I didn’t say they were happy love stories.
When you think of cinematic love stories, Martin Scorsese is far from the first director who comes to mind, and he should be. Because not only has Scorsese never made an out-and-out love story – New York, New York comes closest, I think – but when he does integrate love stories into his films, they’re rarely lovely. Think of Goodfellas and the love between Henry and Karen which starts on a high but quickly sinks to despondent lows (because they’re both high); or Casino, where Sam’s love for Ginger nearly destroys him, literally; or The Wolf of Wall Street, where love to Jordan is just another possession.
Point is, like he does with crime, Scorsese chooses to look at love in its entirety, not just its sweet beginnings. Because how we fall out of love, or how we mangle it, is every bit as revealing and telling as how we come to it or nurture it; some would say it’s even more revealing. Love in the films of Scorsese isn’t a blessing, it’s a curse, it’s a blinder, a restraint, it’s an anchor whose chain gets tangled around your ankles and drags you down to depths you didn’t know were there.
Now that I’ve got you in the mood, dig this compilation from Adrien Iffrig that takes a look at Scorsese’s particular brand of love in films like those mentioned above as well as After Hours, Gangs of New York, Mean Streets, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, The Aviator, and The Departed. If this doesn’t convince you to stay single, nothing will.