I’ve been single for a long time. But now, I may have met someone — fingers crossed. This is the first time in many, many years that I’ve felt this smitten.
(This is an odd way to start a ScreenTime column, but it’ll make sense soon.)
Romance, connection, and camaraderie have been on my mind — overwhelmingly so. Since I’m a guy who more or less lives inside a video store, I’ve been watching a lot of romantic films.
So while the box office continues to stumble despite having great films screening at the moment, I’m going to discuss the most romantic films I’ve ever seen.
Before I begin, keep in mind that I’m picky. While I like movies such as The Notebook and Casablanca, they don’t hit me in the way the films I’ve picked for this week’s column do.
I’m admittedly a big fan of rom-coms like When Harry Met Sally, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Moonstruck, and even There’s Something About Mary, but none of those flicks leaves me reeling like the ones below. So let’s get to it.
The Before Trilogy
The first installment profoundly changed the way I felt about romantic connection, and the second one relit hope during a time in my life when I was jaded. How did the third installment impact me? Well, that’s another story. It’s a remarkable film, but not one that I would call especially romantic.
All three of these films — Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight — are esentially two people talking. In the first film we see two people clicking in a rare way, then allowing themselves to be vulnerable with each other.
I wanted that — I still want that. I might have that right now, and it’s exciting.
In the Mood for Love
According to a number of Best of the Century lists by critics, this sits as one of the two or three best films since 1999. A romantic epic that takes it’s time, this is one I don’t want to say too much about. If you haven’t seen it, I’d recommend going in as blindly as possible.
This Oscar-winning story about a young gay black man growing up and coming into his own skin is another favorite. Jenkins was inspired by the films of the above-mentioned Won Kar-Wai, and it shows. That being said, Jenkins is a one-of-a-kind storyteller, and this flick is an absolute standalone masterpiece. It’s one of the most romantic films I’ve ever seen.
Here’s a movie about longing and more longing. Forbidden longing, to be exact, which ensues anger, hate, and frustration. If you’ve ever really wanted something that you can’t have, this is the movie for you. Also, because Heath Ledger truly was an incredible actor, this film slips in a whole lot of romance. I still have trouble believing this one didn’t win Best Picture at the Oscars.
This is the one I’d recommend the most. It’s one of my favorite movies by maybe my favorite director. Every time I revisit this flick, I become more aware of how much control Anderson has over everything; his actors, his camera, his story, and, especially in this film, his audience.
This film, starring Adam Sandler before he found an interest in dramatic work, tells the story of a closed-off, seemingly unlovable man who meets a woman that sees something in him. It’s a bit of a manic pixie dream girl story, but it’s the best of that kind of trope. Mostly, this is a story about a person finding love for the first time, and Anderson and Sandler make a miracle of it.