The True and Very Different Story Behind Your Favorite Romantic Movies

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The True and Very Different Story Behind Your Favorite Romantic Movies




Ava Chen, Staff Writer

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Whether you’re in a relationship, single, or in that awkward “it’s complicated state,” chances are you have seen some sort of romance movie. Although most romances are fictional, there are still a few that are inspired by real events. How truthful these films actually are is up to you. (Warning: spoilers ahead)

Bonnie and Clyde: It is a classic film released in 1967 that is classified as a true crime drama, but it is also filled with a distinctive romantic and comedic styles. In the film, Bonnie Parker meets Clyde Barrow for the first time when he attempts to steal her mother’s car. Bored living her life in a small town, Bonnie decides to become his partner in crime. They go from theft to murders, and even a bank robbery. All the while, Bonnie and Clyde’s romantic relationship continues to bloom as they pick up more people to join their team. In the end, their gang crumples, and, as most of us know, Bonnie and Clyde are killed in a police ambush.

Overall, the majority of what happened in Bonnie and Clyde’s journey is true, but most of the small details have been exaggerated. According to an article posted by the FBI, Clyde never attempted to steal Bonnie’s mother’s car, and, when they met for the first time, Bonnie was actually married—to an imprisoned murderer. And according to an article by The Odyssey, Bonnie never divorced her husband; she actually died while wearing her wedding ring.

Along with Bonnie’s marriage that doesn’t appear in the film, another major inconsistency is the question of whether Bonnie and Clyde were even happy together, as Clyde never respected Bonnie’s relationship with her mother and sometimes physically abused Bonnie. The duo allegedly murdered 13 people, but whether Bonnie ever forced a gun on someone is unknown. Unlike the movie, Clyde was the leader of the team, which contrasts his submissive characteristics in the film.

It Could Happen to You: This is a 1994 American romantic comedy-drama film. In the movie, Charlie, a kind police officer, eats at a diner and, when he is about to tip the waitress, Yvonne, he realizes he does not have any money. He then promises to share half of whatever money he wins off of his lottery ticket. Remarkably, the next day he wins four million dollars, so he decides to split it with Yvonne. His wife gets very angry at Charlie and goes on to plan how to take all of their money. In the end, Charlie and Yvonne end up together.

The true story is a little bit less dramatic and romantic. Actually, there is no drama and romance whatsoever. According to the New York Times, the real story is about Mr. Cunningham and Mrs. Penzo, a police officer and a waitress. They had been friends for over a decade. One day they brought a lottery ticket. Mr. Cunningham picked three numbers and Mrs. Penzo picked three. They won six million dollars and split it like they said they would. They never fell in love, and there never was any angry greedy wife. They remained friends and both had a comfortable life with their separate families and partners.

Beauty and The Beast: There doesn’t seem to be many people that don’t know this story, but for the people that don’t, here it is. Belle is a smart girl and whenever her father goes on a business trip, all she asks from him is a rose. The Beast was once a prince but was cursed by a evil hag because he was selfish and didn’t care for others. The Beast imprisons Belle’s father for stealing a rose from his garden, but Belle takes his place. In order to break the Beast’s spell, he must learn to love another person before the last petal on the rose falls off. Of course he does, and they love happily ever after.

Even though the film version of Beauty and The Beast is based on a book, that book may be based of the relationship of Petrus Gonsalvus and a woman named Catherine back in the 1500s.

According to a Refinery Twentynine article, Petrus was a shy, calm boy that was called a beast because he suffered from the condition hypertrichosis, a disease that results in hair growing all over the body. The King, Henry II, had a liking for the boy and decided to experiment on him, to see if he could be turned into a nobleman. After a few years, the only thing missing was a beautiful wife. King Henry II’s wife took on the role as matchmaker, with the hope of Gonsalvus producing children with the same genetic condition. She kept Gonsalvus’s condition a secret and ended up matching him with Catherine. They met for the first time at their wedding.

In the end, Catherine was won over by “the Beast’s” personality. They were married for forty years and had seven children. It wasn’t all happily ever after though; three of the children had the same condition as their father and were taken away to be gifts for royal families.

These true stories aren’t as magical and perfect as the movies show them to be.

Matilda Battersby, journalist for the Independent News writes that “marketing a film as being ‘based on a true story’ makes it seem far more dramatic and effective…we know that Hollywood is a fantasy land. Most of us have come to the distressing conclusion that people don’t look quite as shiny and attractive in the face of disaster [and] depression… as they do in the movies.” Despite this, people love movies based on true stories.

Sarah Wilkins, ‘22, said movies based on true stories are her favorite.

“I like true story movies because it is interesting to see what [the people stories are based on], went through. One of my favorites is Kiss and Cry,” she said.

When we watch movies based on true events, we are entertained and might learn something from the theme of the film, even though some of the facts have been altered to better fit am audience’s preferences. People generally like happy and dramatic movies with a happy ending. Changing these once bland and saddening movies might actually make it one less sad thing people have to worry about.