10 non-English language romance films to watch on Valentine’s Weekend

Happy Valentine Weekend, everyone!

February is unofficially a romantic month given everywhere you look you’ll see pink/red flowers/hearts of some kind to remind people that Valentine’s Day is upon us. When it comes to movies, perhaps some of you might watch more romantic movies this month.

Love is universal, so why not watch some romantic movies in a language other than English?

Since I’ve been watching some French shows recently, I thought I’d highlight 10 romantic films from various parts of the world.

Now, not every single one of these are happy love stories… just like real life, love is complex and things don’t always work out the way we want to. But the best love stories are those that not only sweep you off your feet, but also make you think deeply about life and the people who mean most to you.

So here are my film recommendations in alphabetical order:

A Copy Of My Mind (2015)

A cheap salon worker and a pirated DVDs subtitle maker fall in love during the turbulent presidential election in Indonesia.

This was the first Indonesian film I saw in the theater here in the US, as part of a local film festival. It takes place in my hometown Jakarta and explores the gritty, unglamorous side of the overpopulated (and over-polluted) Indonesian capital. It’s a love story between Sari (Tara Braso) who works at a cheap salon and spends her nights watching pirated movies (which are everywhere in Indo). She meets her match in Alek (Chicco Jerikho), a guy who actually works providing subtitles for illegal dvds, including porn, ahah.

Joko Anwar is a pretty renowned Indo director and he’s definitely a talented filmmaker. He’s got a gift in creating a genuine sense of intimacy and realism in his romances as the characters relationship feels natural and their journey emotionally involving. The film turns into a political thriller as Sari accidentally gets a hold of a DVD that connects a politician and the mafia. No, it doesn’t suddenly turn into a Bourne movie, but there are some scenes that are tough to watch. The open-ended ending was quite frustrating, but doesn’t negate all the positive aspects of this thought-provoking film.

Amelie (2001)

Amélie is an innocent and naive girl in Paris with her own sense of justice. She decides to help those around her and, along the way, discovers love.

When one hears the term joie de vivre that is, the joy of living, I often think of Amélie, the quirky, vivacious protagonist in Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s French rom-com. Jeunet takes us along on a journey through Paris, a world full of misfits and outcasts, where she delights in the simplest things in life.

One day she meets Nino who likes to collect and reconstruct rejected photos under photo booths. Love sometimes hits you when you least expect it and this is a romantic journey you wouldn’t want to miss. Audrey Tautou is simply mesmerizing in the title role and the cinematography, ambience and music will make you fall in love with the City of Light.

Anna Karenina: Vronsky’s Story (2017)

During Russian-Japanese War, the head of the hospital Sergey Karenin learns that the wounded officer Count Vronsky is the person who ruined his mother Anna Karenina.

There have been SO many adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s tragic romance, but this one is actually a Russian adaptation and told from the perspective of Anna’s lover, Count Vronsky. I actually reviewed this one a few years ago and though I wasn’t overly fond of it, I’d still recommend this one for fans of period dramas for the gorgeous set pieces, costumes, music, etc. It’s meticulously crafted and perhaps because the characters speak Russian and it was shot in Russia, it feels authentic.

The beautiful actors, Elizaveta Boyarskaya as Anna and Maksim Matveev as Vronsky depict their tumultuous love story with intense passion, as their story is told in flashback 30 years later after Anna’s doomed end. It’s quite interesting to imagine Anna’s son, who’s now the head of the hospital where Vronsky is being treated. The film tends to be on the melodramatic side, but I’d still recommend this one for those who love Tolstoy’s work and are fans of historical dramas.

Bombay Rose (2019)

A romance set on the streets of Bombay we witness Kamala and Salim’s quest for love in this chaotic and beautiful city.

I wanted to include an animated film on this list and immediately thought of this one I watched last year. It’s quite rare to see an animated romantic dramas (now I wouldn’t count the more fantastical Disney Princess movies in the same category as this one) and this beautiful hand-painted animation was created by animation filmmaker Gitanjali Rao. It’s quite impressive given this is her debut feature–every frame is strikingly beautiful but also laden with passion and humanity.

