True love - noun. A plot device used between romantic partners allowing an audience to suspend their disbelief at the disproportionate level of a person's actions.
Frozen - noun. A Disney movie that employs the true love device.
Love (true or otherwise) - verb. It grows out of the characters' journey, their struggles, conflicts, reconciliations, and teamwork. It always involves sacrifice that is based, not on some faith in fate, but out of a genuine desire to put another person's well-being before their own.
I've been thinking about love, and sacrifice - on account of being a very human feeling it of course raises its beautiful head in even generic pop culture. (We had a great discussion on this yesterday at Emmaus.) But right now, I want to talk about true love.
True love - noun. A plot device used between romantic partners allowing an audience to suspend their disbelief at the disproportionate level of a person's actions. It gives both the characters a prophetic knowledge that their future love is assured by fate, and therefore extreme sacrifice is both applauded and rewarded.
Seldom in movie romances or Hollywood blockbusters as anything more than a device, true love loses no power by context when it actually shows up. I see it between family and friends. It grows out of the characters' journey, their struggles, conflicts, reconciliations, and teamwork. It always involves sacrifice that is based, not on some faith in fate, but out of a genuine desire to put another person's well-being before their own.
Why am I thinking about this?
I know I'm way behind the times, but I just finished watching Disney's new blockbuster, Frozen. Originally I didn't think I'd ever finish it, as the first 20 minutes involve some slogging through ridiculous plot devices, idiotic parental behaviour and boring musical numbers.
But I made it to the other side (things get noticeably better once the reindeer is involved, and Oglaf is remarkably less grating than most comic sidekicks). And Anna's moment of true love, (we know it is true love, because we're told) when she protects her sister at the cost of her own heart, was truly breathtaking.
Not to belittle the moment in Frozen, but the movie certainly wasn't a critically acclaimed film. It got me thinking about other Hollywood blockbusters in which you see this kind of true love. A surprising array of them came to mind, these are my favourite examples.
Sam Witwicky and Optimus Prime in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
Optimus dies trying to keep Sam safe. Sam doesn't say, "OK, I guess we'll have to find another way to kill Megatron, which we can probably do because we outnumber him." He goes on an epic journey to find the one item that he can use to resuscitate his friend and literally dies getting it to him.
Kirk and Spock in Star Trek: Into Darkness
Kirk and Spock have a classic relationship. Despite many internal conflicts as a team, they learn how to understand each other, working together to face their external crises, both making sacrifices for the sake of the other and learning to truly communicate.
Gru and Margo, Edith, & Agnes in Despicable Me.
The whole plot of this movie is that Gru adopts three orphans for the sole purpose of furthering his nefarious plans and abandoning them afterwards. He discards his goal in order to rescue the girls after he realizes that working with them has changed him, that they've become a crucial part of his life's happiness.
Anna and Elsa in Frozen.
Despite being rejected by and physically hurt by her older sister, Anna's realization of her sister's suffering connects her deeper and doesn't foster hate. Eventually she sacrifices her own life to save her sister in an act of true love which saves them both.
Westley and Buttercup in The Princess Bride
These two realize their true love before they are separated. Typical romantic scenarios have both characters working independently to end up together, so the stories lack the teamwork, simultaneous character growth and inner conflict. Because these two spent so much time together and knew each others feelings beforehand, this romantic situation has more depth.
Ducky Dale and Andie Walsh in Pretty in Pink.
Although we know that originally in the script, Ducky and Andie were supposed to get together, the changed ending gives Ducky a chance to show his true love for Andie - by giving her a choice of who she wants to make her happy.