Thursday Movie Picks: Romance Tropes Edition – Friends to Lovers

ThursdayMoviePicksHappy almost Friday! It’s TMP time! The Thursday Movie Picks blogathon was spearheaded by Wandering Through the Shelves Blog.

The rules are simple simple: Each week there is a topic for you to create a list of three movies. Your picks can either be favourites/best, worst, hidden gems, or if you’re up to it one of each. This Thursday’s theme is… Romance Tropes Edition: Friends to Lovers.

It’s no surprise there’s a ROMANCE theme this month given Valentine’s Day falls in February. I didn’t participate last time as I don’t really care for movies about fake relationships, but I do love movies about friends-turned-lovers as that’s how my hubby and I started out. We were good friends for a year in college and we’ve been married for 18 years now [I guess I just dated myself, ha!]

In any case, here are my picks:

EMMA (1996)

This is the first film I thought of right away and though I’m actually not a huge fan of Gwyneth Paltrow, I still like this version better than the one with Anya Taylor-Joy as the title role. I certainly prefer Jeremy Northam as Mr. Knightley than Johnny Flynn who looks more like a rock star than a refined gentleman.

As with many friends-to-lovers relationships, there’s usually one who is more besotted than the other. The gentle and wise Knightley has always known his feelings for Emma while she remains clueless while she keeps on meddling in other people’s affairs. There’s a 16-year age difference in the book which is reflected pretty accurately in this film.



Fun Trivia:
Rachel Portman became the first woman to win the Academy Award for Best Original Score. The following year, Anne Dudley won the same award for The Full Monty (1997), followed by Hildur Gudnadottir for Joker. As of 2020, the three remain the only women to win an Oscar in that category.

Mansfield Park (1999)

Yes I have another Jane Austen movie, well la dee da! I know that many Austen purists dislike this movie as it doesn’t portray the protagonist Fanny Price accurately. But I actually like the more spirited version of Patricia Rozema, played beautifully by Frances O’Connor.

Fanny’s friendship with Edmund Bertram (Jonny Lee Miller) started when they’re just kids and they’ve always had deep mutual respect for each other. Somehow it takes a set of new neighbors for them to realize (well, mostly Edmund) how much they actually love one another. I LOVE Edmund’s confession to Fanny at the end, it was so overdue, yet the timing couldn’t be more perfect.

Fun Trivia:
Mansfield Park was Jane Austen’s most successful novel in her lifetime, earning her in excess of £300.

Somekind of Wonderful

80s teen rom-coms are practically defined by John Hughes. He wrote this one and the movie was directed by Howard Deutsch and it’s one of the few 80s rom-coms I actually still remember and love to this day.

Keith (Eric Stoltz) and tomboy drummer Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson) are besties but Watts is secretly in love with him. Keith somehow got a chance to go on a date with the girl of his dreams, Amanda (Lea Thompson), while her ex tries to get her back.

Ahhh… the agony & ecstasy of unrequited love… who can’t relate to someone like Watts? We’ve all been there at some point in our lives.

I always remember the Keith-Watts kissing scene that Watts framed as ‘practice’ before his date. This article written to commemorate the film’s 30th anniversary calls it the ‘kiss that kills’ scene and it’s truly wonderful and practically iconic.

Fun Trivia:
Howard Deutsch and Lea Thompson fell in love during filming and they’re still married to this day.

Always Be My Maybe (2019)

I know everyone is all about that Keanu Reeves’ cameo but the story between childhood friends Sasha and Marcus are so awesome. Ali Wong and Randall Park make for such a dynamic duo that’s so delightful to watch.

Despite being separated for 15 years and their careers gone on opposite directions, sparks still fly when they meet. I love the hilarious scene when they first meet after being apart for so many years, with Marcus’ dad (James Saito) candidly recalling their old times together.

Fun Trivia:
Ali Wong and Randall Park said that Keanu Reeves was their first choice for the film. The script was sent to him, but Wong and Park never thought they would get him. Reeves had watched Wong’s Netflix special ‘Baby Cobra’ and read the script to ‘Always Be My Maybe’ and said yes. Wong said he wrote “I would be honored to be part of your love story.” Park said that Reeves was quoting lines from Wong’s special.

So who are YOUR favorite movies about Friends turned Lovers?

25 thoughts on “Thursday Movie Picks: Romance Tropes Edition – Friends to Lovers

    1. Hey I’m surprised you’ve seen two of these! Always My Maybe is a lot of fun, I think even non-romance fans would enjoy that as it’s more of a comedy.

  1. I haven’t seen your last but I love your first three!!

    I’m probably even less of a fan of Paltrow than you, this is the only film where I’ve found her adequate. I think my fondness for Emma is the fact that the film doesn’t rise and fall on the GOOP girl but on the surrounding cast as well. And that cast couldn’t be better-Northam, Toni Collette and Sophie Thompson are the MVPs but the whole group are peerless.

    Mansfield Park is one of the Austen novels I haven’t read so I’m not aware of the differences you mentioned but Frances O’Connor’s take one Fanny is great. Love Jonny Lee Miller as Edmund as well.

