This is Your Brain on Drugs


This is Your Brain on Drugs
The myth of falling in movie-love

Love isn’t finding a perfect person. It’s seeing an imperfect person perfectly.” —Sam Keen

In the movies, love stories often depict a beautiful, but frustrating dance wherein our hero and heroine keep missing each other. Something always keeps them apart. A job. Children. Fate. Maybe something more science-fiction-ish keeps them apart, like a galaxy or time travel. But in the end, fate always brings them together. They kiss—or make mad, passionate love—and the world buzzes, alive with chemicals, with connection, with love. You’re in the audience, munching on your popcorn and Skittles, and you’re crying. Right? “Why can’t I find that? Why can’t I live happily ever after?”


Falling-in-love movies are addictive. They are as addictive as falling in love itself. Some people want to take movie-love home with them. You know who you are. And you might think I’m only speaking to women here. But I’ve seen it on both sides of the gender gap. You yearn for it. You crave that all-encompassing love that happens on the big screen. And once and a while, you meet someone and it really does feel like it is right out of the movies. You can’t think of anything else. You wait for his or her call, text, or tweet. You scour his or her social networking sites looking for any mention of your name. You check your emails thirty-six times a day. You read between every line (what did he mean by that?). You’re losing sleep over this. You feel almost intoxicated with anticipation. No one else could possibly understand, but this is real love. Like the elusive Holy Grail, you have found it. And you’re sure of it because it would never feel this amazing, this connected, this incredible, if this were not “the one!”

You are not alone. History is full of books, poems, movies, music, and a myriad of fictional and factual characters that have made love a cultural focus of attention. Think of the likes of Shakespeare, Don Juan, Jane Austen, William Wordsworth, or the swashbuckling Errol Flynn. In my mother’s day it might have been Rock and Doris, Spencer and Katherine, Richard and Elizabeth, even Nick and Nora Charles. Casablanca. An Affair To Remember. The Philadelphia Story. More modernly, we might think of the rich voice of Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli. Or movies like Sleepless in Seattle, Ghost, Pretty Woman, The Notebook. Consider Brad and Angelina. William and Kate. Victoria and David. The adorable Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. And whose heart doesn’t skip a beat at the thought of a Johnny Depp flick?

This article was originally published at Bobbi Jankovich. Reprinted with permission.
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