Rom-Com Roundup: The Greatest Rom-Com of All Time

There can be only one.

And, clearly, the Best Rom-Com of All Time is…

The Princess Bride.

As the kids on Twitter say, don’t @ me.

Or, as a fellow writer pal has said, there’s a shortage of perfect movies in this world. This one just works.

If you hate The Princess Bride, then clearly you hate both romance AND comedy. And you just don’t get life, the universe, or ANYTHING.

How can you hate a movie that’s got it all? Swashbuckling swordplay, pirates, giants, spicy Sicilians ready to outwit you in a game of life and death, poison, murder, return from the dead, miracles, true love!

And I haven’t even mentioned the six-fingered man, the cowardly prince, the Miracle Worker, or the Pit of Despair yet!

Let’s get right into it.

COMEDY RATING: 5 out of 5 LOLs. 😂😂😂😂😂

ROMANCE RATING: 5 out of 5 Kisses. 💋💋💋💋💋

TROPES: Tropes? You want tropes? It’s like this movie INVENTED tropes! Here’s the full list, if you’ve got the time. One of my favorites is To The Pain, although I am also a fan of Comically Missing the Point. (Distant Reaction Shot is also used to great effect in honor of the Man in Black.) There is some Inter-Class Romance here, too, concerning Buttercup (a non-noble) and Prince Humperdink (a prince) as well as Buttercup and Westley (a farm boy who works on her family’s farm). And, of course, the entire movie hinges on the concept of One True Love, and the expression (and preservation) thereof.

GENDER STEREOTYPES: Lots. But also lots of inversions. Buttercup is white and blonde and beautiful. Westley is white and blonde and handsome. Clearly, they belong together, even before they learn the secrets of the Fire Swamp. But Buttercup also describes Westley as a “farm boy, poor and perfect,” which is an interesting counterpoint to the rich asshole Prince Humperdink, whom any “normal” woman or princess is typically supposed to love in a fairy tale like this one. Buttercup manages to get herself kidnapped and therefore must be rescued, which is a fairly standard romance genre plot, but she’s also quite independent, insisting that the prince send for her True Love, Westley, before she can consent to marry him (he’s been lost at sea, after all!) and following up daily looking for reports from Humperdink’s four fastest ships. Westley, for his part, is a fairly stereotypical hero, in that he seems to be able to do everything effortlessly: he succeeds in swordplay against a Spanish master, wrestles a giant to the ground, outwits a Sicilian who switches wine glasses on him (through an immunity to iocane powder, which also indicates another physical strength), and fights the three terrors of the Fire Swamp (Rodents of Unusual Size, flame bursts, and snow sand) with aplomb. At the same time, Westley is quite a sensitive type, expressing his love through acts of service and always responding “As you wish” when bossed about by the rather tyrannical boss-lady Buttercup. He does all the household chores, while she goes out riding like the lord of the manor. He does save her life, on multiple occasions during the film, which makes one wonder how their roles might reverse once they marry, but it looks like theirs is a rather unconventional relationship for Renaissance Europe (or whatever time period in which we’re to believe this movie is ostensibly set). Not to mention his alter ego, the Dread Pirate Roberts.

RELATIONSHIP STEREOTYPES: Hella stereotypical, but again, lots of inversions. Prince Humperdink is a coward. Westley becomes the Dread Pirate Roberts through a combination of ingratiation and accident. Buttercup becomes a princess, somehow, even though she never actually marries the prince. The big wedding scene is cut short by the impatient prince, who manages to null-and-void the entire thing in his zeal to get married to a woman he plans to murder in the honeymoon suite. And there’s a very important platonic relationship happening between Inigo and Fezzik that helps keep the whole story moving forward in terms of comedy and bromance.

POTENCY OF MEET-CUTE: Kinda meh, since the two lovers met on Buttercup’s family farm. Proximity does not necessarily equal romance, but I’ll allow bonus points for Westley’s use of “As you wish” meaning “I love you.”

RELATIONSHIP SUSTAINABILITY: It’s true love. Do you think this happens every day?!

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