So I was hoping to watch a couple of more recent romantic movies in honor of Valentine’s Day. It’s been a quiet week. I had the time & instead all I wound up doing was watching old episodes of Parks and Recreations. So then I made a list. And I realized my ideas of romance in a movie might be slightly twisted.
Like for instance I think X-Men Days of Future Past was romantic because I believe that if Charles and Erik could just get past there petty problems and admit there feelings for one another they would have saved so many mutants decades of hurt. I also believe Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy’s chemistry made that movie. I found Gladiator to be romantic in an old-fashioned Hollywood way. I understand a lot of people wouldn’t necessarily agree with that.
America’s Sweetheart? Well, it doesn’t matter whether it’s Meg Ryan, Sandra Bullock or Julia Roberts the only one that didn’t make me want to put my head through a wall was Notting Hill. The ending… The park bench she finds dedicated to the guys wife… The excellent supporting cast… That was the win for me.
Last of the Mohicans with Daniel Day-Lewis and Madeline Stowe gets me every single time I see it. I wind up in a big ball of tears but yet I can not tear my eyes away. The Last of the Mohicans might have been the first movie I saw when I really understand how much the score could make the movie for me. I still own the physical CD. And then there was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid perhaps the best buddy movie ever and the classic bicycle scene. The movie was decades old the first time I saw it but it is one of the movies that shaped me and I ran around singing that song until my family couldn’t take it anymore.
But if I had to chose my all-time favorite romantic movies would be Moulin Rouge, Chasing Liberty and Stardust. Unlike a lot of movies to I really think they stand up even as the years have passed.
3. Stardust– Charlie Cox plays a poor villager who promises his shallow love that he’ll find a fallen star for her. That star happens to be Claire Danes (and they do an incredible job lighting her in this movie- seriously, I’d pay to have that kind of lighting in real life). Unlucky for him she’s being hunted by a bunch of Princes and a wicked Witch for differing reasons but none of them very good.
The movie is based on a book by Neil Gaiman and it was way more fun than I would have expected. Of course they fall in love. Of course there’s adventure and sacrifice and a pirate played by Robert DeNiro who loves to play dress up!
2. Moulin Rouge– I am not a musical fan. But if you’re going to do a musical set it in the Moulin Rouge and go big! Ewan McGregor falls in love with Nicole Kidman’s seductive and consumptive showgirl. The music was catchy and addictive, the stars did their own singing, it was beautifully shot… Like you were watching a piece of artwork come to life and movement.
And the big finale set to Come What May- a song about love no matter what stands in your way. Yeah, to me it’s everything a musical should be and just off enough that the romance part makes me root for and believe in it.
1. Chasing Liberty– I don’t know if this movie always gets forgotten because people just write off Mandy Moore or because another first daughter on the run movie came out about the same time but it’s one of my all time favorites. It’s a modern fantasy. She just wants to live and be free. Matthew Goode just wants to make sure nothing happens to her. They travel across Europe to the Love Parade in Berlin.
At the end it’s the girl that makes the grand romantic gesture.
Plus Matthew Goode’s gorgeous eyes and he quite literally jumps off a bridge for her. Okay, it’s a bungee jump but still? He didn’t want to but he did it for her!
So my slightly off ideas on romantic movies (a genre I don’t really seek out) aside I’d recommend any of them at any time of year. I think the best part of any of the above movies is they provide something for everyone; romance, adventure, charm, beauty, friendship, mutant powers, family and love. They are some of the few movies I watch again and again without them ever getting old.