Music plays a pivotal role in the success of films and TV shows in that they help to set the tone, convey emotions and create memorable scenes. I would say that this is particularly the case in romantic comedies when certain shots like montages or scenes of high emotion are common.
Romantic comedies are feel-good films with a focus on love and relationships. However, despite the chaos, humour and spice, there are usually moments of low mood and sadness when the good-for-nothing male heartthrob finally decides he wants to get his act together to be worthy of the protagonist’s love. There is music to fit the tone of all of these kinds of scenes.
At times, there are songs written specifically for the film itself such as “When Harry Met Sally” which is featured in the film of the same name. For this film, Harry Connick Jr. provided several other songs including “It Had to Be You” which features famously in the opening credits. The charm of this film comes from the jazz feel to the soundtrack and it creates a vibe that isn’t reflected elsewhere. It makes the film truly unique.
Some may argue that the use of music in rom-com movies can be cheesy and makes it unwatchable but in reality, the charm of this genre is rooted in how cheesy it is. Generally, rom-com films are turned to (typically) by women in times that require a laugh. Maybe immediately in the wake of a breakup or simply because they need a pick-me-up. For this reason, the slightly cheesy music becomes a powerful tool to enhance this cosy, comfortable feeling. The music can make us gasp, smile or cry and for this reason I would argue that the music used in rom-coms has the biggest range of any movie genre.
Also, most of the time, the most iconic scenes in rom-com movies are tied to the music that accompanies them. One of the most iconic scenes in “Say Anything” for example is where John Cusack holds up a boombox playing “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel outside the window of the girl he loves. It is a very memorable scene but wouldn’t be nearly as such without the music.
Some may argue that the use of music in rom-com movies can be cheesy and makes it unwatchable but in reality, the charm of this genre is rooted in how cheesy it is.
Songs are an essential part to any romantic comedy and the revival of noughties music in modern romantic comedies evokes a feeling of nostalgia. For example, the use of Natasha Bedingfield’s infamous tune of “Unwritten” in the latest rom-com “Anyone But You” takes us back to a time of side fringes and flip phones despite the film being very modern. It’s a nod to rom-coms that have come before it and all the rom-coms that will be. The link through music is a clever way to keep the genre alive.