I was reading a list of the ‘best romantic films of all time’ in a magazine today and scoffed at many of the films that made the cut. Twilight? The only top ten of mine that would make would be ‘worst films of all time’, or perhaps ‘most overrated piece of modern literature’. The Notebook? I think I might be the only one, but I find The Notebook to be a little bit creepy. I adore Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling is attractive enough, but there is something off-putting about a guy that will build an entire house for a girl he’s in love with, but not actually try to find her. Plus his voice is awful. I didn’t enjoy the Noah character, I found him weak and unattractive. Maybe I’m missing the mushy gene. On that note, here are my top ten favourite romantic flicks.
1. Roman Holiday – this is a film I watch when I’m unwell, when I’m bored, when I’ve been through a break up, when I’m homesick and basically any time I want to enjoy 90-odd minutes of beautiful, innocent romance. Audrey Hepburn is the quintessential romantic lead – she is fragile, captivating and absolutely stunning. When paired with Gregory Peck it’s amazing to watch because they are both so aesthetically pleasing and on top of that they are wonderful actors. Gregory Peck would have been my celebrity crush if I was a 50s betty. The scenes where the pair are riding around Rome on the scooter are some of my favourite in cinema, period. OK, I’ll stop gushing now.
2. Casablanca – Although I don’t agree with most ‘best romantic films’ lists, none would be complete without Casablanca. I remember watching this film when I was quite young and just could not fathom why Rick would help Ilsa leave with her husband, when he obviously loved her. Now that I’m older I understand the film a lot more and think it’s a sentiment that absolutely represents true love.
3. Love Actually – This ensemble film looks at love through a range of different characters’ eyes – from the school boy with his first crush, through to a widow, a divorcee and some newlyweds. The humour is what does it for me with this film – I absolutely adore Bill Nighy as Billy Mack and his Christmas single ‘Christmas is All Around You’.
4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – This film is heartbreakingly beautiful and a completely unique take on love and romance. A couple (played superbly by Jim Carey and Kate Winslet) erase each other from their memories after the relationship goes bad. The out-of-sequence scenes make for beautiful viewing, as the whole film is a bit of a puzzle that must be pieced back together. The supporting cast is also wonderful – Mark Ruffalo and Kirsten Dunst in particular.
5. Dirty Dancing – I understand this film does not hold the same appeal to males as it does to us girls, but there’s something about it that is just so great. Patrick Swayze is at his best as dance teacher Johnny, who meets Baby when she and her family come to summer camp. On one level you know their romance is not a lasting one, but that doesn’t seem to take away from the intensity of it.
6. 10 Things I Hate About You – Again, probably not at the top of most ‘top romance films’ lists, but I think this movie is the perfect teen romance flick. And who could resist a young Heath Ledger in such a broody role? This is a 90s teen take on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and follows Cameron as he tries to set up the sister of his affections, as one is not allowed to date until the other does. Cue Ledger as the mysterious Patrick, who agrees to date the sister for a hefty price. The serenading scene is perfect.
7. The Wedding Singer – Adam Sandler at his best. This 90s flick sees wedding singer Robbie and waitress Julia, who are both engaged to be married but to the wrong people. I love that this film can be oh-so-romantic without taking itself too seriously.
8. Amelie – This French film is all about a young girl’s quest to help others find love, but it’s done in a quirky, cute way and is just so appealing. Audrey Tautou is a darling and this film definitely rests on her shoulders. I love the garden gnome sub-plot and all the wonderful characters.
9. In The Mood For Love – I would not have seen this film if it weren’t for a subject at uni called International Film, but I’m so glad I did. This beautiful film follows a young man and woman who move in to neighboring apartments in Hong Kong and become friends after suspecting their partners are having an affair. Their suspicions are correct and although there is an attraction between them, they remain as friends so as not to sink to the level of their spouses. This is one of those films where what is not said is as important as what is. It’s quite sad in that both couples end up breaking up and being alone, but I love the sentiment that these two support one another and don’t fall into adultery as their partners did. A must see.
10. 500 Days of Summer – This is a bit of an anti-romance film and I think a great one for anyone who has just come out of a break up and thinks they will never find someone again to watch. It just proves that while you might be certain that someone is ‘the one’ at the time, we are often blinded by someone’s good qualities when we are in love and may ignore the fact that they are not the right one. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel are such a gorgeous pairing too.
While most lists of romantic films make me cringe with the level of corniness, I think this one is alright 🙂 I would still prefer a gorey slasher-fest any day of the week, but when I’m in the mood for a bit of a chick flick these are good choices.