    Some Kind of Wonderful was one of the first films I thought of too (along with When Harry Met Sally) but expected to see them everywhere-though this is the first time I’ve run across this-so I moved on. I remember when it came out amidst all the other John Hughes pictures (Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink etc.) that were everywhere for a while. It was a little more scrappy and rough around the edges which I liked and the three leads all turn in fine work.

    Funny you mentioned The Full Monty, it’s one of my choices! 🙂

    The Wedding Singer (1998)-Nice guy Robbie Hart (Adam Sandler) is a wedding singer at a small hall in 80’s New Jersey who is about to marry Linda (Angela Featherstone) when he meets server Julia (Drew Barrymore) who has just started at the venue. Julia is engaged to Glenn (Matthew Glave) and they strike up a friendship over that mutual fact. But when Linda dumps Robbie on the eve of their wedding he falls apart and Julia trying to help him get back on his feet asks Robbie to help plan her upcoming nuptials. As they work on the plans Robbie realizes that not only is Glenn an enormous tool but that he’s falling for Julia who subconsciously is doing the same. Will they realize their true feelings in time? Probably Sandler’s sweetest, least abrasive film packed wall to wall with fun 80’s music and fashions.

    The Full Monty (1997)-When hard times fall on an English town a group of men on the dole including Gaz (Robert Carlyle), Dave (Mark Addy), Lomper (Steve Huison) and Guy (Hugo Speer) form a male strip revue. Out of desperation to pull in crowds they promise to go “the full Monty”. Though they run into many hurdles, some comic and others serious, eventually they prevail, along the way buddies Lomper & Guy realize they’ve fallen for each other and end up a couple.

    Hands Across the Table (1935)-Manicurist Regi Allen (Carole Lombard) works at a swanky hotel hunting for a rich husband. She thinks she’s found a plum pigeon in Theodore Drew III (Fred MacMurray), since he comes from a prominent family but finds out he’s as broke as she is since the stock market crash. They become friends though and decide to help each other in their gold digging. Regi meets wealthy hotel guest Allen Macklyn (Ralph Bellamy), who falls for her while Ted is waiting for Vivian Snowden (Astrid Allwyn) the heiress he has on the hook to return from Bermuda so he can hop back on the gravy train. All seems smooth sailing but as feelings between Regi and Theodore develop, their careful plans start to change.

    1. Hello Joel! You’re so right about the supporting cast of EMMA! I LOVE Toni Collette in that role, she’s such a terrific actress (way better than Paltrow ever could).

      I’ve seen your first two and enjoyed them, and I’m intrigued by your 3rd pick. Hands Across the Table sounds like a delightful movie. I wish you have a blog man, you have such great picks and fun opinion about movies!

  2. Oh I’ll admit – I mainly watched Always Be My Maybe the day it was released because of the Keanu Reeves cameo. But Ii stayed for the romance which felt so genuine. I haven’t seen your other 3 picks but they sound wonderful ❤

    1. Hey Allie, I’m glad Keanu drew people to that movie and they end up liking the story. I’m actually not that familiar w/ either of those two actors but they’re so great together in Always Be My Maybe!

  3. I haven’t seen most of this week’s picks, but I love the semi Jane Austen theme you chose. Frances O’Connor is highly underrated. Her and Brendan Fraser are hilarious together in Bedazzled. I liked the cast for Always Be My Maybe,especially Keanu’s cameo, but the script was too dull for me. Glad you liked it though!

  4. I thought the 1996 version of Emma is ok. Haven’t seen the new movie adaptation. Have you seen the 2009 BBC TV adaptation with Romola Garai as Emma? I love that one.

    I love this adaptation of Mansfield Park. And yes Fanny is so much more spirited here, which I suppose is why I enjoyed the movie. Fanny is so dull in the book.

    1. I’ve seen a trailer of it but haven’t seen the entirety of the 2009 BBC version of EMMA. I do love Romola Garai who I think is such an underrrated actress.

      Btw, I love this week’s topic of Forbidden Love, and I adore MOULIN ROUGE!

  5. Pingback: The Alliance Lately: Issue No. 23 – The Minnesota Film Critics Alliance

  6. Oh, I’m so glad you included Emma. I love that film so much. Ewan McGregor and Toni Collette were great in it, too. It Emma! Gwyneth’s best role and the one she deserved the Oscar for! Speaking of Oscars, I wrote a little bit about oscar snubs on my blog and I’d like to hear what you think if you check it out:

    I think Friends with Benefits was a pretty decent entry in the friends-to-couple-catalogue. Mila Kunis is very charming there.

    1. Hello! Did you like the latest version of EMMA? I have to say I prefer this version and Toni Collette is so amazing in it.

      I have heard of Friends with Benefits, and though I like Mila Kunis, I’m not intrigued by that movie.

        1. I’m curious to read what you think of the latest EMMA. I like Anya Taylor-Joy but the adaptation is kinda meh to me. I also can’t stand Johnny Flynn as Knightley.

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