Every decade has it’s rom-com queen. In the early 2000’s, that actress was Reese Witherspoon.
During the early 2000’s, she played in a variety of rom-comish roles.
One of the films she starred in was 2002’s Sweet Home Alabama. Melanie Carmichael (Reese Witherspoon) has made it big in New York City. Her career as a fashion designer is extremely successful. Her relationship with Andrew Hennings (Patrick Dempsey), has taken a new turn. Melanie has just accepted Andrew’s marriage proposal. Life cannot get any better. But before Melanie can move forward with her new life, she has to get rid of the old life.
Born and raised in the South, Melanie married Jake Perry (Josh Lucas) years ago. Now Melanie must divorce Jake before she can marry Andrew. The trip home is supposed to be quick. But it is not as quick as Melanie intended and now she must choose the life and the man she wants.
This movie is a standard rom-com with the standard tropes and characters of the genre. But it is the film’s lead actress and the idea of facing your past before moving onto your present that makes it stand out.
The second film is 2005’s Just Like Heaven. Elizabeth Masterson (Reese Witherspoon) has a successful career, but she has no social life. On the way to a date, she is seriously injured in a car accident and lies dormant in a coma. Meanwhile David Abbott (Mark Ruffalo) now lives in Elizabeth’s apartment. While Elizabeth’s body is in the coma, her spirit remains in her home. She remembers nothing, except her home and knows nothing except the new tenant. Can David and Elizabeth figure out who is and return her to her body or will she spend the rest of her life in a coma?
This is another movie that moves beyond the standard rom-com film. It takes a slightly darker turn while retaining the qualities that make a rom-com a rom-com.
I recommend both.