It’s a tale of forbidden love between a Hindu and a Muslim, and a subplot involving an English language teacher who pines for a long lost love. While the story gets overly complicated at times, there’s still a magnetic quality that keeps you engaged. I also like that there’s a film-within-a-film in its storytelling, as well as an intriguing mix of realism, life on the streets of Bombay, with surrealistic elements such as a character turning into an eagle. While it’s not perfect narratively, it’s still well worth a watch for its exquisite visuals and unique storytelling style.

Cinema Paradiso (1988)

A filmmaker recalls his childhood when falling in love with the pictures at the cinema of his home village and forms a deep friendship with the cinema’s projectionist.

I’ve blogged about Cinema Paradiso quite a few times and it remains one of the foreign-language movies I recommend to people. Written and directed by Giuseppe Tornatore, it’s more than just a romance between two people (Toto and Elena), it’s also a beautiful love letter to cinema, as well as a heartfelt tribute to life-altering friendship (Alfredo and Toto).

There are plenty of romantic moments between the handsome Italian boy Toto and the subject of his affection is Elena, including an iconic kissing scene in the rain. But it’s the final scene of the older Toto who’s now a successful filmmaker… alone in an empty cinema watching something Alfredo made specially for him. I won’t spoil it for you… but let’s just say it’s one of cinema’s greatest scenes.

Cold War (2019)

In the 1950s, a music director falls in love with a singer and tries to persuade her to flee communist Poland for France.

This Polish black/white film by Pawel Pawlikowski is a beautiful and emotionally-haunting film. It’s not exactly a ‘joyful’ movie, nor is it a fantastical, dreamy look at love. Joanna Kulig  and Tomasz Kot have that Bogie/Bacall vibe, a strong chemistry and a passionate intensity that burns through the screen.

Billed as an impossible love story in impossible times, their romance is dark, thorny and even tragic. I remember watching this on the big screen in a nearly empty theater and I almost couldn’t move when it ended. The minimalist filmmaking style packs an emotional punch, definitely one of the best love stories that speaks about the complexity of human emotion living in difficult times.

For A Woman (2016)

After their mother’s death, a filmmaker and her sister discover a cache of old photos and letters that lead them to unravel their parents’ tangled relationship with a mysterious uncle.

I saw this as part of Minneapolis/St. Paul Film Festival. The post-WWII story is based on French director Diane Kurys’ own family history. The lovely Mélanie Thierry plays a young mother Lena whose husband Michel (Benoît Magimel) had rescued her when they both were in a concentration camp. The new life they’ve built together in Paris takes an unexpected turn when her husband’s long-lost brother Jean (Nicolas Duvauchelle) suddenly shows up in their apartment.

I enjoy love stories with a bit of mystery thrown in, and the political aspect of this film certainly makes this one even more beguiling. The film moves between two periods, late 1940s and in the 80s where Lena’s daughter Anne (Sylvie Testud) is now a filmmaker who’s inspired to write a screenplay based on her parents’ story.

House of Flying Daggers (2004)

During the reign of the Tang Dinasty, two captains of the government army, plot a scheme against the rebels using the blind dancer Mei to approach their leaders, but their love for Mei leads them to a tragedy.

I barely watch any Kung Fu movies, but I remember enjoying this Kung Fu romance drama by Zhang Yimou. Known for his beautifully-shot epic movies such as Hero, Curse of the Golden Flower, this one also features spectacular action sequences that take your breath away. The one in the bamboo forest is one that’ll make you go ‘how did they do that?’ But what I remember most is the chemistry between Takeshi Kaneshiro and Zhang Ziyi who are both phenomenally gorgeous actors. Ziyi plays a beautiful blind dancer who get entangled with two men (the other one played by Andy Lau) who happen to work together.

It’s one of those impossible love stories where the odds are always against them and there are larger forces at work that prevent them from ever being together. I remember thinking that despite all the stunning landscapes (shot in China and Ukraine) and unbelievable, physics-defying Kung Fu, there is still a tender love story at the center.

Photograph (2019)

A struggling street photographer in Mumbai, pressured to marry by his grandmother, convinces a shy stranger to pose as his fiancée. The pair develop a connection that transforms them in ways they could not expect.

