Romantic comedies have always been a guilty pleasure of mine, especially around Valentine’s Day. Having watched almost all of the recent ones, I decided to go back in time to find a good ol’ classic. Browsing through my Netflix account, I stumbled upon a film that I hadn’t watched in nearly a decade. Romancing the Stone (1984) is one of Robert Zemeckis’ masterpieces and highly acclaimed films.
The plot revolves around a lonely writer residing in Manhattan, Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner). Her books always involve a damsel in distress being rescued by her dream man. Although the man she herself dreams of only exists as a figment of her imagination, she’s convinced that he is somewhere out there.
The story gets intense after Joan receives a package, followed by a phone call from her sister. Her sister explains that she has been kidnapped and is being held for ransom; enter the package. Much to Joan’s amazement, the package turns out to be a treasure map, leading Joan deep into the Colombian jungles. Though terrified of travel, she embarks on a journey to save her sister from the kidnappers (Danny DeVito, Zack Norman). But things go awry when she learns that people other than the kidnappers are also after the treasure and are willing to do almost anything to retrieve it from her. After being stranded in the wilderness and almost getting murdered by an assassin, the tables are turned when she rescued by an American exotic bird smuggler, Jack T. Colton (Michael Douglas).
The plot is very much like a Raiders of the Lost Ark rip-off, but it’s entertaining nonetheless. The goofiness of DeVito and the chemistry between Turner and Douglas make the characters lovable and entertaining to watch. The arc is well-constructed and has a lot of thrills to keep you on the edge of your seat. The performances and the directorial skills of Zemeckis, along with an ear-friendly soundtrack by Alan Silvestri, make up what is possibly one of the few explanations of why this film remains a critical success long after its release two decades ago.
If you’re looking for a good film to watch for Valentine’s Day that has both romance and action, this film deserves a go.