Well folks, it’s just hours before we’re done with 2020. I think the less said about this year we’re about to leave behind the better. I know I am looking forward to the year ahead… I mean, looking at how we spent most of the year during a pandemic, I sure hope there’s only one way but up!
Now, as most of us likely aren’t gonna be ringing the new year in a festive way, we can always live vicariously through characters in the movies. So here are five memorable New Year’s Eve scenes that have proven to be quite timeless…
Sleepless In Seattle (1993)
Leave it to Nora Ephron to write/direct tons of memorable scenes set during the holiday season. There are even two indelible ones from her most famous rom-coms, one being When Harry Met Sally in 1989, then this one a few years later, also with Meg Ryan as the lead.
I have a soft spot for Sleepless In Seattle so I included this one. There’s just something so sweet and charming in the whole story, no matter how fantastical the premise may be. It’ll melt even the most cynical people as the dialog and performances are just so amazing. I love this ending scene at the top of Empire State Building, inspired by Ryan’s character beloved romance An Affair To Remember … it’s perhaps one of the greatest rom-com scenes ever. From the moment Tom Hanks‘ Sam says to Annie ‘it’s you…’ to when she looked at him and says, ‘Sam, it’s nice to meet you’ which makes Sam’s kid Jonah grinning widely… it’s simply magical.
Well, not every New Year’s Eve can be all romantic, fun and festive… but it doesn’t mean that it can’t be memorable. Given the year we’ve had, I simply had to include this scene from this post-apocalyptic film to counter balance out the jubilant ones. Don’t we all wish we could bludgeon Covid-19 virus to death like these guys?
The movie is set in the year is 2031 (heck that’s just a decade later!) and the world has been destroyed in a climate disaster where survivors had to live on a massive train named Snowpiercer that circles the globe. There’s a celebration of the New Year to mark each time the train make one circumnavigation of the globe. It’s on one of those days that the lower-class passengers on the back of the train force their way to the elites on the front. A fierce, brutal battle ensues… let’s just say we’d all likely coming out unscathed compared to these guys, yes even in 2020!
In any case, if you haven’t seen Bong Joon-ho‘s brilliant English-language debut, well it’s never too late to do so.
The Age of Adaline (2015)
I love, love this underrated romance drama. Yes, I realize the ‘science’ behind how Adaline became ‘immune to the ravages of time’ isn’t exactly legit, after all most people would certainly perish if the car they drive plunges into a lake and got hit by lightning. But hey, in an era of superhero movies where people gain superpowers for all kinds of weird reasons, I’d think we can easily suspend our disbelief for this one.
This is the first time I saw Blake Lively and I have to say she’s breathtakingly beautiful here and there’s an air of mystery about her that is bewitching. The costume design is simply stunning, especially the red velvet gown Adaline wears to the NYE party. She catches the eye of hunky Ellis (Michiel Huisman) which leads to one of the swooniest movie meet-cute ever.
Phantom Thread (2017)
I have to admit that the first time I saw this movie I wasn’t immediately won over. As I mentioned in my review, I wasn’t moved by it as it’s definitely not a conventional love story, in fact it’s a twisted one. But still, it’s a film I appreciate and Paul Thomas Anderson and a thought-provoking one as well. I read an article analyzing the psychological aspect of the film, and the relationship expert said that Daniel Day Lewis‘ Reynolds is a perfectionist and is all about precision. But love is not precise and unlike a piece of fabric, a wife isn’t a ‘thing’ a man can mold however one likes.
The film is visually gorgeous, which is astonishing as PTA himself shot this, he did not work with a DP. The New Year’s Eve scene is a moment of defiance for Alma (mesmerizing Vicky Krieps) who leaves her humdrum husband at home and goes to a costume party. He in turns follows her, watching from a distance at first… and the scene of the two of them dance alone in a deserted concert hall with balloons, confetti everywhere is simply exquisite. A spotlight beams down on them as they embrace… and though we don’t know if their marriage would survive, it seems there’s a sliver of hope. Complemented by Jonny Greenwood‘s evocative score, this scene leaves an indelible mark in cinema history.
