In an unspecified future a totalitarian government rises to rule a nation known as Panem. Born from the ashes of a United States devastated by war and the after effects of global warming, Panem is made up of twelve districts surrounding the heart of the government, known as The Capital. In lethal vengeance for a failed rebellion, The Capital forces each district to send them 2 tributes each year to fight to the death in an elaborate arena. These are “The Hunger Games” – fought by children between the ages of twelve and eighteen – where 24 enter but only one can survive.
Starring Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen and Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark, this film follows the tributes of poverty-stricken District 12 on their journey into the arena. Our movie begins as TV Host Caeser Flickerman interviews Head Gamemaker Seneca Crane. They discuss the “excitement” of the coming games. Cut to District 12 where a young Primrose Everdeen awakens from a nightmare in which her name is chosen at the reaping, forcing her to participate in the games. Right away we get that juxtaposition between the wealthy and powerful people who view the games as entertainment and the horror they are met with by the districts from which the participants come. Enter older sister Katniss, who sings Prim back to sleep, then heads to the woods to do a little pre-reaping hunting. Then back home to get ready for the big event. And of course, Prim is chosen. And in an unprecedented move, Katniss volunteers to take her place. Peeta is also chosen – his name is met with silence, there are no volunteers to take his place – and the two are whisked aboard the train to The Capital. Let the Games begin!
I love sports romances. Love, love, love them. The thrill of the game, the athletic prowess, the conflict, the romance, and the sex all make for a heady combination. Some of my all-time favorites include See Jane Score by Rachel Gibson, It Had to be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, The Man for Me by Gemma Bruce, and Body Check by Deirdre Martin.
If you’ve been reading Sports Romances for long enough, you’ve probably noticed that most fall into the same pattern: a hunky, wealthy pro-athlete is forced to contend with a determined woman. Conflict and true love ensues. I love this pattern, I really do, but sometimes I crave something a little different – something that isn’t usually found on the shelves of Romance.
Truly Madly Deeply (1990)
I first saw Ghost and Truly Madly Deeply in high school. I still remember how deeply and tragically romantic Ghost seemed to me back then. The quest for justice and the show of love beyond the grave moved my teenage self very much. In contrast, Truly Madly Deeply struck me as an interesting story but failed to appeal quite as much. The characters seemed more ordinary, and there was no epic battle between good and evil for me to sink my teeth into – though it did have that glorious cello scene(just watch the movie – I dare you not to be moved at that part).
I recently rewatched Sideways. It’s funny that I expected a romance, and actually shelve the DVD in the romance section at home, because really the film isn’t in fact a romance, but a very good buddy movie. Yet the romance subplot left such a strong impression on me that I mostly remembered those scenes, and in revisiting them, I knew why.