I’m basically looking for really special romance films that make me believe that the two are in love. To me there are far too many films with romantic pretenses that fail to captivate me, because the film does not do a good enough job convincing me that they’re not just acting in some artificial situation. (Like Crazy or Blue Valentine for example..or the Graduate) Maybe I’m a hopeless romantic, and people don’t fall in love like this, but I’m talking about movies dammit! And I want the movies to show me why this person is in love with this person. I think a lot of the times it also helps when I find the female lead attractive, but this doesn’t mean anything because I found the two in the stated movies very attractive, but their characters had no appeal to me. And there are also times where I found the character very charming, but the actress herself and her looks does absolutely nothing for me (i.e. It Happened One Night)
Anyways, I’m kind of all over the place with this topic, but I like those moments where they subtly or casually show that these people are in love, not through some corny dialogue or melodramatic or some stupid funny situation, but through nuance and characterization. Like where a relationship slowly develops without overly dramatizing the romantic aspects. I mean a lot of films attempt to to this, but have a hard time being persuasive enough I think.. Or also those movies with a boy who’s obsessed with a girl and does crazy things to win her heart sometimes to no avail (Modern Romance, Rushmore). Or first love, youthful, young love…etc. (Antoine and Collette) I kind of realize that these two are complete opposites…the first case more realistic and slow development of love growing with two people who aren’t crazy about each other right off the bat, and at the other end of the spectrum, obsessive crushes usually based solely off of outer beauty that leads to a lot of teenage angst, adolescent, over-the-top behavior…But I’m always looking for extremes in either direction.
To me the epitome of what I’m talking about is in the Korean film Christmas in August. The blossoming love kind I mean. We go through the whole movie and yet the two leads don’t even kiss or say anything about love. And yet, I am so convinced and absorbed in their relationship that seem to be strictly platonic on the surface but is so much deeper. Other films in this category are Roman Holiday, Harold and Maude, When Harry Met Sally, Comrades: A Love Story…etc.
And my pick for the opposite side we have stuff like Gregory’s Girl or Rushmore like I’ve said. Or Sixteen Candles, 500 Days of Summer.
I rambled a lot and there are a whole bunch of films that I can’t think of but I’m actually just looking for good recommendations that I don’t know about, and the criteria is probably a lot looser than I made it out to be. Hope I made some sense :p
Brilliant topic. Two movies that come to my mind is ‘Un coeur en hiver’ (A heart in winter) a story of (unfulfilled?) love between Daniel Auteuil and Emmanuel Béart. Another movie which could fit this category is ‘The Remains of the Day’.
On a lighter note there is ‘The truth about cats and dogs’ with Uma Thurman, Janeane Garofalo and Ben Chaplin which is a typical romantic comedy but which avoids most of the pitfalls this genre usually suffers from.
My Night at Maud’s and Love in the Afternoon.
The Last American Virgin – 80s teen sex comedy turned unrequited love tearjerker.
Romances that are initially based on outer beauty aren’t necessarily going to lead to over the top behavior or angst. Physical attraction is the difference between friendship and romance. But that’s aside to the topic.
Bin Jip shows two people in love exclusively through body language. When they meet you see them sort of engaging in what a developmental psychologist might call ‘Parallel play’ before finding ways to engage each other directly.
Last Tango makes me believe the pure physical lust.
Tokyo Story presents a truly matured love relationship.
Scenes From A Marriage is a believable portrayal of people’s passionate impulses contradicting with their social behavior and spiritual yearnings.
L’aventura and L’eclisse are good presentations of ‘Ludic’, or ‘Love as a game to be won’ style love.
I’ll second The Graduate, My Night at Maud’s, and Love in the Afternoon…
…and I’ll throw down with Léon, the Professional, Lost in Translation and of course In the Mood for Love.
also Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? if you’re feeling frisky.
Before Sunrise and Before Sunset are two that come to mind immediately. In fact, it’s probably the perfect “budding love story” double feature.
welcome home, roxy carmichael
gas, food, lodging
1968 version of sweet november
The Sure Thing
Out of Sight
A Scene at the Sea
Broadcast News (not one of my faves, but Albert Brooks is the definition of unrequited)
All That Heaven Allows
The Story of Adele H.
Don’t you think The Apartment is a bit of a fantasy tale in which the ‘nice guy’ gets the woman, since in reality he wouldn’t stand a chance?
Rushmore definetly, oh and Holly Hunter is the best girl ever in Broadcast News (the film itself is just “decent”).
The Year My Voice Broke
Yeah..Broadcast News was disappointing. It could’ve been so much better I think. So was Terms of Endearment. I liked Modern Romance a lot though, and I’ve been trying to watch more Albert Brooks’ films, but Real Life and Lost in America were nowhere near as good as Modern Romance to me..
All That Heaven Allows comes to mind. Sad movie when you look at the big picture, but Hudson and Wymann have magic together. Both of them long for comfort and safety, and when their romance shines my heart soared.
Another one is, of course, Chaplin’s City Lights. The beauty of the conclusion brought me to tears.
Punch Drunk Love is melodramatic and might not be what you’re looking for, But I’ve always thought it evoked the invincibility felt in the honeymoon period of a relationship very well.
White Nights (Visconti)
A Short Film About Love (Kieslowski)
A Good Marriage (Rohmer)
Blue Angel (von Sternberg)
5 Centimeters per Second