Cinema Club: Frankie and Johnny (1991)

Posted on July 31, 2013


Frankie and Johnny (Garry Marshall, 1991)

I believe a very wise and handsome man once wrote a song about how love movies inflated the expectations of people with regards to their relationships, and how every day emotions and, well, feelings, were made to be mute by this desperate desire for a love movie experience. Well, and sit down whilst reading, maybe that guy was wrong.

‘Frankie and Johnny’ is a love film, to put it mildly. It is the story of two individuals whose lives cross and the relationship that blooms between them. Except it doesn’t really bloom, it is sort of forced into place, but I’ll use the blooming analogy a little longer. It’s an apt analogy, as the first kiss between our protagonists is a beautifully timed smooch in front of a flower delivery van. Yeah, it’s unrealistic, but that doesn’t matter, because it was wonderful. It helped that it was followed by one of the most awkwardly heart warming love scenes imaginable, which can’t help but endear you to the main characters in this film. There are so many things to like about the relationship, such as the fact that Johnny first asks Frankie out whilst they are tending to a guy who is mid epileptic fit, that they drown out and smother the things that are maybe frustrating or annoying about the film. Johnny in particular is needy and delusional at times, but who cares, because its a love film, and a beautiful one.

Indeed, it is the persistence of Johnny that provides the films most polarizing emotion. Throughout he comes across as insecure in the most secure way, an individual desperate to be loved and desperate to show others how he sees them. The individual mentioned at the top of this might see that as annoying, before they realize that those characteristics are true in a lot of people, himself in particular. So what’s wrong with it? Toby Hayes sang the line ‘you should see yourself the way I see you now’, and it’s a feeling that everyone should be feeling when faced with someone they love, or even with someone they just like. You should want the people you care about to feel incredible, because you consider them to be so. That, I like to think, is human nature.

In the age of the internet, with all manner of information at our fingertips and the ability to express an opinion on something without actually knowing anything about it (I just wrote a guide to sumo, so case in point), cynicism is becoming a more and more prevalent emotion in our every day thinking. Heck, just ask me what I think about the Dalmatian coast. It is films like this however, that show how dangerous cynicism is. There’s nothing wrong with wanting things to be romantic sometimes, with wanting the feeling of a movie. Why should there be? We are living the lives that we choose to lead, and if sometimes we want a little emotional euphoria, then all the power to us.

Consider this my love movie rehabilitation.

Posted in: Cinema