The Apartment (1960)
It’s been ages since I saw this classic rom-com, still regarded as one of the best classic romance of all time. There’s a similarity to Sleepless In Seattle, where the female protagonist suddenly realizes that the man she is spending NYE with isn’t the one she wants to spend her entire life with.
Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon have such a lovely chemistry in this Billy Wilder‘s classic. Apparently the writer/director was inspired to write this after seeing Brief Encounter (1945), a beautiful romantic drama I still need to review one of these days.
I’m posting two clips here as I love the contrast of a festive NYE party, with the crowds ringing the new year as Auld Lang Syne is playing… and she ponders that there’s somewhere else she’d rather be. Then cut to Fran running to Baxter’s apartment… away from crowds and all the festivities, it’s just a party of two, playing cards. As he finally declares his love for her, the only reply she gives is: “Shut up and deal.” Not exactly a romantic gesture, but it’s absolutely perfect.
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Here’s to a much better 2021!
14 thoughts on “NEW YEAR Special: Five memorable scenes set on New Year’s Eve”
Surprised to see Sleepless take the spot over When Harry Met Sally. They’re both NYE climaxes!
Hello Haley, welcome to FlixChatter! I did mention When Harry Met Sally which is definitely indelible, but I have a special fondness for Sleepless In Seattle. The great Nora Ephron created such memorable NYE scenes!
You know somehow New Year celebration is never memorable to me, especially in films. I guess I’m just not happy that I’m going to get older and older on each new year, lol! I’ve liked both Sleepless in Seattle and Snowpiercer but couldn’t think of other films that has a scene set during a new year celebration.
Keep my fingers crossed that 2021 will be a better year and that we can all travel the world again. I miss going on planes and seeing new places or visit my favorite spots like Vegas, Miami and San Francisco.
I actually rarely go out to celebrate NYE but it’s quite fun to watch festive scenes in the movies. As for getting older, we’re only as old as we feel 😉
Yes, fingers crossed indeed that the vaccines would indeed work and we can at least travel again even if things won’t get back to normal again. I’m hoping I could go back home to Indo next year but of course the country is still in lockdown right now.
Thanks for this list, Ruth – I was wracking my brain earlier trying to think of films relevant to New Year about from Garry Marshall’s New Years Eve.
Happy New Year to you and yours too. I have everything crossed for a more hopeful 2021.
Hi Claire! Thank you, your comments always make me smile 🙂 I actually haven’t seen Garry Marshall’s New Years Eve, is that worth seeing?
HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and yours!
Looking at my Letterboxd I’ve watched it twice and given it three starts both times – from what I remember it’s a nice film to watch in the background, which may grab your attention now and again.
Ah ok, then I might give it a watch. There are some actors I like in it too 🙂
Phantom Thread and The Apartment are the best examples of great New Year’s Eve films. Oh and… FUCK 2020!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mwahahaha!! Yes, good riddance 2020, here’s to a better 2021 for all our sakes. Thanks for all your awesome comments, Steven, I always appreciate our movie discussions!
I’ve seen all of these except The Age of Adeline. I love Snowpiercer. I didn’t love Phantom Thread but I thought it was such a beautiful film to look at, especially in that scene. Great list!
Hey, I didn’t love Phantom Thread either but I appreciate its beauty. The Age of Adaline is worth checking out, it’s got an intriguing story involving Harrison Ford as well in the third act.
Nice list! Snowpiercer is one of my favorite movies, but I totally forgot about that New Years scene. Loved to see Age of Adaline and Phantom Thread too. Both have beautiful cinematography.
Hello Katy! Yeah, Snowpiercer has many indelible scenes but that NYE battle is crazy! Yes, both Age of Adaline and Phantom Thread are incredibly gorgeous to look at.