I don’t mean to be sappy but I’m currently watching a romantic comedy film that is making me feel all the goodness the world has to offer in 120minutes. It’s a Thursday night and The Nanny Diaries on Amazon Prime seemed a perfect comfort show to help me relax. While I half-heartedly watch the film’s intro and try to mentally unwind from the day’s stress, I’m irresistibly drawn to the voice of and sight of Scarlett Johansson. She looks so young was my first comment when she finally appeared, and I pondered on the last movie – besides Marvel films – that I had watched her in.
During the film, I found myself constantly blushing at the awkward yet cute interactions between Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans. The lighthearted, fresh-of-breath-air plot that many Hollywood romcoms in the 2010s follow, has come to be a perfect recipe for stress relief.
It’s common knowledge that films have subconscious effects on their audience. According to Yale Scientific, movies that direct audience attention with structural devices – i.e narrative, cinematography, sound, mise-en-scene, and editing – are more likely than unstructured videos to elicit brain synchronization.
When I said romcoms make the world go round in the title of this article, I was hardly joking. A 2016 study conducted by Matthew Grizzard, a researcher at The State University of New York in Buffalo, U.S., concluded that “repeated exposure to romantic films led to increases in sensitivity for four of the five moral intuitions.”. The moral intuitions referenced in the study are; care, fairness, loyalty, authority, and purity. The study revealed that people who watch romcoms are more likely to have four out of the five intuitions heightened, with ‘purity’ being the exception.
Thus, romcoms do in fact have the effect of making us care a little bit more about the next person, making us perceive fairness slightly differently, and making us value loyalty among friends and family and also respect authority a bit more. Now that we’re aware romantic comedies have such strong subliminal effects on us, it doesn’t exactly change our reason for indulging in the cliche, tropes, and dopes that fictional romance has to offer. The reason many of us sit down to invest over sixty minutes in a cliche-ridden romcom is that it genuinely makes us feel good. It has an unexplainable cathartic effect on us that makes us feel lighter at the end.
While it may not seem like Nollywood romantic comedies such as The Wedding Party, When Love Happens, Isoken, or Okafor‘s Law has significant effects on you, the audience, because it doesn’t look like a Love Actually or The Notebook, it has the same effect.
A romcom a day keeps the stress away!
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