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‘The Lost City’ Rightfully and Hilariously Honors the Romance Genre

The Lost City key poster featuring Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum
©Paramount Pictures

The Lost City is every bit the romantic adventure we didn’t know we needed and then some. It’s fun and hilarious, and its on-the-nose praise of the romance genre is something we’ll never tire of exploring.

In the height of series like Bridgerton taking Netflix viewerships by storm, the romance genre is rightfully earning its respect among people without much familiarity. We haven’t broken all the stigmas around it quite yet. Still, we’re getting there, and a film like The Lost City gaining well-received reception also plays a part in paving a better road for embracing feel-good and heartwarming adventures that end with a happily ever after.

While The Lost City is more in line with films like The Mummy or Jungle Cruise in recent years, its careful attention to detailing a romance novelist’s importance is where it succeeds beyond Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum’s ridiculously joyful chemistry.

There’s a specific scene where Tatum’s character Alan, the cover model for Bullock’s Loretta Sage’s novels, mentions how he was ashamed of the position at first but realized he should embrace it after seeing the amount of happiness the stories bring to the readers. It remains a tragic truth that romance readers have long hidden their books and love for the genre in various social spheres. It is also still very much not as renowned as a genre in scholarly studies either.

And for the longest time, the happy endings have been deemed cliches that should not be considered “good writing” despite the detail that it’s one of the top-selling genres yearly. Thereby, Alan’s decision to embrace the genre and everything that comes with it beautifully encapsulates the shift that’s been taking place lately, with more fans showing off their favorite novels with pride than shame. Removing words like “trash” from our discourse and loving these books openly as opposed to telling people they should “read (or in this case, watch) something more realistic.”

The Lost City is far from a real adventure, but it made people laugh out loud countless times in the theater while allowing them to leave feeling a little bit better than when they walked in. And what this line in particular does is it openly enables a man to embrace a genre that’s predominantly read and embraced by women.

A film like The Lost City isn’t going to change everyone’s mind. No, that would be unrealistic to believe, but what it can do is be an exhibition of the fact that the romance genre can be honored more often than not. We can walk into theaters expecting silly adventures that’ll fill us with joy and find ourselves thoroughly impressed with the outright decision to praise romance. If nothing else, the film attempts to ensure that both readers and writers know that they should be proud of the joy that comes from consuming content that’s wholesome.

As one of the queens of romantic comedies, Bullock’s role as a romance novelist feels especially fitting. To have the character embody what it means to lose inspiration as a result of grief only to find it unexpectedly in companionship works to remind viewers of the detail that human connections are more than we give them credit for. They’re life-changing in every way, and more of these situations occur than any sort of realistic drama often highlights.

In its meta storytelling, The Lost City succeeds as a film that brings unbridled joy and warmth, making it one that deserves great praise.

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