Dilemma of Contemporary Romance

Contemporary Romance

Admittedly I have been known to binge on contemporary romance, the literature kind and the movies. However, I at least try to find the well-written kind. Despite this, when I was discussing my secret love of contemporary romance with one of my closest friends, she told me she despised it, and found it boring and unrealistic.

This was my first pause for thought; unrealistic. It had me wondering, what do we call a realistic romance? Do we want to read/watch a ‘realistic’ romance? Or do we want to be wooed and blown away?


Recently I just watched Love and Other Drugs which stars Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal. The film has a 6.7 / 10 rating on IMDB and was nominated for 2 Golden Globe awards. So it appears the film is being taken seriously in the movie industry?

Yet, it still appears to have such a mixed response. Some hail it as being a champion of the romance-comedy genre with the take on Anne Hathaway an individual suffering from Parkinson’s being well portrayed and provocative, whilst others claim its another mindless romance, filled with crude language, sex scenes and being a typical plot line of a sick girl falling for a bad-boy. Why is it we get such mixed reviews?


Personally, I think there comes pros and cons from every contemporary romance film, which again, is based on personal preference. However, is the media designed to project moral messages and ideals to us even if overlaid with fun, flirty and flighty behaviour? Or is it supposed to be some strict, moral message in a boring fashion? Honestly, I do not believe many people would listen to something they perceived as being dull and boring. At least Love and Other Drugs manages to show by the end of the film, a steady, loving relationship where you can stand by somebody and care for them can be more fulfilling than a casual fling. It represents many values that I think are important, and is that really a bad thing? Even if it includes sex and naked skin, is that not again something that human beings want to see?

Obviously there are times in reading a book, or watching a film where you think “if only that happened in real life” because I do not think many times you will get a guy chasing after you down the street to declare his love, or driving across the country, or chasing you to the airport as I recently witnessed on an old episode of Friends when Ross Geller raced to the airport after Rachel Green. I mean, it would be nice, but when it came down to it, I think if somebody did such a thing for me, I would laugh or be awkward and not know how to react. However, I think I like reading these declarations of love and thinking maybe somewhere, somebody does such things because it makes me feel happy, and that is why I read right, to have my emotions played on, to be entertained and made smile? I want my main love interests to wooo me, to draw me in.


I want an Augustus Green (The Fault in Our Stars) to be there for me…

“I’ll fight it. I’ll fight it for you. Don’t you worry about me, Hazel Grace. I’m okay. I’ll find a way to hang around and annoy you for a long time.” I was crying. But even then he was strong. holding me tight so that I could see the sinewy muscles of his arms wrapped around me …”

I want a Levi (Fangirl) who will hang around my roommate’s room to see me, to walk me home in the dark, to tease me, to bring me out of my shell…

“I mean…” Levi leaned forward, hands still fisted in his pockets. “I mean, I spent four months trying to kiss you and the last six weeks trying to figure out how I managed to fuck everything up. All I want now is to make it right, to make you see how sorry I am and why you should give me another chance. And I just want to know—are you rooting for me? Are you hoping I pull this off?”

“I’m rooting for you,” she whispered. She wasn’t even sure he could hear her from the bed.

Levi’s smile broke free and devoured his whole face. It started to devour her face, too. Cath had to look away.”

I want myself a Finn the Robot (The Mad Scientist’s Daughter) who is smart and heartfelt.

“I can’t tell you what it means to be the only one of my kind,” he said. “I can’t… There is a lack in myself. But your thesis almost filled it in. It was… a start.”

Even a little bit of Vlad the Impaler (Night Prince Series) to melt a woman’s heart…

“No one feels like you do, so every brush of your skin is a cruel reminder of what I’ve lost. I can barely stand the sight of you because you’re more beautiful than I’ve allowed myself to remember, and when I cut that wire off Maximus and smelled you all over him, I wanted to kill him more than I’ve wanted to kill anyone in my life, yet I couldn’t because of my promise to you.”

These are just a few of the many fictional crushes, and there are probably many more, but these are a few of the more recent ones. Who are your fictional crushes? (because I severely hope I am not alone in my love of fictional characters *slinks away to hide in a corner* if I am). I’m going to leave you with one of the most iconic moments in film history and an all time favourite romance of mine, this film will always have a special place in my heart.



Filed under Contemporary, Rambles, Romance

19 responses to “Dilemma of Contemporary Romance

  1. I admit to being a hopeless romantic! I do believe in true love and all that. I feel like I had that epic romance with my husband and every day that he makes me feel like that all over again! I don’t think it is unrealistic in these books, exaggerated maybe but it certainly feels that epic when you find the person who you were meant to be with for the first time. That is just my point of view! I think whoever you marry should make you feel that way and remind you of it daily!

