16 May 2018

The importance of platonic love in life, in films

(Voir plus bas pour la traduction française) 

Everything seemed to jump into motion as soon as spring arrived. The start of the year was really quiet for me and the gloomy weather didn't exactly improve my mood. Now that the sun is here I find myself busier than I have been for a good long while and god does that feel good!

The past month has been truly great. On top of some great days spent with friends and family (outings and Infinity War, woo!) I passed my driving theory test first time. My lessons have now started and I'm proud to say that I'm not doing too badly so far! On top of the driving lessons my days have been preoccupied by content editing, future planning (gulp) and other random work.

One of the things which really brightened up my mood this month was the amount of time I spent with some of my closest friends. Our timetables finally lined up and enabled us to meet, catch up, talk and enjoy our time together over home-made pizza and Friends. I also happened to bump into another friend when I was out and about and that little catch up brought me so much happiness, it's amazing how valuable those small moments can be.
I have wanted to discuss the topic of platonic love for as long as I can remember and now feels like the right time to do so - not only because of this time spent with loved ones but also thanks to my ongoing Friends-binge. Where have those characters been all my life?

Platonic love is something I truly value and I've always thought that it is very overlooked in real life as well as in films.
These outfit pictures fit this post as my friend Naomi was with us when we shot them and we could not stop laughing. It can be hard to strike a pose when you see one of your besties smiling at you from the corner of your eye.

Why don't we value platonic love as much as romantic love?

For as long as I can remember people have always stressed the importance of romantic love in life. It seems as though I was the only one who never had a romantic relationship through-out my high-school and university years. Not that I particularly minded, I've never felt the need for that kind of companionship anyway as I've always had my support through my twin. It's always interesting to talk about it with people as for many they assume it is a 'setback', but again unless you're a twin yourself you probably won't understand what it's like. On top of that I have never, even as a child, felt the strong need to have a romantic partner for any reason whatsoever, whether it be for acceptance or companionship or whatever else. If the opportunity comes up? Sure! I don't shy away but it's not something I'm actively searching for as it has never been a 'goal' of mine.

A l’arrivée du printemps tout a commencé à avancer.  Le début de l’année était assez mauvaise, rendue encore plus moche avec la présence constante de la pluie. Maintenant que le soleil est arrivé je me retrouve avec un emploi du temps plein et qu’est-ce que ça fait du bien !
Ce dernier mois était vraiment bien, j’ai fait plusieurs sorties entre amis et entre famille (et séance cinéma, Infinity War woo !) et j’ai passé mon code au premier tour. Les cours de conduite ont déjà commencés et je suis très heureuse d’annoncer que je ne suis pas complètement nulle. En plus des cours mes journées sont préoccupées par la création de contenu pour le blog, l’organisation de mon futur (aie) ainsi que le travail.
Ce qui m’a vraiment apportée beaucoup de bonheur ce dernier mois c’est le tout le temps passé avec mes proches. On a enfin réussi à fixer une date pour se retrouver et parler de tout et n’importe quoi, tout en mangeant une bonne pizza maison. En plus de ca j’ai croisé une amie en ville et c’est fou combien de bonheur un tel moment peut nous apporter.
J’ai voulu parler du sujet de l’amour platonique depuis très longtemps mais je n’ai jamais eu le temps, c’était quelque chose qui demandait beaucoup de réflexion et je ne savais pas comment m’y prendre. Cependant maintenant je suis prête à traiter le sujet, non seulement grâce à ce temps passé avec des amis proches mais sans doute grâce à mon binge de Friends. Pourquoi je l’ai jamais regardé avant ?
L’amour platonique est quelque chose que je valorise énormément et j’ai toujours pensé que c’est quelque chose qui est sous-appréciée dans la vie et dans le Cinéma. Ces photos vont très bien avec le sujet puisque une copine à moi était présente lors du shoot et on n’a pas arrêté de rigoler. C’est assez dur de jouer mannequin lorsqu’on aperçoit son amie sourire dans le coin de l’œil.
Pourquoi valorise-ton l’amour romantique plus que l’amour platonique ?

