We Love… St Valentine: ‘Wall-E’

We Love... St Valentine

Illustration by Adeline Pericart

Get a bottle of Blue Nun, splash yourself with them cheap Christmas smellies your Auntie got you for Christmas, slip on your Penny’s underwear and turn up the stereo with the sweet, sweet sound of Barry White. And hey, if you have a partner that’s an added bonus. Yes, it’s that time of year, when St. Valentine comes to town. So in his honour the film lovers here at Film Ireland present their favourite lurve-themed films.

We’ll be adding to the list in the run-up to the 14th – check it out here. As always, feel free to add your own favourites. If you’d like to include your own review, contact steven@filmbase.ie

Now let’s get it on…

 

Wall-E

Geoff McEvoy

Watching Wall-E again I got a bit carried away with myself and wondered if the whole movie could be seen as a metaphor for romance – something about the various stages of a relationship being reflected in the adventures of two little robots, as if the movie were some piece of interpretive dance or something. But happily I came to my senses and realised what a waste of time that would be. Firstly, because I doubt the metaphor is there to be found and secondly, because the secret behind the film’s success as a love story is much simpler than that. In fact I think there are really just two reasons for it.

The first is that there is practically no dialogue between Wall-E and Eve. It’s a remarkable achievement to tell a moving love story with barely a recognisable word passing between the two protagonists. No one is being completed by someone else, or regretting things for an unspecified number of days. Of course, Wall-E and Eve are going through all these familiar things they just aren’t spelling it out for us. What the characters might lose in depth they gain in charm and sincerity. Wall-E is the perfect hero for a love story. His needs are simple and he expresses them purely and without artifice. While Eve’s trying to save the day – or rather her ‘directive’ – he still just wants to hold her hand.

The other reason is a slight twist in the way that a traditional cinematic love story is told. Normally two people fall in love and a series of obstacles (internal or external) is thrown between them and their overcoming of these obstacles then forms the narrative. But in this movie Wall-E and Eve’s love is the primary motivator for everything that happens. Wall-E’s arrival on the ship, the subsequent chaos and mutiny, and the ultimate return of the human race to planet Earth all result from Wall-E’s pursuit of Eve, his attempts to impress her and to please her, and finally her attempt to rescue him. In short it’s all a by-product of their love story.

These two elements together make Wall-E one of the purest of love stories. And if you’re still looking for a metaphor how’s this one: Wall-E lived in a dull, grimy world until one shining thing came into his life.

 

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