I searched my brains for this week’s topic, on finding a favourite love story on film. I looked and looked and concluded what I’ve known since I could tie my shoes: I don’t like romantic love stories on film. At heart I think this is because I like to either relate to what I’m watching, or learn from it somehow, and cinematic love typically does neither of these things. Fantasy’s not my thing, and that’s pretty much how I think of movies about love.
But I did think of something. It’s Fargo (1996), which is about a man who hires creeps to kidnap his wife, the bungled kidnapping, and the very pregnant and clever police chief (Marge, played by Frances McDormand), who investigates the crimes. In the world according to Carol, this movie is sandwiched by two very good love scenes.
The opening love scene: Marge has to go to work before the crack of dawn. Her husband drags himself up in the dark to make his wife breakfast, even though there’s a good chance she is going to throw it up. He says something like, “You have to eat.”
The closing love scene: Marge has solved the crimes, and witnessed the destruction that can ensue from the most pathetic human sources. She goes home to her husband, who has been creating an illustration for postage stamps. Marge finds that he is disappointed because his work will only be shown on the three cent stamp, which nobody uses. Marge disagrees; she insists that everyone needs the little stamps when postage prices increase. Her husband allows himself to be cheered by her. She concludes with something like, “We’re doing okay.”
I saw this film over a decade ago, and I hope my memory of it holds up. But even if it doesn’t, this is what tremendous love looks like to me, and possibly why I don’t see it that much at the movies.