By force of habit, we tend to attach a gender to all movies. Even if we’re not aware, we’re inclined to believe westerns, for instance, are much more appreciated by men, whereas romantic comedies are pigeonholed girl movies. We end up making our choices by such unarticulated yet effective beliefs.
The uniqueness of Lonesome Dove is multifold. Created after the namesake Pulitzer-winning book, awarded several Emmys and Golden Globes, Lonesome Dove seems to hit close to the heart of the female public. Regardless of nominations and prizes, the masterpiece definitely features that ineffable quality – or qualities – that makes it score points with the ladies.
So, it’s not Gus’s relationship to Clara that melts women’s heart. An incurable romantic, Gus is the idyllic gentlemen who spent his life searching for the one true love. Once found, love rejects him by reason of not being able to settle down, however charming and tender. Being a two-time widower is, for Gus, a portfolio which reads risk for Clara.
It’s not even the tumultuous affair between Call and Maggie that draws the attention of the female public. Emotionally challenged, Call makes up in his work whatever he lacks in human contact. Cold and rough, Call is definitely neither the lady-killer, nor the father figure women might want to read into one of the chief characters.
So, what is it then about Lonesome Dove that women like? Music surely creates the atmosphere, bearing an impact one can’t underestimate. Gorgeous shots highlight the lyricism of key scenes. Dialogues drip with clever lines and elaborate humor. And, finally, the plot is created such as to highlight something that transcends gender-based preferences: true friendship.
It is a work of art that serves more than emotional chips, as it were, to its viewers. All the more true if we consider one of the main characters dies. Thus, Lonesome Dove eludes the commonplace happy ending of a movie that provides us with the immediate, yet transitory satisfaction of a content finale.
Women don’t love it as a western, but they love it as a movie! That happens because Lonesome Dove outruns the clichés of the typical horse opera and taps into the universal values of a cinematographic masterpiece.