The major theme for Jules and Jim was cool love, but in class I think the sub-theme we discussed at length in class after the movie--is cool long-lasting or ephemeral--is also important to take into consideration. Can love be cool if it is long-lasting, or is the ephemeral trend of serial monogamy that we see prominently played out in our society more hip in popular culture? I think this is one of the many cases where aspects of cool can be found in both situations.
Conventional wisdom tells us that the happily-ever-after ideal is something to strive for, something that is really cool. As the children of the generation who have a fifty percent divorce rate, we ourselves can relate to this idea of cool. You see the idea of couples who last forever everywhere in pop culture, from the most recent film adaptation of Jane Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice to the phenomenon that is the Twilight series, in which Edward and Bella literally stay together forever. We've even got our very own fairy tale couple living in a big white castle (er, executive residence) in Washington, D.C. Every picture of Barack and Michelle Obama positively exudes happiness; they constantly show their affection for one another, just another new and romantic aspect of the change the Obamas have brought with them to the White House. Staying together forever is the ideal for a romantic relationship. After all, how many kids tell you that when they grow up they want to be an astronaut, get married, and then probably get divorced?
However, there is a flip side to this idea of long-lasting cool love, and to see it, we have to look at reality instead of focusing on the ideal. The fact of the matter is not a whole lot of people end up staying together forever, whether it's a dating relationship or a marriage. And let's face it, where's the cool once all the romance is over and done with? No one wants to read Twlight: Edward and Bella File a Joint Tax Return or Pride and Prejudice: Darcy and Elizabeth Go to Home Depot. This seems to be part of Catherine's behavior in Jules and Jim. Once all the excitement and sexiness is gone from a relationship, she either moves on to a new one or rekindles an old one to start some sort of drama. This kind of behavior is wildly apparent in the serial monogamous nature of most relationships in American culture. We want to stay together forever, but we also don't want boring and mundane lives with the same old person day after day. Doing the dishes and taking the kids to soccer practice just doesn't factor into the idea of cool.