How Netflix is reviving the rom com

This month we’re all about the feel-good vibes, and what better way to celebrate that, than with Netflix’s decided revival of the rom-com genre?

How delighted were we to see a brand new rom-com make its way onto Netflix? Both Set it Up and Candy Jar are our two favourite examples of this, but we’ve also seen it with movies such as The Incredible Jessica James and the not-so-incredible How we First Met.

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Set It Up tells the story of New York executive assistants Harper and Charlie. Harper is assistant to sports journalist, business owner and all around bad-ass Kirsten played impeccably by Lucy Liu. Charlie is assistant and dogsbody to Manhatten financial bigwig, Rick, portrayed by Taye Diggs. Through the typical rom-com meet-cute Charlie and Harper meet while trying to satisfy their overbearing boss’s needs. They come to the conclusion that were their employers in relationships then they mightn’t have so much time to monopolise Charlie and Harper’s lives. So they decide to… you guessed it, Set it Up. And they may end up finding out they have more in common than they first thought too… Set it Up director Claire Scanlon breathes fresh new life into the rom-com genre. It’s sweet but not saccharine and ably navigates some of the pitfalls that newer entrants have fallen into (How we First Met, we’re looking at you.) All four leads are likable and we guarantee you’ll thoroughly enjoy curling up with them.

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And if you’re anything like us then one rom-com won’t satisfy your feel-good needs, so we recommend you plunge straight into another. Candy Jar, another Netflix production, is the perfect movie for anyone who was involved in a niche competitive club in school and wants to be reminded of what that was like. Less of a typical rom-com than Set it Up, Candy Jar is more of an indie production and takes the road less travelled with its romance.  Candy Jar follows enemies, debate champions, and Ivy League hopefuls Lona and Bennet. Competitive throughout their entire school experience the pair are forced to work together for a prestigious debate competition. It doesn’t sit well with either one of them. Their long road to friendship and understanding provides the charm of the movie. With supporting players like Helen Hunt, Uzo Aduba and Christine Hendricks, Candy Jar is overflowing with talent. It would be easy for all of these fabulous ladies to overshadow their leads but instead they provide the perfect frame for them to shine in. The three women shepherd the leads with humour, self-belief and important life lessons that play into the very poignant third act. I wish this movie was around when I was in school. I would have been trying to fast talk right along with them and eating sweets all the way. 

,Rom-coms are a genre that has often been looked down on (we’re not saying they’re all perfect by any means) but often that has to do with their association as stories for women by women. We say, support the ladies and we support the rom-com revival – vive la revolution!

Author: Méabh McDonnell

As editor of Cinders magazine books, television, comic books and the lack of representation for women in movies that I otherwise enjoy are most of what I talk about. Aside from reading I write, mostly about driving from Galway to Ennis. You can find more of my musings over on Twitter @redridinghood19. Check out Cinders magazine at www.cindersmagazine.com

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