    • Livvy @The Absent Historian

      Awww that is like the cutest thing ever. I definitely agree with you about marrying somebody that makes you feel like that every day, and I aspire to hopefully (far off future) be one of those couples. You guys are so great together from what I see.

  2. I’m part cynic and part hopeless romantic so I feel ya. I think a contemporary movie/book can both make you swoon AND send a great message.
    I haven’t watched Love and Other Drugs but I like the sound of it. A great movie can challenge your views and prettily packaged at the same time if done well.

    Like Alisa said , I think most of us DO want an epic romance. 🙂

    • Livvy @The Absent Historian

      I hope you like Love and Other Drugs if you get around to reading it. But I like you are probably on a similar level of cynic and hopeless romantic.

  3. Oh I loved Levi too! And Cricket from Lola and the Boy Next Door. I’m with you on every point. I guess some things I watch/read aren’t going to be super realistic and relatable when it comes to me personally because I’m pretty awkward as well, but I just love to witness them in other media! I’m a sucker for sweet romances.

    • Livvy @The Absent Historian

      I am glad to hear I am not alone, and yes, I just read Lola and the Boy Next Door and fell in love with Cricket! He was a great character.

  4. Faye M.

    I’m not an expert in this subject as I rarely watch contemporary romance films, or even those rom-coms as people call them, but I think a film has done its job as long as it was able to portray love beautifully, whether it be from a romance that was a slow-burn, or one that happened through love at first sight. Like take the Titanic – it’s not “realistic”, not really. You don’t see that kind of scenario often, and it’s a once-in-a-blue-moon that a rich girl falls for a poor guy, but every audience member that watched it knows that their love for each other was something universal that everyone could relate to.

    Sorry if I rambled!! XD Great discussion post nonetheless!

    Faye at The Social Potato

    • Livvy @The Absent Historian

      No, I like hearing what people think, and I totally agree, these situations do not always happen, but love is relatable and means people can always hope!

  5. Honestly, I’m not too big a fan of contemporary romance, I’m afraid. It’s just not my genre. In fact, I’ve seen the movie but I don’t remember much about it, which means it didn’t leave any lasting impression. But I would like a Sean Kendrick of my own, if possible. (“I won’t be your weakness, Sean Kendrick.” “It’s too late for that, Puck”) I guess my heart is not all black and cynical after all. 🙂

    • Livvy @The Absent Historian

      I was honestly never a big fan, but I have become much more drawn into it lately. It is not for everything, and I do not think anyone’s heart is all black and cynical, but maybe I am too optimistic..

  6. I don’t read contemporary romance too often, but when I do, I also seek out well-written ones. To me those kinds of reads depend heavily on the characters carrying the story, and if I can’t get invested in their lives in some way, then I’m probably not going to care for the book. I think Stephanie Perkins excels at writing characters who are down-to-earth and funny and engaging, and that’s why I’ve loved her books so much.

    • Livvy @The Absent Historian

      Yes, I definitely agree. Stephanie Perkins is an author who I tried for the first time the other week and I consumed the first two books in her series. I am saving Isla for a short period of time, to savour it!

  7. I pick up contemporary romance with the idea of it being entertainment and much of it rooted in fantasy. I think if you expect real life romance to play out like the books, you’ll be sorely disappointed. That’s not saying that real life romance is dim and pale in comparison, just different. There is love shown by doing thoughtful things like going to the grocery store for your mate or paying the bills! Seriously, day in and day out stuff like that shows that you care. Once in a while I do get grand gestures that could be in a romance novel and I appreciate them immensely, but I don’t expect them on a daily basis. Great post here, Livvy. 🙂

    • Livvy @The Absent Historian

      I think if we expected grand gestures of romance every day, the world would be crazy. Although they might be nice, I do agree its the small things that mount up and show people care, like inquiring about your day, cooking tea etc etc. I guess you are right about contemporary romance almost being rooted in fantasy.

  8. I may have squealed a bit at the mention of FRIENDS. ❤ (Not a big Ross fan, but I love the show as a whole.)

    I definitely love contemporary romance (and well, romance novels in general) and I don't really notice much when a book/character is 'unrealistic' when it comes to contemporary books. Usually, as long as the guy is NOT a bad boy/ganster/etc, I'm totally fine with it. xD

    Definitely agree with Augustus, Levi and Vlad being bookish crushes! <33

    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings

    • Livvy @The Absent Historian

      Yes, recently just got into friends and become quite a little bit obsessed! Yeah, I think I have to say I do not always notice when the book is not so contemporary!
      Thanks for dropping by!

  9. I definitely think that readers generally prefer unrealistic romance just because reading about the dullness of everyday life wouldn’t be all that fun, however my problem is that contemporary anything is TOO realistic, I want dragons or spaceships 😉

  10. Pingback: Flashback Friday #1 | The Absent Historian

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