I’ve been wanting to see this movie for a long time and I finally did earlier this week so I could include it on this list. I had heard of Ritesh Batra’s The Lunch Box starring the late Irrfan Khan, where Nawazuddin Siddiqui has a supporting role. This one is also set in Mumbai and this time Siddiqui plays a street photographer Rafi, who asks a woman named Miloni he took a picture of to pretend to be his fiancée. He does it to appease his grandmother (Dadi) who, unsurprisingly in that culture, has been pestering him to choose a wife. Farrukh Jaffar is quite a hoot in the role of Dadi, providing some of the lighter, comic moments.

There is such a quiet grace about this film, even amidst the chaotic Mumbai streets and in a cramped living quarter where Rafi shares with his work buddies. The story touches upon themes of social class given that Miloni comes from a more affluent background. Yet it doesn’t stop their chance encounter to blossom albeit ever so tentatively, which might seem unusual in the age of instant gratification. There’s a pretty bizarre scene involving a ghost that seems a bit out of character, yet somehow delivered in a nonchalant manner that you just go with it. I’m really impressed by Batra’s work here and will definitely be checking out his other work.

In The Mood for Love (2001)

Two neighbors, a woman and a man, form a strong bond after both suspect extramarital activities of their spouses. However, they agree to keep their bond platonic so as not to commit similar wrongs.

This movie is one of my cinematic blind spots but I finally rectified it this week when I saw it for the first time on HBO Max. I’m not too familiar with Wong Kar-wai’s work, the only other film of his I saw was The Grandmaster which is a visually-ravishing film. Now, the same could be said about this one, which also stars Tony Chiu-Wai Leung. He and Maggie Cheung have such an exquisite chemistry… even as they steal glances every time they pass through a narrow corridor to get to their cramped home, you can cut their repressed tension with a knife.

Set in Hong Kong in the 1960s, Mr. Chow is a newspaper editor and Mrs. Chan a secretary. Both of their respective spouses are barely shown or not at all, allowing them to spend time together as they suspect their spouses’ infidelity. It’s one of the most beautiful films about love and loss… stylishly-directed by Kar-wai and shot by his longtime collaborator Christopher Doyle. A poignant and heart-wrenching drama for the ages. In fact, reading IMDb trivia, this was the film that made Alejandro González Iñárritu want to be a filmmaker, wow!


Which of these films have you seen? If you have foreign romance films to recommend, please leave them in the comments!

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?

Valentine Special – Who’s your favorite romantic on-screen couples?

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Hope it’s been a lovely day for you, wherever you are and whatever your love life is like. I actually don’t make a big fuss about V-day generally, especially the older I get. I actually told my hubby not to get me flowers this year, I mean, I still have a huge bouquet of roses from my dear brother for my birthday a few days ago, I wouldn’t know where to put another one.

MoulinRougeKiss

In any case, since I think in terms of movies, V-day always makes me think of favorite romantic pairings on screen. I’ve listed my top 10 three years ago, and the pairing of Nicole Kidman & Ewan McGregor in Moulin Rouge! is still my fave to this day!

Well, today I’m going to highlight ten of my recent favorite on-screen romantic couples, both on film and TV. Pictures do speak louder than words, and so here we go…

Click on each image to read my review of each film

Brooklyn
Eilis & Tony – ‘Brooklyn’
IATIHK
Ruby & Josh – ‘It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong’
AgeofAdaline
Adaline & Ellis – ‘The Age of Adaline’
Belle
Belle & John – ‘Belle’
FarFromTheMaddingCrowd
Gabriel & Bathsheba – ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’
BeyondtheLights
Noni & Kaz – ‘Beyond the Lights’
Daredevil
Matt & Claire – ‘Daredevil’
Cinderella
Ella & Prince Kit – ‘Cinderella’
Creed
Adonis & Bianca – ‘Creed’
PPZ
Darcy & Lizzie – ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’


Now I turn it over to you…
Who are YOUR favorite recent cinematic romantic couples?

Valentine Special – A Dozen Cinematic Romances We LOVE

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

DozenRosesMy blog buddy Cindy Bruchman and I have been thinking about collaborating on a post and since V-day is around the corner, we decided on a topic about cinematic love stories that are dear to our hearts.

We’re talking about films that has a love story that we often revisit again and again because it touches us in a way that no other love stories did. It doesn’t even have to be a romantic film, as love stories can exist within a variety of genres.

