A few months ago, Time Magazine published a story about the disappearance of the romantic movie. Under the headline “Who killed the love story?” Time observed that the last romantic movie that made it onto the annual top 10 list of box-office successes was Titanic. That film grossed $600 million and won 11 Oscars. But that was back in 1997. Since then, no romantic movie has made it into the top 10.
Apparently, contempt is widespread for the love story. Hollywood is drifting toward the negative, just like the news media that fill headlines with despair, failure, fear and fraud. Richard Curtis, author of such romances as Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill, says in the Time article: “If you write a story about a soldier going AWOL and kidnapping a pregnant woman and finally shooting her in the head, it’s called ‘searingly realistic,’ even though it’s never happened in the history of mankind. Whereas if you write about two people falling in love, which happens about a million times a day all over the world, for some reason or another, you’re accused of writing something unrealistic and sentimental.”
I’m afraid men all over the world do the most unbelievably cruel things to women, but Curtis has a point. Moreover, the focus on the negative is so sad because this trend stands in the way of more happiness in the world, as French psychiatrist Christophe André sees it. André—who has written more than a dozen bestsellers on and around the theme of happiness, in a country (France) that more than others plays host to a natural trend toward melancholy—says we need beauty, romance, and love to experience more happiness.
André has an uplifting message: Happiness can be learned. Happiness is within reach for everyone. It takes effort. You need to do your best. Read his six lessons simple things anyone can do anytime in this issue.
Byron Katie found her own way to happiness when she discovered that her feelings of depression and despair, her suffering, was a result of her perception of the reality around her. “We think things should be different than they are right now, and we suffer because we believe our thoughts,” she writes. “I discovered that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but that when I didn’t believe them, I didn’t suffer, and that this is true for every human being. Freedom is as simple as that.”
There is one more important aspect to that experience of freedom and happiness: It dissolves differences between people. Happiness brings people together; it unites. Arguably, nothing is more crucial in a globalizing world. That’s why Ode stands for happiness, for optimism and for solutions. Our fast-growing readership tells us our mission finds support and acceptance. The story of Ode is a love story. Not a bad idea for a Hollywood script.