I found this article through a friend's Facebook page: Amy Adams' 'Leap Year': What Hollywood Gets Wrong About Women and Marriage, and I thought it was really funny and true. (I also saw the trailer, although I was mostly impressed by how over-the-top contrived the scenario was.) Why is there this idea in film that all women turn into maniacs around marriage? Age, life experience, and personality don't seem to matter-- show us a ring (not even a ring-- a ring box) and we go batshit crazy. What's the idea behind this portrayal? Like film portrayals of sex, I wonder how much life imitates "art" (if "Leap Year" can be considered art) in the arena of marriage as well. If we didn't frequently see it in movies, would women still be expected to squee, squee, and squee some more over every detail of our friends' wedding plans? Would there be so much pressure to plan intricate, expensive, and flawless weddings?
There's also this common idea in movies that the most attractive men are lurking in the most unlikely places. However, rural towns aren't exactly hotbeds of 30-something men.
Yeah Matthew Goode, grow a scruffy beard...you're not fooling anyone. In The Holiday, Jude Law was located in a small English town. And a helpful reader also suggested New In Town, Hope Floats, and Baby Boom as featuring undiscovered rural men right here in my home country (I guess Harry Connick Jr. isn't especially worried about getting typecast). I know there are exceptions, but there's a hefty chance that despite the attraction between them, an urban woman and a country guy (why is the man always the country one?) probably wouldn't have much in common in the real world. However, in films, we only see the beginnings of these relationships and rarely, if ever, how they progress over time. (There's also the question: Why is the only attractive man in town still single?)
I lived in a rural town for a time, and I do miss a few things about it. The limited number of choices available was liberating in a way, as I wrote about here. However, would an urban woman, who is used to choosing between a panoply of options in every area of her life, really be content with a small town's one eligible man? Maybe these movies are speaking to the part of us that's tired of being overwhelmed with choices. I might be giving these movies more credit for depth than I should, but it's a thought.
(Addendum: After I wrote the second part of this post, I found that the author of the "Leap Year" article has also written about the Harry Connick Jr. phenomenon...here, if you're interested. It's a funny coincidence that we both thought to write about the idea independently, but we did.)