Friday, July 2, 2010

Best Romance in Cinema (My Comprehensive List)

Many romance movies borderline a pointless pornography theme, and others dupe the consumer with emotional propaganda that, in no way, represents True Love. However, in my lifetime I've come across many films that stand out. With its genuineness, creativity, and heartfelt message on the love that exists between two people. Granted, I appreciate a good "romp" film or chick flick like the next female 20-something, but only those mentioned are what I classify as Romance.

{Idea taken from my friend, Don.}
This list is in no particular order.

1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
This is one of my favorites. The premise of being able to try and literally erase one's ex from your memory, but then attempting to reverse the process, is such a creative concept for a love story. Many of us would like to permanently remove hurtful memories, conversations, and circumstances from the brain. But it gives me a really good feeling when the heart seems to defy the mind and choose to cherish the memory. Jim Carrey is brilliant in this too, and the scenes allow you to vividly travel with him as he fights to get her back.

2. Love and Basketball
I'd say that Brown Sugar is a close runner-up to this movie, but I'll choose this one because of its sentimental value to me when I was a teenager. Classic tale that depicts real circumstances of a young, Black couple that everyone seemed to relate to. This movie struck a cord with me because I was in love with a ball player in high school too (who wasn't, for that matter?). I sort of lived vicariously through Sanaa's Monica because I hoped one day that he'd recognize how amazing I was and we'd both fall madly in love. Eh not exactly my story. Regardless, it was still heart-wrenching to watch the moments after she'd lost that final game and Quincy (played by the gorgeous Omar Epps) said, "Hey...double or nothing." This movie showed me that what is meant to be, truly will be. And this movie has an AMAZING soundtrack, by the way.

3. The Notebook
I'm sorry, this movie still makes me cry like a newborn. It's story is too beautiful to be ignored, and it stays with you long after you've finished watching it. In typical Nicholas Sparks' fashion, where one or both characters die, he still manages to promote the theme of Love that is truly selfless. This principle is a gem in the the midst of movies where women leave their boyfriends for flings had abroad or formed through some great, but short-lived adversity. Many movies show how quickly people are to forfeit commitment for excitement, but this movie emphasizes the opposite. At first viewing, I cried because of the thought, "This is so unfair! How can this happen to two people who love each other and fought so hard to be with one another?" After watching it several times, I realized that their Love was strengthened by her disease, not crippled by it.

4. Moulin Rouge
Another movie that never fails to leave me surrounded by wads of tissue. Not only is this movie a musical (which I absolutely love), but it's beautifully made. It's theme of "The greatest thing you'll ever learn is to love and to be loved in return" is promoted as a philosophy in life; which is what is left with the viewer...rather than a mere feeling. It carries the same realness & transparency as Pretty Woman (which deserves an honorable mention on this list, if I had the room): True Love is able to help a person desire the best out of life. Nicole Kidman's Satine is a woman of ill-repute. Nonetheless, Ewan McGregor's Christian helps her fight to choose a better life for herself. Love makes you want to be your best; for yourself and for that person.

5. Away We Go
This is one of my recent favorites, because it is a straight-forward portrayal of a young couple and their struggle to find their place in the world; together. The movie is hilarious, but has an element of intelligence with its characters (who are all portrayed by great actors with memorable characters). This movie isn't well known, but the fact that it slipped somewhat under the radar makes it special to me. I could heartily relate to Maya Rudolph's Verona and  fell in love with the charm and kindness of John Krasinski's Burt (which is an awful name, but actually adds to his lovableness). Ultimately, you grow to care about the couple and pray by the end of the movie that they find as much happiness in the world as they've found in each other.

 6. Slumdog Millionaire
First off, Bollywood movies are the best. I was pleased to find out that this movie followed in the Bollywood cinematic tradition, and was not let down while watching it. Beautiful film! It has a rich historic feel that gives as much emphasis on the life of Dev Patel's Jamal, as his struggle to rescue his long lost love. This movie, more than any other movie I can think of, is so much more than a romance.

7. Shakespeare in Love
I adore this movie, because I'm a huge fan of Shakespeare. In my opinion, it is the best explanation of Shakespeare's relation to his Romeo & Juliet. I believe all stories are written from some part of the writer's experience, and I'm sure Shakespeare had a muse to inspire Romeo & Juliet. Combine a beautiful storyline, great actors, and a script that would make Shakespeare proud, and you have a solid romance film. My favorite character is actually Judi Dench who brilliantly played Queen Elizabeth.

8. Titanic
C'mon. This is one of the greatest love stories of my generation. I've never had my heart broken while watching a film before....until I dared go to the theater (Yep. And that's a long time to sit in a theater chair, too) with family to view this historic tragedy. I'd never even learned all about the Titanic prior not only was I (at 12 years old) faced with the grave fact that so many people senselessly died on that ship, but that there is the realization that a potentially great love was cut short in the process. And these lessons are still with me to this day.

9. Beauty and the Beast
Yeah, it's a cartoon. So what? I remember watching this a child, and desiring to have a heart just like Belle: kind and selfless. She was portrayed to me as a heroine that ended up being rewarded for her character. Despite her seemingly disconnected nature with those around her, she still possessed the noblest view of life and love. Quite a pair of shoes to want to walk in; despite the fact that they were first drawn on paper. Magical, be it may, it still resounds an important truth to kids and adults alike: Love is only as powerful as it is unconditional. For that, Disney got it completely right.

10. Forrest Gump
Laugh if you want to, but I've never seen a man love a woman as much as Forrest loved Jenny. Not only is this one of my favorite movies of all time, it's a favorite romance movie of mine. He traveled the world, and found himself in the center of history a number of times. Yet, in the midst of all that travel, he never mentally left his back yard...which is this place where he protected his love for the only woman he'd ever loved. The relationship Tom Hanks' Forrest has with Robin Wright's Jenny is both heartbreaking and hopeful. Love's known to be like that sometimes...


  1. beuty and the beast was my fav movie growing up. best love seen in an animation. I loved reading this please read&comment of follow my blog

  2. Great list, I'm a new follower. I would add JUNO to this list though.

    I saw "Not Easily Broken" last night and I didn't find it as cheesy as I thought it would be. It was actually pretty deep and can be an honorable mention.

  3. Shakespeare in Love was soooooo good. As was Titanic. It's interesting how I hardly wanted to watch Titanic and it turned out being as good as it was. I hate how it ended though. Sad.

    I am loving Forrest Gump selection. Yep. Gump definitely loved him some Jenny in a somewhat hopeful and heartbreaking fashion.

    Somehow I've never seen Moulin Rouge.

    Agreed to the fullest @ I'm sorry, this movie still makes me cry like a newborn. It's story is too beautiful to be ignored, and it stays with you long after you've finished watching it. I also agree that their love became strengthened and not crippled. You expressed sentiments of heart, perfectly.

    Love & Basketball is the bomb diggity. Again, I agree with your sentiments.

    Good stuff, B.

  4. @ glowing soul: yes. Never overlook kid films! :)Have you seen Up? It's so good! :)

    @ Tracey: My mom bought Not Easily Broken and we watched it when I came home for summer break. It's really good! I'll give it an honorable mention for this list. Thanks!

    @ Don: I knew you'd seen Shakespeare in Love. I just knew it! lol
    Definitely see Moulin Rouge. Even if you don't care for musicals, its a must-see.