Top Five Films on Love and Romance

by Liz Jarrard

What is the most epic romantic moment in all of cinematic history? We hope to give you some ideas so you can curl up on Valentine’s Day with chocolates and rose petals—to enjoy our picks with or without a significant other. This hotly debated answer probably depends on how your particular demographic views love and romance. Maybe you’re a sunny teenager or in your early twenties and you’re still awestruck by it all: the ethereal chemistry, surging hormones, and hopes for the future unblighted by a decade or two of romantic trysts and ensuing breakups. So if you want a Valentine’s Day movie recommendation full of hope and permanent sunshine?

Photo:  Denise Jans

We’ve got a couple:

The Notebook (2004) is beloved by millennial-aged romantics the world over. It is a film adaptation by a book of the same name. The female protagonist Allie, played by charming Rachel McAdams is pursued by the dashing and down-to-earth Noah by then new-comer, Ryan Gosling—in one of his very first cinematic performances. “Hey, girl, hey.”

Wonderful performances by these actors that have since become household names give this light-hearted portrayal of long-lasting love a shimmering hope of possibility, “True love that lasts a lifetime? Hey, it could happen.”

Best quote from the film:

“That’s my sweetheart in there, I’m not leaving her. Your mother is my home.”

Watch for this moment in the movie. See if you can hold back the tears.

 Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility (1996). When looking for great tales romance in literature or film, one should naturally gravitate towards Jane Austen, the quintessential early 19th-century British romance novelist. Austen’s heroines are witty, even slightly broody and whose pride often stands in the way of their own happiness—until they see it standing in front of them wearing white leggings and a stuffy cravat. This adaptation is an esthetically lush production with the screenplay written by Emma Thompson (she took five years to write it), and also plays Austen’s character Elinor Dashwood, the elder sister of Kate Winslet’s character Marianne. Their beaus? Only Edward played by actor Hugh Grant for Elinor and Alan Rickman for Marianne. A smart cast indeed. And for God’s sake, some happy endings.

 As you age, you’re a bit wiser, rougher around the edges, and those sunnier romantic comedies just don’t cut it anymore (if you can even manage to squeeze in the time for romance). You also come to realize some of the best romantic movies capture a realistic view of both the good times and the bad. If this sounds like you, you may want to watch a romantic flick with an edge and a bit of a bleeding heart. Our suggestions?

The Big Sick (2017). This is an Oscar-nominated romantic comedy that has a true-to-life dose of moodiness. Co-writers Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon draw from their own real-life experiences about how they met, fell in love, and survived the odds. Gordon’s character is played by actress Zoe Kazan, and Nanjiani plays himself—which makes this a very unique film. Nanjiani and his family are from Pakistan, and his parents who are devout Muslims, wish him to have an arranged marriage. He goes against their wishes—and falls in love with Gordon, a white American girl. Gordon comes to the realization that she has a rare inflammatory disease which eventually leaves her hospitalized and in a coma. Nanjiani and Gordon’s parents are at her bedside and strike up an awkward relationship. This is a thought-provoking and hilarious movie with a dark streak of reality that leaves a lasting impression.

 Disobedience. This is a film just released in 2018 and it makes our list of top romantic movies to watch this year as Rachel Weisz performs opposite Rachel McAdams in a compelling portrayal of forbidden bisexuality. There are not many films that portray romantic love outside of the realms of heteronormativity that don’t also end in tragedy, such as in the heartbreaking Brokeback Mountain (2005). Originally written by novelist Naomi Alderman, Disobedience doesn’t disappoint. After a long stint abroad, Rachel Weisz’s character Ronit returns to her home in North London, after the death of her father. This is where she is reunited with the flame of her younger years, Esti—who is played by McAdams. Esti and Ronit are unsure what to make of their feelings that begin to resurface, especially as Esti is still a practicing Orthodox Jew and married to her unsuspecting husband, the very religious David—played by Academy Award-winning Alessandro Nivola.

 Silver Lining Playbook (2012). This is a hilarious movie about two mediocre people doing mediocre things, but who develop a quirky love for each other that is anything but. Originally written by debut novelist Matthew Quick, characters Pat Jr., played by Bradley Cooper, and Tiffany, a young widow and the neighborhood slut played by actress Jennifer Lawrence, quickly get to the heart of the matter. Pat Jr. has just been released from a months long-stint in a mental hospital for assaulting his ex-wife’s paramour. He lost his wife, his job, and his house and has to return to live with his parents while he rebuilds his life. Pat Sr. is played by none other than Robert De Niro, and like a junior, is also harmlessly mentally unstable. Tiffany falls in love with Pat Jr. who initially objects to her advances as he tries to win back his ex-wife. However, she finds a way to emotionally manipulate Pat into participating in a dance competition and the inevitable drama it produces leaves him realizing he may even return some feelings for her.

Photo:   Miroslava

Photo: Miroslava

Whatever floats your love boat, our romantic movie picks have you covered. Pindify loves film, filmmakers, and film lovers. Pindify is the digital arts and entertainment platform where creators can earn a living doing what they love!

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Elizabeth Jarrard