If you’re a fan of the Twilight saga, you’ll undoubtedly be aware of Robert Pattinson. Not only is he the actor who plays the role of Edward Cullen, but he’s also the most recent member of the franchise to wed his beloved co-star, Kristen Stewart. Since then, their fair isle-inspired wedding celebration has been chronicled in detail on social media, with thousands of snaps featuring the happy couple.

While the spotlight may be firmly fixed on the on-screen union, Pattinson’s romantic life is undoubtedly as interesting as the stories that have made him a tabloid institution. The Welshman revealed in 2013 that he had never thought of dating a fellow actor, later expanding on this in an interview with GQ, claiming, “I feel like I’ve never really thought about romance in that way.” The 32 year old actor also dispelled rumors that he had any form of romance with another celebrity, adding, “I’ve never even been on a date with a girl I’ve met in real life. I feel very traditional.”

Even for those who aren’t familiar with the phrase, the concept of love at first sight is a fantasy that all adults have indulged in at some point. It’s one that Hollywood often exploits in films and TV shows, with writers and directors keen to evoke that feeling of magical romance in their audience. The concept also provides fertile ground for filmmakers, with many a romantic comedy serving as a vehicle for showcasing the comedic talents of its star-studded cast. Whether through the prism of a romantic comedy or an action-adventure blockbuster, filmmakers have the capability to show audiences the softer side of Hollywood’s male stars.

While many a romantic comedy has profited from its star studded cast, the trend seems to now be shifting as of late, with male celebs preferring to hide their vulnerable side rather than showcase it for the entertainment of others. In 2019 alone, Robert Pattinson starred in the critically acclaimed biographical drama, The Lighthouse, which focussed on the titular character’s experience as a young adult struggling with mental health issues. He also featured in the war film, Bombshell, in which he portrayed a former Marine Corps Air Station Futenma executive who begins a relationship with a flight attendant played by Charlize Theron. The actor’s cinematic trajectory seems to be leading him towards playing more mature and realistic characters, which is interesting, as he is usually characterized as a carefree bachelor.

Romantic Comedy

With so many romantic comedies released every year, it’s no wonder that the search engine giant, Google, featured the phrase ‘romantic comedy’ in its latest search report as the genre experienced something of a revival in the second half of the 2010s.

There were only 18 romantic comedies released in 2010, representing 6% of the total number of films made, and a significant increase on the 16 films released in 2009, which were known for being a tough year for the genre. The following year, 2011, also saw a spike in the number of romantic comedies, with a total of 29 films being released in the genre, compared to 25 the year before.

The genre experienced something of a renaissance in the second half of the decade, led by globally successful franchises like the Harry Potter and Friends films and Me Before You, as well as the development of LGBT characters and storylines. The increase in cultural diversity, too, provided new storylines and characters for film makers to explore, not to mention the rise of social media, which provided a whole new avenue for actors and actresses to promote their films.

Traditional And Contemporary Love Stories

With the rise of the rom-com, came a new type of narrative that broke away from the traditional Hollywood love story. These new stories saw real life twists and turns and questioned the idea of ‘happily ever after’. The traditional narrative, as previously mentioned, saw the emergence of LGBT+ characters and storylines, with many romantic comedies centering on the themes of diversity and tolerance.

The most successful of these narratives was arguably, Moonlight, which won 6 Oscars in 2019, including Best Picture. In the film, a young black man, Chiron, finds himself dealing with emotional and physical issues following the tragic death of his father. As his mental health begins to take a toll, he turns to drinking and drugs, ultimately leading him to question his sexuality. His journey is explored through complex relationships with both men and women, providing the narrative with a timeless quality.

Career Turnarounds

The success of Moonlight led to a string of critically acclaimed performances from the following year’s Best Actor nominees. In 2022, Matthew McConaughey was able to turn his career around thanks to three critically acclaimed performances – leading man, in Texans, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and White Girl – the latter of which saw the actor pick up a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Best Supporting Actor nomination for his performance as a naive husband in the film. Similarly, in October 2022, Christian Bale was able to secure his first Best Actor nomination for leading man in the drama, Ford v Ferrari. In the film, director Peter Fletcher follows Bale’s titular character through his transformation from suburban soccer dad to Formula One racer.

It’s fair to say that the film industry took a keen interest in the love life of its brightest stars in the years following the rise of the rom-com, with many actors and actresses choosing to enter into a relationship with a co-star or collaborator. This trend lead to many unprecedented career turnarounds, with actors and actresses opting to become a ‘single-cam’ household name instead of a ‘multi-cam’ celebrity, a label which used to indicate a starring role on a popular sitcom or series.

Self-reflection And Maturity

In many ways, the decade saw a revolution in the portrayal of masculinity in film. The male leads of the 2010s often found themselves grappling with issues of self-reflection and maturity, both of which are portrayed with an honesty and openness that was, in many ways, unprecedented.

Take, for example, John Cameron, whose work for the BBC saw him interview some of the most notable names from British society. In 2010, he was interviewed about his time spent working for the BBC and the impact that it had on his life. He began by discussing the corporation’s long-standing reputation for balanced and accurate journalism, before moving onto describe the difference between working for the BBC and other media outlets.

“I think probably the most noticeable thing when I was working there was just how open people were,” Cameron said. “The discussion of whether or not the royal family were bastards, or the discussion of climate change and whether or not global warming was real, these were things that people would ordinarily not have opened up about in the past. I think this openness and willingness to engage with sensitive topics undoubtedly helped to shape my view of the world and made me realise how little I actually knew about politics and social issues.”

The Impact Of Social Media

With the rise of social media, came the ability for celebrities to have a greater impact on an audience, particularly younger generations. In the 2010s, celebrities used their platforms to openly discuss politics, social issues and to challenge stereotypes. This led to an interesting phenomenon where the personal lives of celebrities began to be more interesting than their professional careers.

Whether or not you consider yourself a fan of the Twilight saga, it’s undoubtedly difficult to deny the impact that social media has had on our world. In December 2019 alone, the Huffington Post noted that there were 12.03 million tweets about the coronavirus, while the New York Times reported that the social media platforms, TikTok, Facebook and Instagram, were the “epicenters of the [coronavirus] pandemic” and “[t]he places people go to get news about [the pandemic] and how to behave during it.”


For those who were unfamiliar with the phrase, the idea of ‘romantic comedy’ probably conjures up images of twee, cutesy films with happy endings. While many a romantic comedy continues to be released each year, the genre seems to have evolved beyond the light-hearted comedies of yore. These days, a romantic comedy can go beyond traditional tropes, exploring the complexities of love, sex and relationships, as well as gender and sexuality, all while maintaining an unrivalled emphasis on the lighter side of life.