Why We Love Rom-Coms

Wednesday, December 14, 2022
4 candy hearts breaking in sequence

Searching the Psyche Through Cinema

January 15 Silver Linings Playbook (2012, R)

January 29 Waiting to Exhale (1995, R)

February 12 Heartburn (1986, R)

February 26 The Apartment (1960, NR)

Program: 1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Plaza Branch | 4801 Main St. | Truman Auditorium

This popular annual screening-and-discussion series continues after a big, pandemic break with romantic comedies that’ll prompt swooning, hilarity, and – psychoanalytic analysis. Join experts in pondering big relationship questions and even bigger questions about their Hollywood representations.

Presented in partnership with the Greater Kansas City and Topeka Psychoanalytic Center, watch a feature-length film, then hear the professionals’ take on the magical relationship you watched unfold and what bearing it does – or doesn’t – have on real life.

Psychologist David Donovan says, “Rom-coms might seem like an unusual choice for this series, but Freud actually wrote extensively on love relationships and humor.”

He points out that the enduring popularity of the romantic comedy relies on a sort of formula: conflict that makes us root for the couple against all odds and an ending that feels satisfying and happy. The cast must be likeable, and a healthy dose of dopamine and serotonin sure doesn’t hurt.

“This should prove to be one of our most popular and fun series ever,” Donovan says. “Come ready to laugh and maybe learn a little about love relationships during our post-movie discussion.”

still image from 'Silver Linings Playbook'

Silver Linings Playbook | January 15 | 1:30 - 4 p.m.

Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Tucker, and Robert De Niro star in the story of a many trying to pull his life back together after a stint in a mental institution. The character, played by Cooper, leans on the idea of finding silver linings to help him through each day. Then, of course, he meets a woman who’s just as fragile as he is. A post-screening discussion is led by psychoanalyst John Whipple, MD and film critic Beck Ireland.

still image from 'Waiting to Exhale'

Waiting to Exhale | January 29 | 1:30 - 4 p.m.

Based on the best-selling Terry McMillan novel by the same name, this movie follows the lives of four very different friends (Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, and Lela Rochon) working through the struggles and triumphs of everyday life. A post-screening discussion is led by psychoanalyst Jess Stacy, PsyD and film critic Lonita Cook.

still image from 'Heartburn'

Heartburn | February 12 | 1:30 - 4 p.m.

Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, and Jeff Daniels star in this Nora Ephron film based on her own marriage. Two writers meet, fall in love, start a family, and then the unthinkable happen: the hotshot husband has an affair forcing them to reevaluate their lives. A post-screening discussion is led by psychoanalyst Manuel Morales, MD, film critic Abby Olcese, and KCPL Director or Reader’s Services Kaite Stover.

still image from 'The Apartment'

The Apartment | February 26 | 1:30 - 4 p.m.

Billy Wilder directs this 1960 classic about an insurance clerk determined to climb the corporate ladder by loaning out his apartment to his higher-ups for trysts. Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, and Fred MacMurray star in this romantic comedy about getting what you want – and what you never expected to get. A post-screening discussion is led by psychoanalyst David Donovan, PhD and film critic Trey Hock.