Tuesday, 16 December 2008
Hollywood romantic comedies give “unrealistic expectations”
of relationships and could ruin people’s lives, scientists
have warned today.
Researchers claim that romantic comedies often portray
an idealistic view of the ‘perfect’ relationship and
blur the reality of the need to invest time and energy.
Unsurprisingly the study shows that fans of films,
such as Sleepless in Seattle, frequently failed to communicate
successfully with their other half.
Bjarne Holmes, a psychologist, led the research at
Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.
He said a common theme which ran through the films
included the idea of a pre-destined “soul mate” who
should know us instinctively so well they could “almost
read our minds”.
Mr Holmes said: “Marriage counsellors often see couples
who believe that sex should always be perfect, and if
someone is meant to be with you then they will know
what you want without you needing to communicate it.”
He went on to warn: “We now have some emerging evidence
that suggests popular media play a role in perpetuating
these ideas in people’s minds.
“The problem is that while most of us know that the
idea of a perfect relationship is unrealistic, some
of us are still more influenced by media portrayals
than we realise.”
Another researcher on the study, Kimberly Johnson,
commented: “Films do capture the excitement of new relationships
but they also wrongly suggest that trust and committed
love exist from the moment people meet, whereas these
are qualities that normally take years to develop.”
For more comprehensive findings, the researchers have
now launched a larger international study into the effects
of media on relationships.
Earlier this year a realistic Christian movie about
long-term commitment in marriage surprised critics and
exceeded all box office expectations to reach number
four in the US movie charts.
The film, Fireproof, focuses on the importance of learning
to love unconditionally in marriage, especially when
the going gets tough.
In the movie US television star Kirk Cameron plays
Caleb Holt, a fireman, whose marriage is disintegrating.
Rather than pursuing a divorce, Caleb is challenged
to win his wife back using Christian teaching which
coaches married couples to love one another unconditionally.
See also Telegraph
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