So here are six picks from each of us… 

Cindy’s Picks:

The love stories in film which have lodged in my heart bear a similar theme. I have agonized with the characters and felt their pain. Yes, infatuation and adoration is quaint, but love is complicated. Dark. Painful. Unrequited. Denied. Disappointing. A conglomerate of emotions, it brings out the worst and best in you. I salute everyone who has experienced and survived love. It truly is all you need and what the world needs now.

Here are my favorite six films about love:

The Age of Innocence (1993)

Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of Edith Wharton’s novel, The Age of Innocence, features Daniel Day-Lewis and Michelle Pfeiffer at their best.  For years, I contemplated why, oh why, didn’t Newland Archer claim Ellen Olenska for his own when he was finally free to do so? It took a couple of decades, but now I understand.

1. He was devoted to convention. Here the adage, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” applies.

2. The beauty of her and their love was pure, avoiding time’s tarnishing power. In his mind, their love lived on in glorious perfection complete with reciprocating passion and submission. To resume would pop that vision he nurtured for decades. Oscar Wilde would have approved the ending.

The Painted Veil (2006)

Another satisfying adaptation, this W. Somerset Maugham’s tale of married couple, Kitty and Walter Fane, who travel great distances emotionally and physically, come together as companions and experience selfless love. It’s a film where feelings go backwards from discontent to liberation. The power of love and their “falling” is as beautiful as the film’s location in rural China.

West Side Story (1961)

This Romeo and Juliet version set in NYC is timeless. Jerome Robbins’s direction/choreography and Leonard Bernstein’s score have never been bested, and I doubt a picture will ever capture the energy and the dark side of love between ethnic rivals, the Jets and Sharks, as did the 1961 film version. Maria comes of age as the Puerto Rican sister whose brother is gang leader of the Sharks. By the film’s end, she is a woman who understands that the merging of two people with all its dimensions create a new entity. With the strength of two, life isn’t so scary anymore. God gives his glowing approval through the cross paneled window at the mock wedding. I love the simple harmony of this duet. And of course, the prophesy, “Only death can part us now.” Where’s my Kleenex?

Notorious (1946)

Oh, poor misunderstood, Frau Lieberman. Devlin, you idiot, taking so long to realize her love for you was true and you loved her back. This is my favorite Alfred Hitchcock film.

Pride and Prejudice (2005)

I reckon it’s the musical score and the clifftop scene that makes me ache for Lizzie. Two lovers in denial eventually need a walk at dawn’s early light to come face to face and honor each other. Mr. Darcy is perfect. So is Keira Knightley. Did I mention the score?

The Notebook (2004)

Okay, I know it’s sentimental beyond belief, but it’s the James Garner and Gena Rowlands story that has me bawling, for at the end of your life, I predict all that matters is that your true love was there by your side. Even when dementia kicks in. I can’t imagine a more heartbreaking, yet fulfilling ending to a life than knowing one experienced that type of love. How proud one would feel knowing it!

My thanks to Ruth at Flixchatter for pairing up with me on Valentine’s Day. Love, love, love.


Ruth’s Picks

Romance at the movies are perhaps rosier than they are in real life. But the ones that often leave a lasting impression are the ones that love stories that aren’t the happy-ever-after variety. As Cindy said above, love is indeed complicated. But don’t ever let anyone tell you it’s not worth it. The struggle these couples go through moved me to tears, more so than a lot of other movie romances I’ve seen over the years. Some stories have such an enduring quality, and will likely be my lifetime favorites. Some of them are my picks of unconventional love stories I posted five years ago, but I had to include two films I saw last year, two VERY different love stories that has to overcome various barriers.

Sense & Sensibility

It’s no surprise to people who read this blog how much I adore this movie. Many of the main characters suffer for love, but none more so than Col. Brandon and Elinor, both are so tormented for their feelings for Edward and Marianne respectively. If there’s a love story that exemplifies 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 that’s often-quoted at weddings, it’d be THIS. Neither Brandon nor Elinor wallowed in self pity, and their love is patient, kind and not self-seeking. THIS scene is why Brandon is one of my favorite period drama heroes:

GiveMeAnOccupation_SS

There are many memorable quotes from the film but this one never fails to move me to tears whenever I watch that scene…

“…It is bewitching in the idea of one’s happiness entirely depending on one person”