Depuis que je suis petite j’entends parler de l’importance de l’amour romantique dans la vie. J’ai vraiment l’impression d’être la seule personne qui n’a jamais eu une telle relation lors du collège/lycée et université. C’était jamais un négatif pour moi, j’ai jamais vraiment cherché avoir une telle relation puisqu’étant jumelle, ce n’est pas comme si je me sentais seule ou ayant besoin de support. C’est un sujet compliquée pour ceux qui ne sont pas jumeaux et j’imagine que c’a ne fait pas beaucoup de sens aux autres mais bon. D’ailleurs même lors de mon enfance je n’ai jamais vraiment voulu avoir une relation romantique, pour se sentir acceptée ou indépendante ou autre. Si l’occasion se présente pourquoi pas ! Mais ce n’est pas une priorité pour moi. 

I have always truly loved my friends. I'm a hugger and a really emotional one at that. I would get tearful when I would say good-bye to people I knew I wouldn't see for months and months and I'm the kind of person who tells them I love them very often. Sometimes I worry that saying it so often makes it lose its value but then if I don't say it, I worry that if something happened that person wouldn't know that I love them (yes, this is a daily worry of mine).
My platonic relationships are so important to me as I would not be the person I am today without them. I have a group chat with my closest girl friends and it is a big part of my life. To have that kind of support system and safe place where I can reach out daily and be emotional or have deep conversations about humans and the universe is something I will never stop being grateful for.
I can imagine that not having any kind of support group can make someone feel extremely lonely. It is worth mentioning that I do have platonic relationships with guys too - it's crazy to think back on those early teenage years when any male friendships were constantly questioned and gossiped about in school hallways.

Those relationships are such a special part of life and I feel as though we hardly ever talk about them. We don't talk about how difficult platonic relationship ''break-ups'' can be, how much these relationships shape us, or how we need to constantly work on them. Why don't we talk about it? And why is it so difficult to illustrate those relationships in TV and Cinema?

J’ai toujours vraiment aimé mes amis. Je suis très câline et je suis très sensible. Si je dis revoir a des gens que je ne verrais pas pour un temps j’aurais les larmes aux yeux, et je suis le genre de personne qui dit je t’aime aux autres assez fréquemment de peur que si quelque chose de mauvais arrive ils ne sauront pas que je les aime (et oui c’est une pensée qui me préoccupe au quotidien).
Mes relations platoniques sont extrêmement importantes puisque sans mes amis je ne serai pas la fille que je suis aujourd’hui. J’ai une conversation de groupe entre mes amies proches qui occupe une place importante dans ma vie et je suis vraiment chanceuse d’avoir ce genre de soutien et un endroit dans laquelle je peux avoir de longues conversations sur la vie, les humains, l’univers... Je devrais aussi vous dire que j’ai quand même des relations platoniques avec des mecs. C’est fou quand j’y réfléchi, à quel point ces amitiés étaient questionnées lors de nos années scolaires.  
Ces genres de relations ont un rôle très important dans la vie et il me semble qu’on ne parle jamais du sujet, ou du chagrin que ces amitiés peuvent provoquer. L’amitié aussi demande beaucoup de travail et elles participent à la formation de notre identité.

Pourquoi n’en parle-t-on pas ? Et pourquoi a-t-on tant de mal à illustrer ce genre de relation dans le Cinéma ? 

Platonic relationships in TV and Film

I started binge-watching Friends after the home-made Pizza night with my closest friends. I fell in love instantly: for the first time ever I saw a depiction of true and honest friendships between individuals. I found it so refreshing to see onscreen relationships between boys and girls which grew and evolved over time without turning into anything romantic. Most of the TV series or Films I see today always focus on the will-they-won't-they romantic story-lines and the platonic relationships are either in second place or swept aside entirely, as though that part of a story or a person holds little to no value and doesn't deserve any screen time.

I could write pages about this so I need to choose my words carefully here. What I love the most about Friends is how it shows the different levels of a platonic relationship: the friendly hugs, the casual arm-over-the-shoulder, the teasing and joking, arguments, the brutal honesty and advice... I could go on and on. The overall message is that platonic relationships are very important. Emotional and physical support from friends can change your life but it is a two-way street: you can't expect to receive it if you don't give it.

Although many TV shows and Films have failed to give platonic relationships much attention some have succeeded, and some of those even focus on male platonic relationships which is something that I truly think can benefit our society in so many ways.
I think it's all connected to the whole toxic masculinity issue and consequences of the stiff-upper-lip generation where boys are told that they can't cry/show their emotions/share a hug without it being seen as 'weak' or 'sensitive'. I mean how often do we see boys open up to each-other? Why don't we openly say that you can love your friends as deeply as your lovers?

