Our Pages

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Something Borrowed

SPOILER WARNING: If you haven't yet seen the movie Something Borrowed, plan to, and don't want to know too much, don't read any further. Some of this may be in the previews, but...

On Mother's Day, I took my mom to see the movie Something Borrowed. We both love romantic comedies (go figure) so we thought it would be great.

And it was. I loved every moment of it. But I couldn't turn my romance writer head off during the movie.

You see, the hero and heroine of this film begin their romantic relationship as an affair. He was engaged to marry her best friend. Through the entire film, right up until the resolution at the end, he is still engaged to her best friend, and they are still carrying on their secret affair.

That's not how the rules of romance writing are supposed to work. Cheating is a no-no. Our heroes might have blights on their past, but are supposed to behave in a heroic manner once the current story begins--or at least once it is clear that he and the heroine are going to end up together. The same, generally, goes for our heroines, though often they are judged under a harsher light.

I was watching the film with all of this in my head--and yet completely captivated by how the filmmakers had made me root for the hero and heroine despite the circumstances.

If you've seen the film, did you feel the same way? Same question for if you've read the book. And have you ever read a romance in which either the hero or heroine was unfaithful, and yet you still found yourself rooting for them to get the guy/girl?

EDIT: Blogger did some maintenance, and in the process all of the comments that had been left were lost. I'm sorry! We had a great discussion going. Feel free to repost your comment.


  1. Okay, I haven't seen the movie yet, so I just skipped to the end of your post to get the gist of it. In theory, I would probably say "No, I couldn't root for a cheating hero/heroine," except that I wrote an entire book about a cheating hero. LOL! I think it would be harder for me to accept in a contemporary piece, but since my hero was engaged to someone in the 1820s, when it was more about connections and convenience, I think (and hope) it's easier for people to swallow. It is for me :) I can't wait to see the movie, though. I'll ring in again once I have!

  2. I think we each bring in our own baggage to what we read and what we watch. Having been the one who was cheated on after 13 years of marriage, I know I bring that baggage with me. It would be very difficult for me to leave that truth at the door and root for a cheating hero or heroine. With that said, I did read Jerrica's book with the cheating hero and I think she's right about the 1820s and that coloring our vision. (Then again, I think I read that book before I knew I'd been cheated on.) ;)

  3. Jerrica, that is so true that certain circumstances such as the time period can make it seem more acceptable. I know I would have an easier time with it in terms of arranged marriages and whatnot than I do in the modern era. That's what shocked me so much about enjoying this film!

    And Ava, I'm sorry for what you've been through! How true that is, that we bring our own baggage into everything we experience. I, for one, have a much stronger reaction to anything dealing with addictions than many people do, after so many of my loved ones have struggled with and succumbed to them.

  4. I have to agree with Jerrica in that I would find it easier to accept in a Regency set historical than I would in a contemporary romance. I think the reason may be that in many Regency era cheating situations the cheater is NOT having a physical or emotional relationship with his or her spouse at the time they are cheating with another. And in many instances both partners know about it, but society and even the law makes it difficult for them to get a divorce. In a contemporary situation it is much easier for two people to become disentangled and to move on. Sometimes too easy, in fact. Marriage is a tough gig and these days people seem to go into it with very little forethought and to get out at the first sign of trouble. Yes, I am an old fuddy duddy born two hundred years too late and on the wrong continent. LOL

  5. I haven't seen the movie, but generally speaking, cheating shows a lack of integrity. In a romance, I want to be able to love the hero. I can't love someone who has no integrity. I might be attracted to the hero, maybe even lust after him for a while, but in the end his flaw would come out in other ways and it's a deal breaker for me. I need an honorable hero. In a contemporary situation, the hero could break the engagement and move on. Nevertheless, I still might enjoy the movie.

  6. I haven't seen the movie and probably won't, now. Even in high school, reading lit books set in older times, I hated cheaters. Yes, maybe that's not the person you wanted to marry, but you entered into a marriage contract. Even if that's not where your heart is, cheating still makes the person a liar, a contract-breaker. Probably why I love Tatanya from Eugene Onegin. She's not madly in love with her husband, but she's still faithful to him. Awesome.

  7. Well I guess I'm going to play the devil's advocate here and say that I must be a little more forgiving which sounds incredibly unlike me. Because I'm not very forgiving lol. But, I think we're all flawed including H/h's and that's the journey they take to becoming a better person within the pages of a book. I think it all depends on the writer's capability to make the h/h sympathetic to me and I can see the growth in the character arc.

    Some of the best stories in the world were written with characters who weren't heroic in the beginning of the story but who became that way by the end of the book. Scarlet O'hara comes to mind, I hated how self centered she was in the beginning but Margaret Mitchell was able to craft her in a way that I cared about her by the end of the book. So it truly is all in the writer's hands so to speak. Some can manage to do it.

  8. Melissa,

    I think you make a good point about growth and personal change. I'm certainly open to a hero or heroine not being perfect, but usually there is a redeeming quality I can see. Young characters in particular will have some emotional growth that must occur. In The Painted Veil, Kitty was immature and shallow in the beginning of the story, but her character arc showed her as a person who learned from her past, though she repeated her mistake later.

    When I answered Mindy's question, I was thinking in terms of the happy ending being the cheating couple ending up together. To me, that ending shows no personal insight. It is just a reward for lying.