A Walk in the Clouds

I know most of you probably scoff when you see Keanu Reeves as the lead but then you’d be missing out. Aside from all the bad ass sci-fi and action flicks, Reeves make for a pretty convincing romantic lead, too. Here he plays a soldier on the way home from war to be with his wife when he bumps (literally) into Victoria Aragorn on a bus, a woman who’s pregnant out of wedlock. Paul offers to pose as her husband after she tells him her traditional father would kill her if he knew her condition. There’s a warm chemistry between him and Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, and there’s a palpable earnestness in Keanu that sweeps me off my feet. I doesn’t hurt that the film is set in the lush and romantic scenery of the Napa vineyards. Victoria aptly refers to it as ‘the clouds’ as it definitely gets you in head-in-the-clouds frame of mind.

Somewhere in Time

There’s a bit of the hopeless romantic in me and this fantastical time-travel love story gets me every time. It’s always best to have a box of tissue handy whenever I watch this film as it just moves me to my core. He’s most famous for playing Superman, and he shall always be my favorite in that role, but this one shows Christopher Reeve‘s also a capable romantic lead. Reeve’s a playwright who fell in love with a photo of a beautiful actress in the Grand Hotel gallery, he used a self-hypnosis method to transport himself to 1912. The way he looked at Jane Seymour always took my breath away, and you just ache for them to be together. John Barry’s sweeping score is as beautiful as it is haunting, practically woven into the plot that it’s impossible to separate the music from the movie. There’s not many film as unabashedly romantic as this one, its melancholic tone is part of its charm.

Belle

Oh how I love LOVE this film… it’s just sweepingly beautiful. One of the things I love about this film is the heartfelt love story that developed between Belle and her family’s vicar’s son, John Davinier. Gugu Mbatha-Raw‘s affecting performance is deeply moving that I long for her to find happiness she deserves. Both Mbatha-Raw and Sam Reid have such a scorching chemistry that made for some breathless moments. The strict societal norm was made even more convoluted by the fact that Belle was a Black woman living in an upper class British society under Lord Mansfield’s care, so naturally that was a major hurdle for them.

Belle_Davinier

I love their passionate convictions and their longing for each other is heart-wrenching. That scene when John carefully touched Belle’s hand by the window… and that night when he suddenly pulled her close in the garden… oh be still my heart. At one point, John was so overcome with emotions that he yelled to Mansfield that he loves her, with every breath he breathes… it  I always feel a lump on my throat every time I watched it.

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby

It’s too bad this film was barely marketed as it’s a beautiful and poignantly-moving look at love and loss. I don’t want to give anything away but what I can say is how the film is grounded in realism and excellently portrayed by Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy. I could almost feel their heartache. Their agonizing pain was so unbearable that one of them resorted to drastic measures. But it’s also an affecting depiction of not giving up on love and the belief that it could overcome even a seemingly insurmountable grief. There is a scene of McAvoy alone in a long-abandoned apartment that moved me to tears and later joined by Chastain. The way they conveyed such deep emotional heartbreak felt so real and it made me think how I’d react if I were in their shoes. I pictured how my own friends would be in such a situation, that’s how involving the story was.

Roman Holiday

One of the best classic rom-coms ever, Roman Holiday just never gets old. I posted my 59 reasons I love this movie already, I love how it manages to be fluffy & playful but also deep & heart-wrenching. True love is transformative and sacrificial… Joe Bradley went from the rogue-ish, self-serving reporter to the sincere, compassionate, love-stricken man who no longer had it in him to sell the Princess story for his own gain.

A recent Thursday Movie Pick series was on the topic of unrequited love – and this is one of them that sprang up to mind.

RomanHolidayFinale
Source: Pinterest

Oh this finale gets me every single time. It’s absolute perfection in its depiction of unrequited love… Perfect in its elegant simplicity… quiet yet packs such an emotional punch. I don’t think I’ve ever loved Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck more than in this very scene, followed by THAT walk of Peck’s character… alone as everyone else’s left the building, there’s sadness in his eyes but you [hope] there’s a hint of contentment that he’s done the right thing.

 


CindyRuthVdayWish


Hope you enjoyed our picks of cinematic love stories! Now tell us which movie romances left you breathless 😉

Valentine Special: Spotlight on 14 Favorite Movie Couples

Ahhh… it’s Valentine’s Day.

