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#133. Star-crossed Lovers

Fate, it seems, can be a cruel mistress. We all hope to someday find that special someone with whom we can spend the rest of our lives, but what if that person is from a background in polar opposition to our own? Consider the example of Aladdin: a princess must marry a prince, but what if she falls in love with a street urchin? Do they merely forget about each other and try to fit society’s rules? No! They fight for their love, even if it goes against every rule in the book. And yet, such opposition to the way things have always been will often cause the couple to encounter more bad luck in their relationship than anyone else ever will. It almost seems like fate plays a cruel joke: allowing two soul-mates to never be together and not providing any alternatives. This week’s two films look at star-crossed lovers.

Upside DownUpside Down
Year: 2012
Rating: PG-13
Length: 100 minutes / 1.67 hours

While the destiny of star-crossed lovers is usually mired in tragedy, occasionally you’ll get a happy ending. And yet, society is a much easier opposition to overcome when it comes to love. Or at least it’s much easier than opposing the laws of the universe. Sometimes a couple can be described as coming from two different worlds, but what if this is literally the case? What if they cannot even exist in a common world? What if the unrelenting force of gravity pulls them away from each other at all times? How would two people overcome this opposition in order to be together? Even though this could never happen with our current gravity, if a dual gravity were to exist, two planets could exist very close to each other, thus providing the opportunity for someone to look up and see their one, true love.

The two planets which have dual gravity also have two very different societies. The upper world holds the upper class, while the lower world is filled with poverty and depravity. Adam (Jim Sturgess) lives on Down and is the inheritor of a special pink pollen which exhibits gravitational pull from both worlds. In the mountains near his great-aunt’s cabin, he meets Eden (Kirsten Dunst), a girl who lives on Up. As they get older, they start dating, until they’re found out and Eden falls on her way back to Up, hitting her head on the ground. Adam moves on with his life, thinking Eden is dead. That is, until he sees she’s alive and working for TransWorld. After getting a job and making waves at this company with his magical pollen, he starts dating Eden again, even though she has amnesia. As she starts remembering him, the Up authorities are after them again and they have to run away together, where they eventually change both worlds.

Romeo and JulietRomeo and Juliet
Year: 1968
Rating: PG
Length: 138 minutes / 2.3 hours

If there’s one story of star-crossed lovers that’s been done over and over again, it would be the story which coined the phrase: Romeo and Juliet. This Shakespearian masterpiece has seen many iterations and interpretations on film (about once a decade since film began), but none of them come nearly as close to the original intent of the play as the 1968 version. While West Side Story may be a fun musical romp, and Romeo x Juliet an interesting sci-fi / fantasy interpretation, there’s just something about a true adaptation of the source material which makes it a timeless work. In fact, this version was the second true adaptation of Shakespeare’s work nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, which it probably didn’t win due to the fact that the very similar plot of West Side Story won Best Picture a mere seven years earlier.

Set in Verona, Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet are the only children of their respective, feuding families. It’s love at first sight when they meet at a feast, after which they almost immediately get married in secret. Unfortunately, since their families are fighting, when Romeo is confronted by Tybalt (Juliet’s cousin) and since they are now related by law, Romeo refuses to fight. This doesn’t prevent Mercutio from fighting in Romeo’s place, which gets him killed. This now causes Romeo to kill Tybalt and to be banished from the town. Meanwhile, Juliet is set to marry Count Paris, which would be in opposition to her previous marriage to Romeo, even if no one else knows about it. She decides to take a sleeping potion, which leads Romeo to think she’s dead and poison himself. When she wakes up and finds him dead, she then meets him in death’s warm embrace.

2 sum it up: 2 films, 2 conflicted couples

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5 responses to “#133. Star-crossed Lovers

  1. Pingback: End of Act Three | Cinema Connections

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