Story Appeal

When I got home from work this afternoon and was scrolling through Netflix I discovered that Roman Holiday was available. I have loved this movie since high school and haven’t seen it in years so I selected it. And that got me thinking….

What makes a story? Yes, there’s the plot and characters, but if the ending isn’t executed right, it can throw the whole thing away. In college, I introduced this movie to my roommate, who stormed out in a huff at the ending. This has had me evaluating it for years. My sister and I absolutely adore this movie. It’s got everything a good “RomCom” should have, except for the “happily-ever-after” ending.

Yes, it has Audrey Hepburn, whom I have admired for her elegance, grace, and charm for years. And it has Gregory Peck, whom I’ve had a crush on since….well, probably since the first time I saw this movie. It’s got the great boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl plot, but it misses the boy-gets-girl-again part that all other chick flicks (stories) have.

So why do I love this movie so much?

Perhaps because I know that life isn’t fair—one doesn’t always get to be with the one they love. I think it’s because of this movie that I’ve wanted to write a story with a not-so-happy-ending for years now, except that I don’t think that I can pull it off as successfully as my beloved Roman Holiday did.

Though maybe it’s something more….

In the movie we see the character growth of Princess Ann, as she goes from a political puppet to a woman starting to assert herself, doing things that she wants, while at the same time recognizing that she still has a duty to fulfill to her family and her country.

Quite a bittersweet tale, that I get all choked up over but will watch again and again. And even though I have my own theories on it, I’m still not terribly sure…..what makes this melancholy ending work?

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2 thoughts on “Story Appeal

  1. Thanks for reminding me of Roman Holiday as another movie to study for not having the “not so tidy happy ending bow” wrapped up on the end of the movie. I think that ending works for the same reason as it does in The Way We Were…”my Roman Holiday.”

    Katie doesn’t get Hubel in the end, but she gets understanding-understanding of who she is, an understanding of who he really is, and an understanding of what love really is…love is sometimes letting go. In all of that, she gets peace…and love in a different way. So while it ain’t a tidy now of happiness, well it mirrors life, which ain’t no crystal stair either, but it all seems to work out in the end.

    1. I’m not sure if I’ve seen that one. I’ll have to go look it up! While I love happy endings, I also enjoy having ending that do resemble the real difficulties experienced in life, and how what we want isn’t always what we need or should do. Thanks for the input, Lauren!

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