Yes it’s perhaps a commercial birthday where flower and candy shops get to guilt people to get something nice for their significant other. I actually told my hubby not to get me flowers this year and instead we’d get something nice for BOTH of us to enjoy. It is after all, a holiday to celebrate LOVE and it’s a two-way street.

V-DayCollage

For today’s post, I want to shine a spotlight on movie couples from various genres. Some of these pairings might not necessarily be from a romantic film, but their romance certainly are memorable. I deliberately exclude those that I have included in my first top 10 movie couples list I did three years ago just for the sake of not being redundant. Here it is again as I’m sure most of you didn’t read that post:

  1. Julia Roberts & Hugh Grant in Notting Hill
  2. Gerard Butler &  Emily Mortimer in Dear Frankie
  3. Russell Crowe & Kim Basinger in L.A. Confidential
  4. Christian Bale & Emily Watson in Equillibrium
  5. Ewan McGregor & Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge
  6. Harrison Ford & Julia Ormond in Sabrina
  7. Gregory Peck & Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday
  8. David Duchovny & Minnie Driver in Return to Me
  9. Heath Ledger & Julia Stiles in Ten Things I Hate About You
  10. Michael Douglas & Annette Bening in The American President

Just to make things easier for me to narrow down, I’m focusing on films from the 90s and up. If I were include classic movies however, no doubt I’d include Rick and Elsa (Casablanca), Nickie & Terry (An Affair To Remember), Maria & Capt. Von Trapp (The Sound of Music), Joe & Anna (Roman Holiday) and Rhett & Scarlett (Gone with the Wind).

So here are [a sampling] of fourteen of my favorite movie couples, wonderful pairings elevated by bewitching chemistry of the actors. No matter what the circumstances, even if their romance didn’t work out as they (and we) wish it to be, their passion ignites the screen and warm the heart. Some couples are such an enchanting match that it lives on for decades (Before Sunrise), whilst others have become more memorable than the films themselves (The New World)… at least to me anyways.

Well, as pictures are often louder than words… I’ll let these images speak for themselves:

Aragorn & Arwen
(Viggo Mortensen & Liv Tyler – The Lord of the Rings trilogy)

AragornArwen

Amélie & Nino
(Audrey Tatou & Mathieu Kassovitz – Amélie)

AmelieNino
Kate & Harvey
(Dustin Hoffman & Emma Thompson – Last Chance Harvey)

HarveyKate

Hawkeye & Cora
(
Daniel Day-Lewis & Madeline Stowe – The Last of the Mohicans)

HawkeyeCora

Darcy & Elizabeth
(Matthew MacFadyen & Keira Knightly – Pride & Prejudice – 2005)

DarcyLizzy

Jesse & Celine
(Ethan Hawke & Julie Delpy – Before Sunrise)

JesseCelineBeforeSunrise

Frank & Rachel
(Kevin Costner & Whitney Houston – The Bodyguard)

FrankRachelBodyguard

Jack & Rose
(Leonardo DiCaprio & Kate Winslet – Titanic)

JackRose

Pocahontas & John Rolfe
(Christian Bale & Q’orianka Kilcher – The New World)

JohnRolfePocahontas

Phantom and Christine
(Gerard Butler & Emmy Rossum – Phantom of the Opera)

PhantomChristine

Jin and Xiao Mei
(Takeshi Kaneshiro & Ziyi Zhang – House of Flying Daggers)

Jin_XiaoMei

Paul & Victoria
(Keanu Reeves & Aitana Sánchez-Gijón –
A Walk in the Clouds)

PaulVictoriaAWalkInTheClouds

Bond & Vesper
(Daniel Craig & Eva Green – Casino Royale)

BondVesperTrainScene
Robbie & Cecilia
(James McAvoy & Keira Knightley – Atonement)

RobbieCeciliaAtonement


I invite you to check out my past romance-related posts:
10 Romantic Comedies I LOVE | Favorite Unconventionally-Romantic Flicks | Roman Holiday Appreciation | Favorite Period Drama Heroes Part I and Part II


Thoughts about my picks of movie couples? Feel free to add your own picks in the comments below.

