Of course you guys know me as a lady who partakes in all things nerdy but I have a confession: I love romantic comedies. I love the same, boring old story that goes along with them: guy meets girl, awkward shenanigans ensue and by the end of the movie, a love connection is made. Yeah, its formulaic in script but they make me happy and hopeful while I'm watching them.
This being said, I just got back from “Going The Distance”; a film about two love birds head-over-heels for one another... across the country. If you, the reader, know anything about me (and you probably do) I am in a Long Distance Relationship with a fella who lives way on the other side of the country, so this movie was right up my alley with the feel-good plot of another couple who has to go through what I go through daily.
This movie was torture to watch.
I assumed going into it that it was not at all how normal LDRs work. This is a movie made by the Hollywood Machine, after all. I figured it was going to be about a couple who get to see one another all the time and who are able to maintain a relationship without all the daily nuances in their way. I was dead wrong.
Starring Drew Barrymore and Justin Long, Going The Distance is about a pair who meet in New York City, have an instant connection, and decide for better or worse to be in a relationship with one another after Erin (Barrymore) has to leave her Summer Internship at a news publication to head back to the West Coast. Garrett (Long) has a job at a Record company and frankly hates his superficial career dealing with manufactured teenie-bop up-and-comings and not with organic underground bands. On the other hand, Erin is working her way through Stanford with a shitty serving job trying to make ends meet.
The two of them cannot afford to fly and see one another all the time. One particular scene that hit home was when Garrett was looking into holiday flights out to San Fran to see Erin and realizes upon searching he could not afford the astronomical prices. My boyfriend and I are in a similar predicament where plane rides are a luxury that neither of us can afford as often as we like but we've made the effort to scrounge up pennies to make it happen.
Between those brief moments of being able to hang around one another, we have to deal with other issues that were brought up in the movie. I am on EST (like Garrett) and my boy is on PST (like Erin) so I've been dealing with late-night skype sessions and phone calls. When we're ready to say goodnight, most of the time I should be saying good morning.
There's also the unique problem LDR couples have to deal with when talking about our relationship to friends and family members. I can't recall the amount of talks I've had with folks about, yes, I understand I get to see my boyfriend once every couple of months and yes, I know you've been in an LDR that didn't work and I totally, completely trust him and know he won't do anything behind my back. Erin and Garrett have to deal with the issues presented to them by people they know as well. Erin, funny enough, has the same kind of protective older sister I do and the dynamic between the two works well.
Besides the physical frustrations that Erin and Garrett face (hi, mom) there are also the emotional ones that play a major part in the foundation of a healthy LDR. When Erin gets a job offer at a newspaper in San Fran, Garrett immediately assumes she has no inclinations to move out to New York as previously planned which starts a fight between them. It is such an easy misstep to make.
Big life changes also effect a person who cannot physically be there with you, making it seem to your partner that you're not “in it” like they are. No one should be put in a situation that makes it seem like you cannot do things to better yourself without it also benefiting the relationship.
With Erin's case, the economy sucks and print papers are laying off people left and right; does she take the job and risk ruining her relationship or does she move out to New York on the slim chance she may find another job like it? Romantically speaking its so easy to think you can pack your things up, shack up with your partner and live happily ever after. In all practicality this can't be done automatically, unless you're well-to-do. I keep my heart on my sleeve but I know I can't do what I want without having money saved up. And trust me, LDRs are expensive on their own without the cost of moving added in. Isn't that what LDRs are all about anyway? The hope of having the end result being that the two of you live in a place where you can see one another all the time? It's a lot of pressure.
Now I won't spoil the end of the movie for you. I will say it was eye-roll inducing. Just because I related to a lot of the goings-on in the film doesn't mean I do not realize the script was slightly generic in story-telling. Walking out of the theater made me realize that I am not so alone in my LDR and issues that have been heart-wrenching are in fact normal. And that's a pretty hopeful thing to know.