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"Rose tint my world. Keep me safe from my trouble and pain." - The Rocky Horror Show
The Romantic movement of the 19th century was a style of art that stirred the emotions, like sadness, joy and nostalgia. Later, some people used that style to put things they favor in an idealized manner, even if such things were already seen as positive.
The subjects of these works could be people, places, events, ideologies or other things. Although these are only occasionally accurate to the facts, they can still make for great stories. If taken too far, on the other hand, they can make their subjects into Mary Sues or Mary Suetopias.
Note that this isn't about just trying to make something look good, or make it look exciting. It's about stirring the emotions, not just pumping the adrenaline.
May lead to The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything if part of the romanticizing requires the people to not do the evil parts of the job.
Anime and Manga
- Space Battleship Yamato does this for Imperial Japan, with the interesting workaround that it takes place in The Future where the protagonists must fight against hostile aliens, because no decent person could ever do a rose-tinted narative about the actual WWII-era Japan. Co-creator Leiji Matsumoto is admittedly heavily influenced by the 19th century Romantic writers & artists.
- Braveheart, portraying William Wallace and the Scots as strong earthly noble types, and the English as complete monsters who all have perms.
- The Godfather has often been accused of romanticizing the Mafia (not the violent parts, but other parts of the movies).
- Goodfellas and Casino could be deconstructions of this kind of portrayal.
- For that matter, Godfather Part II was a pretty thorough Deconstruction of the notion of Mafioso-as-hero. Vito never chose to be a gangster, but was forced into it and never wanted his sons to follow him. Michael's criminal actions cost him his family. At the end of the first movie it's possible to see Michael Corleone as a hero: by the end of the second he's merely a coglione.
- ~300~. Notably, the way in which the Spartans were beatified as ultimate badasses and the Persians were vilified as subhuman monsters had some deeply racist undertones, given the current tension between the West and the Middle East.
- Gone with the Wind, especially the film, romanticizes the antebellum United States South. For that matter, just about every form of media regarding that era made in the South, due to many people in the South not being that far removed from the War or Reconstruction).
- Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and, to an even greater extent, Adventures of Huck Finn, are the work of an author trying to reconcile his nostalgia for the old South with his knowledge that slavery is bad.
- A Rose for Emily is a particularly disturbing allegorical Deconstruction of this trope being applied to the antebellum southern US.
- Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice were accused of doing this with Evita. And they were bashed by certain political sectors in Argentina for not doing it enough.
- The documentary The Revolution Will Not Be Televised portrayed Hugo Chavez as a martyr during his near-ousting.