Favorite Unconventionally-Romantic Films

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY, readers!
Whether or not you’re spending it with a special someone — be it spending time with friends/family or simply doing something you love — I hope your day’s filled with things that bring you joy.

As I’ve mentioned in my Friday post, below are some of my favorites that don’t exactly follow the conventional formula of courtship. I certainly would rather re-watch these ten times over before I shell out my hard earned $$ to see the ensemble crap cast rom-com Valentine’s Day in the theater (but apparently I’m in the minority as it’s the number movie at the box office this weekend.

Anyhoo, here they are:….

  • Jane Austen’s movies: Sense & Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Persuasion, Pride & Prejudice

    Col. Brandon & Elinor in Sense & Sensibility

    Ok, so all of Austen movies do end happily. But slow-burn romances mixed with a few misunderstandings thrown in seems to be a reliable recipe for irresistible love stories. S & S is one of my all-time favorites of all genres as it’s features not one but two bewitching characters: Elinor Dashwood & Col. Brandon, whose love for Edward Ferrars and Marianne Dashwood respectively seems for a time hopelessly unrequited. But that doesn’t make them bitter or unkind, in fact, their love seems to exemplify this Bible verse: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4 … Though I’ve seen this movie a gazillion times, the scene towards the end where Elinor’s whimpering uncontrollably as she can’t contain her emotion any longer never fails to get me sobbing as well!

    On a related note, I adore Persuasion‘s story of second chance at love, though since the 1995’s version with Ciaran Hinds, there hasn’t been a decent film adaptation. The BBC version left much to be desired, mostly the lack of chemistry between the two leads (though hunky Rupert Penry-Jones makes for a striking leading man) and uninspired direction – having the heroine Anne Elliot running about town is just plain silly. With a ton of trite remakes of flicks that shouldn’t even be made in the first place, I long to see the beguiling love story between Anne and Capt. Wentworth gets a chance to come alive again on the big screen!
    ….

  • BBC’s miniseries North & South
    Mill owner John Thornton and Margaret Hale didn’t meet cute the way most rom-coms start with. In fact, they met under the most brutal of circumstances as she witnessed him beat the living daylight out of his mill employee. But love works in mysterious ways. Evidently nothing – not his possessive mother, initial prejudices, even economic collapse – can keep these two apart. When we saw this on one of our gals’ monthly movie nites, every girl in the room pretty much fell for Richard Armitage’s mesmerizing Mr. Thornton. Thornton and Margaret’s restrained passion definitely gives P&P’s beloved couple Mr. Darcy & Elizabeth Bennett a serious run for their money! If I were to make a list of best movie kisses like Hatter did, this breathtaking one at the end of this miniseries definitely takes the cake.


  • A Walk in the Clouds
    Whaddayaknow, one of my favorites Keanu Reeve’s movies is a chick flick! He isn’t the most expressive actors of the bunch, but he’s quite convincing here as a soldier who finds love when he least expects it. Paul Sutton’s just on the way home from war to be with his wife when he bumps into (literally) Victoria Aragorn on a bus who’s pregnant out of wedlock. Paul offers to pose as her husband after she tells him her traditional father would kill her if he knew her condition. He and Aitana Sánchez-Gijón share a warm chemistry, and the lush and romantic scenery of the Napa vineyards she aptly refers to as ‘the clouds’ definitely gets you in head-in-the-clouds frame of mind.
    ….
  • P.S. I Love You
    I’m still puzzled as to why the critics hate this movie so much. Everyone I talked to, even my guy friends + my hubby, actually enjoyed it, even if they won’t openly admit so. The opening scene of a married couple bickering in their apartment is both funny, sweet and surprisingly real. I also LOVE the catchy tune Lloyd, I’m Ready to Be Heartbroken by Camera Obscura in the beginning credits! At first I thought Hillary Swank is miscast in the role of Holly but given the weighty subject of dealing with the loss of a husband, she actually offers the right balance of pathos and exuberance her character needs. Gerry Butler follows his ultra-machismo role in 300 by playing the goofy but tender-hearted dead husband. The flashback scenes show him at his funniest and most appealing, he’s so darn charming you’ll be more than willing to forgive him for his ghastly Irish accent 🙂 The best part is, I love how this movie leaves the ending open for possibilities, instead of rushing to pair Holly with another soul mate that sweeps her off her feet.

