We all have a favorite rom-com, romance novel, or love poem. Love can be found in everything. We asked some of our editors about their own favorite representations of love; whether it’s a movie, novel, recipe, or piece of art, they shared what makes them think, “That’s what love is all about!”
Claire Chang, Executive Editor – The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion
Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking is a memoir about how Didion copes with the death of her husband John. In snippets, she shows us her forty-year marriage, and how it sustained her; in larger snippets, she shows us her grief. And yet, I read the memoir as a love story: perhaps because I am lucky enough to have not experienced the death of a close loved one, or perhaps because I am very much in love with someone myself. If you read the memoir that way, it is almost hopeful. In sharing her marriage and her loss, Didion shows us a beautiful ideal of a healthy marriage and a real love. She shows us what was so hard to lose.
There is a phrase from some obscure movie that Didion shares with John: “I love you more than one more day.” More than one more day alive. To lose someone like that, Didion shows us, is to lose most of what you know about yourself. But to love someone like that, even when coupled with that kind of loss: isn’t that the goal?
Hannah Murray, Arts and Culture Editor – Carrot Cake
Baking has always been a favorite pastime of mine, and as cliche as the classic culinary saying may be, a recipe ‘made with love’ always seems to go the extra mile. I’ve baked many treats for many people throughout my time in Montreal: from experimental blueberry muffin cookies brought to a spring-time picnic to a spiced pumpkin loaf shared amongst my roommates to ease the chill of winter. Experimenting in the kitchen and sharing my culinary creations with others is perhaps my favorite way of showing my love to those I care about.
And what better dessert to share than a decadent carrot cake, without nuts or raisins, of course! Following Heather Perine’s delicious recipe (with some random alterations inspired by my own spur-of-the-moment feelings), I like to top this carrot cake off with the brilliant Claire Saffitz’s brown butter cream cheese frosting from her cookbook, Dessert Person. If you’re looking for a sign to bake something delicious for someone you love and put your baking skills to the test, try out this carrot cake recipe! If you make it with love, it’s sure to ignite that warm and fuzzy feeling.
Alia Shaukat, Opinion Editor – Her (2013)
As a self-professed lover of love, I’ve spent years searching for the masterpiece of a romantic film that extends beyond cliché, something equal parts humor and tenderness, both inventive and intimate. I’m confident in saying that Spike Jonze’s Her is this masterpiece.
The hybrid romantic-drama-dystopian-science fiction starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson depicts a budding relationship between a human and artificial intelligence, resulting in a soulful, warm, and witty commentary on the state of modern relationships. Even better, Her features a film score by Arcade Fire and Owen Pallet that will live on your playlists long past watching. “Song on the Beach” and “Photograph” are emotional instrumental feats; meanwhile, Karen O and Ezra Koenig’s lovingly tender ballad “The Moon Song” has become a staple for any romantic dinner between my partner and me.
In essence, Her makes you think about your relationships and hold on to them. It’s likely that my love for Her is simply wrapped up in these moments of experiencing it –– watching it cuddled up on the loveseat, swaying to Koenig’s voice in the kitchen –– but perhaps that’s the very purpose of the film. Either way, Her speaks a love language that I want to hear over and over again.
Sarah Sylvester, Managing Editor – Spongebob Squarepants, “Valentine’s Day” (2000)
Episode 32 of Spongebob Squarepants, “Valentine’s Day,” is a story of love and hate. It reconciles rage with heartbreak and portrays how betrayal by our most beloveds can launch us into violent grief. We rampage, believing that love is deceit.
In the episode, Patrick feels unloved by his closest friend, Spongebob, who has promised him a Valentine’s Day surprise at the fair. Even after a dozen guesses at what it could be, Patrick cannot contain his elation: Spongebob has planned an extravagant gift, just for him — an act of love so groundbreaking it cannot be revealed. Finally, Spongebob guides Patrick to the ferris wheel and the two ride to the top to behold the present. To Patrick’s shock, the gift is Spongebob’s outstretched hand. The gift is … a handshake?
“Patrick needs love, too!” he screams before ravaging the carnival, tearing up hearts as Spongebob did his. However, Patrick does not realize that Spongebob truly did have a surprise that was delayed by chocolate-eating scallops. He only offered the handshake in desperation to not disappoint his best friend. Spongebob is just as heartbroken about the ruined gift as Patrick is about his seemingly ruined friendship. As Patrick snaps a lollipop over his knee, a giant, heart-shaped, chocolate air balloon careens through the sky and lands on the pier. Spongebob begs Patrick to turn around, but, having been so wounded he can no longer believe in the possibility of love, Patrick refuses. It’s too late for forgiveness, for apology presents. Eventually, though, Patrick does turn around, and his dumbfoundedness quickly gives way to joy. Spongebob does love him! Love is real!
As dumb as this is, it shows that the simplest of illustrations can explore the treacheries and paradoxes of love. It reminds us that love is pervasive even in its absence, even in betrayal. A broken heart can be mended, including a cartoon starfish’s.
Bee Fouqueray, Opinion Editor – Set It Up (2018)
Hollywood doesn’t make romantic comedies like it used to: from 10 Things I Hate About You to 27 Dresses, the late 1990s and early 2000s represent the golden years of rom-coms. Newer romantic comedies are often less endearing, less whimsical, and a lot more cringey. Yet, when asked to pick a representation of love, the first movie that sprung to my mind was Set It Up. The 2018 film follows two overworked assistants (Harper and Charlie) on their quest to match-make their bosses.
As far as rom-coms go, it’s not the most innovative but it’s a movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously while at the same time managing to be relatable. Both Harper and Charlie are unhappy at their current jobs but too afraid of the uncertainty of trying to pursue your dreams. And while Harper struggles with online dating, Charlie realises he’s holding on to a relationship that he’s not even happy in. It’s authentic and wholesome in a way many modern rom-coms struggle to be and beautifully combines lighthearted comedy and romance with a touch of existential angst.