For the final part of this post I thought I'd talk about some of my favourite male relationships in Cinema and TV, starting off with that of Sam and Frodo in Lord of the Rings. Keep in mind that I am a film studies graduate so I do tend to look deeply into the details of a script/film and analyse all the little things which contribute to a character, including the way they connect with others.

Sam wise Gamgee and Frodo Baggins

In the trilogy Sam and Frodo's friendship was put to the test for the duration of the life-changing experience. They will probably never be able explain what they went through to others as they were the only two who experienced it. One shot which always kills me is at the end of Return of the King when Frodo wakes up in Rivendell and sees Sam: they share a knowing look full of gratitude, respect and admiration. Only Sam knows how much Frodo struggled through-out the quest. Did either of them ever mention what truly happened to Frodo in the mountain of fire?
This platonic friendship has become one of the most famous friendships in Cinema. The scenes of Sam and Frodo climbing the volcano in Mordor are so iconic. I can't believe that anyone wouldn't feel emotional when Sam is holding Frodo in his arms when the volcano is erupting whilst tears are streaming down their faces as they contemplate the possibility of death. I mean we should say that this is a pretty intense example but it's important to mention it because it's definitely one of the most powerful on-screen depictions of platonic love in the history of Cinema.
I would love to know how much this film impacted others. Sam & Frodo's friendship holds a special place in my heart and as I've grown older I've really come to appreciate Sam. He possesses the qualities of a true hero and a true friend. He is extremely loyal and very forgiving despite the challenging obstacles in his path - he is everything you could ask for in a friend.

Bucky Barnes and Steve Rogers

I saw Infinity War a couple of weeks ago and I literally cannot stop thinking about it. There are so many relationships in the MCU films which we could analyse but one of the most important ones for me is that of Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes. They grew up together, went to war together, and after decades apart they find themselves together again only for one of them to have no control of their own mind and attempt to kill the other.

Although the Captain America trilogy has now come to an end we can still feel the impact of the events surrounding their relationship in the recent films, even in IW. It has always held alot of importance because that friendship shaped Steve Rogers, it played a huge role in Steve's life and consequently Captain America's. Their friendship is truly valued and the directors definitely made sure it was a vital part of the trilogy.

Steve and Bucky each represent different sides of a same coin. Both of them were experimented on and became super-soldiers, both were given a new identity (Captain America / The Winter Soldier), both of them represent a specific ideology and belief (Freedom / Hydra), except one of them was forced into it and the other one choose it freely. It's heartbreaking that both of them found each-other once again after decades only for one of them to be used as a weapon to kill the other. Rogers must've been devastated when he discovered how much Barnes had suffered over the years, he was so desperate to believe that he was still in there somewhere that he was willing to die for it.
Steve's actions in both The Winter Soldier and Civil War go to show how much he values this platonic relationship and what he is willing to sacrifice for it. Steve literally gives up his role as Captain America and goes on the run just so Bucky can survive. Marvel managed to illustrate that love so brilliantly over the course of 3-4 films, it's such a great example of how strong love for a friend can shape someone's life and turn it upside down in a heartbeat.

I realized as I was typing this that I don't feel like I can discuss many on-screen female relationships. I feel as though I just haven't seen a film in which a female platonic relationship has been explored in depth. Women are either portrayed as the victim, the girlfriend, wife, mother or the bitch - they are often pitted against each-other and sometimes they don't even appear on screen at all!
It's very rare to have more than two female characters on screen together at once especially in Cinema, when they do appear it doesn't guarantee that we'll get to explore their relationship or that they even have one (let's take a moment to thank James Gunn for his female characters in Guardians of the Galaxy, seeing 3 women together was pretty damn cool).

 A handful of TV and Literary characters do come to mind: Brooklyn 99's Rosa & Amy, Throne of Glass' Manon & Aelin and of course the women in Friends... it's quite sad that for a film-lover such as myself I can't think of more examples. Luckily for me I do have my own platonic relationships but it would bring me a huge amount of joy to see more films in which they are truly valued.

Writing this article took me a little while and I was afraid my thoughts on the subject weren't precise but overall I'm very pleased with this post, I can only hope you this is something you guys can relate to one way or another.

Hope you're all having a wonderful week! Until next time,
Holly x

Holly is wearing: 

Linen long-line blazer: Mango (new)
Blouse: Zara (2 years)
Skirt: Zara (2 years)
Sunglasses: Camden market (3+ years)
Shoes: Zara (3 years)

All make-up is cruelty-free! 


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