  • Lost in Translation
    Arguably one of Bill Murray’s best roles – and perhaps Scarlett Johansson’s as well – it’s a poignant tale of an unlikely friendship of a jaded movie star and a young neglected newlywed that grew into something more. I know this movie’s kind of an acquired taste as some people actually loathe it, but I though it’s not exactly ‘entertaining’ from start to finish, this movie had me in tears both in laughter and sadness. The ‘lip my stocking’ and other thigh-slapping scenes are obviously hilarious, but they’re not just ‘ha-ha’ funny as they’re tinged with heartache. Their unconsummated May-December romance is heartfelt and beautifully acted, and the unsugar-coated ending is exquisitely touching.
  • Return to Me
    I’ve written a whole post dedicated to this movie for good reason. The relationship of Bob & Grace is as unconventional as they come, and David Duchovny and Minnie Driver definitely deserves a spot in top ten movie couples list..
    ….
  • (500) Days of Summer (full review)
    I don’t think I need to explain this one. Billed as the anti rom-com, it’s a fresh and inventive look at relationship and how expectations hardly ever translate to reality. Great performances, witty script and innovative direction makes this one of the best modern love story of this generation.
  • Roman Holiday
    I absolutely adore this movie! The best love story is the unexpected kind, and neither Princess Anne nor American reporter Joe Bradley ever set out to fall for each other. Two extremely charismatic actors, Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, plus the enchanting city of Rome they wander though makes for a lovely, whimsical and downright romantic classic. Despite the dreamy quality, I love how this movie has the good sense of not resorting to some fanciful, far-fetched denouement. In fact, the movie is all the more sweeter and meaningful because of it.
    ….
  • The Painted Veil
    Unlike a lot of romances, this one actually happens after the wedding.
    The story takes place in China in the 1920s, which tells the story of a mid-class doctor (Ed Norton) who marries an upper-class woman (Naomi Watts) and moves to Shanghai. As I said in my full review, it’s a rare gem that tells a wonderful human drama without being too cutesy or overly romantic. Love is more than a bed of roses or candlelit dinner, sometimes it’s mystifying and even thorny, but always worth fighting for.
  • Somewhere in Time
    For the hopeless romantic in all of us, this fantastical time-travel love story gets me every time. It’s an absolute requirement to have a box of tissue handy when you watch this movie. Forget Lois Lane. Christopher Reeve’s most heartbreaking movie romance is with Jane Seymour, as he won’t let the 60-year span between them get in the way.

    After falling in love with a photo of the beautiful actress Elise McKenna, playwright Richard Collier self-hypnotizes and wills himself to be transported back to 1912. He ends up meeting the woman of his dreams and they fall in love, but between Elise’s jealous manager (Christopher Plummer) and the time matter itself, can their love survive? If you’re not moved by John Barry’s lush score and the haunting Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini that runs throughout the film, you ought to check your pulse.

….
I realize with a list like this, I probably commit a ‘sin of omission’ either because my memory fails me, or I simply have not had the pleasure of seeing those you don’t see on this list, as some fellow bloggers have already pointed out last Friday.

So readers, what else have I missed? Please sound off in the comment section.

Random Thoughts: Unconventionally romantic flix

Happy Friday everybody!

The reviews of the Garry Marshall’s ultimate chick flick Valentine’s Day is in, and surprise, surprise, it’s dismal an abomination. The other two lovey dovey flicks currently in theaters (When in Rome and Dear John) aren’t any better either. So unless you’re in the mood for some monstrous howling courtesy of Benicio Del Toro’s The Wolfman, you might be better off staying in and watch some romantic movies that don’t make you gag.

In honor of V-Day this coming Sunday, I was planning on posting some of my favorite romantic flix that don’t exactly follow the conventional formula of courtship (‘boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back and they live happily ever after’), so I list them on a separate post. I hope y’all don’t mind me bringing up one of my earlier posts of my favorite movie couples and movie couples wish list, which are no doubt a crucial ingredient in any great movie romances.

I’ll update this post as soon as I wrap it up. While you’re at it, also check out the V-day movie review marathon from Anomalous Material (which includes two on my still-to-watch list: Amelie & Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and MadHatter’s list of five best movie kisses.