In tales of love and romance there are always two sides in which the story can be told in the first person. The relevant details are those of each side's sensibility, and I find that some stories, beyond the plot and the characters' development, are a study on female or male sensibility.
read the book or watch one of its many adaptations) focuses so much on female's point of view that men in the story don't have a page for themselves in which the action is developing. It is left to the female characters to find out, sometimes by happenstance, what they did when they weren't looking.
This has two interesting consequences. One, it allows for delicious rereads given that unimportant details turn out to be crucial clues. Other, most men find those stories boring and a little pointless and only watch (or read) them to please a lady.
500 days of Summer is a story of love told from the male's point of view. Tom is head over heels for Summer but she dumps him, he's heartbroken and can't understand what went wrong.
I watched it with my husband and when it finished, I asked him what he thought about it.
- She was a witch, was his veredict, she played with his feelings and tossed him to a trash bin when she found someone better.
- He was a dummy, was mine. He pushed her and didn't want to listen when she said she wasn't in love with him.
While I haven't watched it again, it gave me some good food for thought on what men and women (at least of certain age and from certain places) believe are the signs of love in a relationship.
Before sunrise and Before sunset are a delicious tandem of stories where the characters don't take clues to act. They almost don't do anything at all but talk and talk, and that's where the interesting stuff happens. One needs to be very attentive to the dialog and not miss one line, or the magic is gone. The very same people nine years apart, open their hearts and go over the good and the bad and somehow they manage to touch every persons' story.
I believe it is completely impossible not to identify with Jesse or Céline at one point of another. They are what you are, were or wanted to be at some point of your life. A male friend of mine says both films are incredibly romantic and are marketed as such. But I disagree. I'd say they are about relationships, but not exactly romance.
Having the chance to borrow glasses to see love and romance through eyes that aren't mine is a priceless experience. And so romantic too.