Monday, February 6, 2012

Romancing The Stone

I caught Romancing The Stone last night on TV, and was reminded why I like this movie so much while I watched it. And with a romance writer's eye, the answer was not only a young Michael Douglas (although of course, that sure helped) but also the characters, their conflicts, and their journey.
Made in 1984, it took in an astounding $86.5 million at the box office, with an additional $36 in video rentals (according to Wikipedia).
Romancing The Stone has something for everyone. Danger, a couple of baddies, and romance. Needless to say, I'm looking at the romance elements in this post - dissecting them to see how the writer did it!

The heroine, played by Kathleen Turner, is Joan Wilder, romance novelist.
She dreams of love, and has fantasies about her romance hero, Jesse. She's also pretty buttoned up. Lives alone except for a very dotes on cat. All somewhat predictable stuff. We see a glimpse of her world before, but only a short one. Because the inciting incident, when she receives a treasure map in the post and gets a panicked phone call from her adventurous sister, who's been kidnapped, begins the story quickly.
Joan has a choice. Can she travel to Colombia? Alone? To save her sister?
She decides she must. And there is the first turn into the story. When she meets Jack T Colton he IS her fantasy hero. Until, that is, he opens his mouth. He's mercenary. Wants money to take her to her sister, and has his eye on the treasure map. Joan doesn't trust him, and rightly so.
As the story progresses, Joan gains in confidence, has the help of 'her greatest fan', and gets more gorgeous and free as she begins to live her fantasies, rather than just imagining them.
And Jack's arc is equally strong. He remains true to type through much of the film, holding back, following his own agenda. But when faced with the choice of Joan's death or the loss of the stone, he chooses Joan.
Weaving in other plotlines and characters adds to the excitement and watchability, but the characters of Joan and Jack and their journey form the backbone that the entire film hangs off.
In all, although this is an old movie, I think it is a perfect example of how to do a 'romantic suspense movie' well, so if you haven't watched it for a while, or (gasp) were too young to catch it the first time around, why not give it a rewatch?


Maria said...

I'll definitely keep that in mind. I can't believe I never caught this movie!

Amalie Berlin said...

Excellent comparison. One of my favorite all time movies. I was actually looking at Jewel of the Nile the other night when wanting something to watch, and it's pretty good but my decision-making thought was: If it were Romancing the Stone, I'd so watch it... RtS rocks!

Romy Sommer said...

I love this movie! No matter how many times I watch it, I still find it delightful, and I agree about the conflicts. It's the ideal category romance in movie form.

And don't you love the moment when Joan Wilder meets her Number One fan?

Sally Clements said...

Do check it out, Maria, I'm sure you'll love it!
Amalie, I'm glad I'm not alone - RtS definitely rocks!
Romy, I think that the moment when she meets her number one fan is my absolutely favorite scene - I love the way that Jack looks at her differently from that point on too!