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  • Alice Chen, Julia Lin

The Appeal of Teen Romance Movies

Recently, chick flicks, hopeless teen romances, and disease-ridden love stories have been all the rage. From To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and The Fault in Our Stars to the upcoming movies The Sun is Also A Star and Five Feet Apart, girls and guys alike swoon at the sugar sweet scenarios that grace the screen. The Fault in Our Stars, which displays a tragic love story of two cancer-ridden teenagers whose lives were forever altered, has garnered a whopping 307.2 million USD in box office sales, and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before has officially gained the title as one of the “most viewed original films ever with [a] strong repeat viewing” on Netflix. Even the highest-grossing film of all time, domestically and internationally, is a chick-flick: Titanic. The basic plot is simple: a woman chooses between two suitors with the backdrop of a historic tragedy. But, besides the heart-stopping smiles of the stunning leads, why exactly are these movies so appealing?

These movies often depict unrealistic love stories, where characters overcome, or even succumb to, impossible obstacles together and fall in love despite all odds. It’s through watching these movies that people find what they cannot in their real-life romantic relationships. They give viewers the opportunity to experience perfectly imperfect love stories through the characters on the screen, enabling the viewers to feel the exhilarating rush of “falling in love.”

Jonathan Alpert, a psychotherapist in Manhattan, found that the popularity of these romances could be attributed to chemical responses as well as emotional ones. Watching romantic films can trigger the release of hormones that calm viewers and allow them to feel a variety of profound emotions. However, these emotions are not always positive ones. The Fault in Our Stars is wrapped in a sweet melancholy for the duration of the movie. Furthermore, a large part of the story’s appeal is the necessity of many sudden acts of carpe diem in the leads Hazel and Gus’s romance due to their terminal illnesses. According to Dr. Bart Rossi, a clinical psychologist, “forks may be drawn to these movies because they can  emotionally relate to them—even if they haven’t fully experienced the full emotional turmoil of romance, they can still relate to the two main figures and what could happen down the road.”

Besides the few mentioned, there are countless more reasons for the allure of teen romance movies. Girls flock to movie theaters like moths to a lamplight and bears to a beehive when a cheesy romance is playing, but who can blame them? Boys, please do not be ashamed to join them. We know that no one can turn down an emotional rollercoaster with a cry at the end.  

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