‘Romancing the Stone’ (1984) Review

Romance novelist, Joan Wilder, has just finished her most recent book when she gets a call from her sister that she’s in trouble in Colombia. In order to save her sister, Joan has to travel to South America with a map that had been sent to her in the mail. With multiple people after the map, and therefore Joan, she manages to get help from an exotic bird smuggler, Jack T. Colton. The two end up running for their lives while also trying to track down a precious stone, and Joan’s sister.

I had a hankering to watch this movie again after The Lost City, which… while it’s own movie, certainly took plenty of inspiration from this Robert Zemeckis film. It has been a very long time since I’ve seen Romancing the Stone and it’s sequel, The Jewel of the Nile, but now seemed as good a time as any to revisit them both.

Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas come together in this action-romantic comedy-adventure that is both romantic and entertaining. Turner and Douglas have incredible chemistry which certainly helps in a movie where character development and plot gives way to action sequences and chases through the jungle.

Danny DeVito is the obvious comedic relief as Ralph, one of the men who kidnap Joan’s sister in order to retrieve the map that will bring he and his cousin, Ira, to the stone. Ralph doesn’t do much in this movie but follow Joan and Jack around until the third act, so he seems a bit superfluous considering a legit protagonist is after the couple, but DeVito is funny enough that it didn’t bother me too much.

The movie moves along at a pretty brisk pace with very little downtime but to let Jack and Joan connect on an emotional level, which of course, is needed. There’s plenty of witty banter between the two and while this movie is definitely heavy on the adventure chase, it’s Joan and Jack’s chemistry and burgeoning relationship in the face of danger that makes Romancing the Stone so great.

I know that this movie was compared a lot to Indiana Jones at the time (despite the fact that it was written several years prior to Raiders…) but it stands on its own in the genre. Frankly, Joan and Jack’s love story in this movie alone easily beats out every Indiana romance save for Marion Ravenwood and I will stand by that!

Author: Romona Comet

"I'm probably watching a rom-com right now."