Movies are the most accessible thing to me right now. Which books or movies, or even television shows, feature relationships that have that spark of honesty? That spark of the personal and the universal? Do you use them for inspiration?