A movie list for Valentine’s Day.
My So Evil My Love movie list of films where people are unlucky (or worse) in love is a very unpopular post. I know, I’m as shocked as you. Turns out people looking for films about love would rather something romantic. So I decided to make a list of films that have romantic themes in them.
Hopefully any romantics out there who happen upon this list will find some lovely cinematic gem they haven’t discovered yet. Or maybe just something forgotten.
18 romantic films for Valentine’s Day 2018.
1. One New York Night (1935)
I happened upon this a few months ago on Youtube (sadly it’s been taken down since). I love it. It’s so gosh-darned innocent. Franchot Tone plays Foxy Ridgeway who’s come to New York to find a wife. Una Merkel plays Phoebe a receptionist at the hotel where he’s staying who knows a good man when she bumps into one. Oh and there’s a murder for them to solve. Adorably clueless and fun whodunnit.
2. I Love You Again (1940)
This movie is so twee in parts I should be ashamed to admit I like it as much as I do. But I do. The charm and comedic timing of main players, William Powell, Myrna Loy and Frank McHugh, makes the whole thing light, bright and breezy fun. Also the cooing is so cute.
3. Call Northside 777 (1948)
This doesn’t really fall into the romance category but I saw a clip of it on youtube that was title something like – the most romantic clip on film … or something along those lines. Can’t find the clip now – but the second clip on this video was the clip in question. The film is actually based on a true story of a fight for justice for a man convicted of killing a cop. It features the maker of the lie detector machine (which personally I have zero faith in) but it’s great (makes me wish I did believe the machines were accurate). The movie is excellent. I’ll have to do a James Stewart movie list…
4. It Should Happen To You (1954)
One of the many movies I would never have seen if it wasn’t for stumbling over it online. I think this is really cute. And the part where they are going round the roundabout cracked me up. Judy Holliday plays Gladys Glover a woman who wants to make a name for herself and is tired of paying her dues. So when through a strange set of circumstances, she gets a chance to use several prominent billboards throughout the city she plasters her name of them. Jack Lemon is a documentary film maker who doesn’t care so much about fame, but his interest in Gladys grows and grows.
5. Ascenseur pour l’échafaud (1958)
Jeanne Moreau and Maurice Ronet play a couple who have come with the perfect plan to kill her husband who is also her lover’s employer. And all goes perfectly … except for one small detail… And correcting it seems to cause the perfect plan to unravel hopelessly. While you couldn’t categorize this as a romance, there’s no denying the great sense of tension and desire evoked in the characters – and regardless of what they’ve done you hope beyond hope that they will get away with it and be together. Also this movie is sublimely cool. It’s brilliantly shot and acted and has a score by Miles Davis.
6. The Apartment (1960)
Jack Lemon plays Baxter a lowly but ambitious employee in an insurance company who lets some of his higher-ups use his apartment for their romantic affairs. Fred MacMurray plays one of the execs using the apartment to conduct an affair with Fran, played by Shirley McLaine, who is a pretty elevator operator that Baxter is fond of. This is a great mix of comedy and drama, filled with emotion and believable characters. And it’s definitely romantic.
7. They Might Be Giants (1971)
This is a film from the 1970s and it’s nutty and sweet. George C Scott plays a man who believes he is Sherlock Holmes. Joanne Woodward plays a psychiatrist who is supposed to sign his committal papers. Her name is Mildred Watson. And Moriarty … who is Moriarty? Is he an evil genius out to destroy Holmes? Is he everything wrong in the world? Is he the way we structure society so that we become distant from one another? Or is he what spurs us on to chase after mysteries and adventure? – It’s a nutty film. I like it a lot.
8. What’s Up, Doc? (1972)
This is a screwball comedy from the 1970s starring Barbara Streisand and Ryan O’Neal. It’s not really that romantic but it is very funny.
9. The Sure Thing (1985)
John Cusack plays a college student who isn’t really fitting in and is longing for the good times he had before college. His friends invite him to join them on one the breaks and they’ve a sure thing set up for him. He gets a lift from a couple travelling that way and so does another very straight laced student played by Daphne Zuniga, who is going to meet her steady (in every sense of the word) boyfriend. The two students have met before and haven’t really hit it off and so… This is fun and sweet.
10. Der Himmel über Berlin (1987)
This is a beautiful film starring Bruno Ganz, Solveig Dommartin and Otto Sander. In the skies over Berlin invisible beings watch over humankind, documenting our experiences, the everything and nothing of it all. Perhaps also they intervene when they can, offering comfort when they can or trying to direct a person’s thoughts another way. One of these beings longs to experience this life he watches in all its glorious sweetness and bitterness, beauty and dirt. And he feels a connection to and desire for a woman he watches.
When I first watched this it wasn’t long after rewatching the 50s and 70s versions of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. And at one point watching Der Himmel über Berlin it suddenly occurred to me that this would be the perfect way to present such an invasion from the point of view of the body snatchers. It made it hard to appreciate the rest of the film. After adding it to this list I decided to watch it again and honestly I still had the same kinds of thoughts watching a second time but this time I was able to appreciate the poetry and emotion of it all. It is an invasion but the beings aren’t monsters. Are they angels? I don’t really get the concept of angels. Maybe these invisible beings are as good or as bad as humans can be. As all life can be?
This is a beautiful movie, poetically told. But my streak of paranoia could only see such an embarkment as an invasion.
So why on earth would I include a movie which made me think of Invasion of the Body Snatchers on a list of movies for Valentines? 1. This film is a beautiful, poetic, philosophical and romantic fantasy. 2. The beings in the film seem to care about and love humans. And Valentines is a celebration of Love – not just the romantic kind. I just cant be cool with the embarkment shenanigans. That said Peter Falk’s character is very lovable.
11. Flirting (1991)
This is a coming-of-age movie that is so charming and relatable that anyone of any age can enjoy it. Stars Noah Taylor, Thandie Newton and Nicole Kidman.
12. Reality Bites (1994)
I loved this when I first saw it. I rewatched it a bunch of times. It’s a great romantic-learning-to-live type of movie. Great for teenagers or early 20s. I think if I watched it now though I’d just feel old. Stars Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke.
13. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
In the 1960s two cowboys, played by Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger, end up working together and one drunken night they are unable to deny their attraction for each other. They enjoy the summer but when the job is finished they go back to their respective lives. They continue to meet up each year and the movie charts the course of their lives. The film is beautiful to watch and filled with longing and romance. This is definitely a romantic one.
14. Pride & Prejudice (2005)
I love Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility and Persuasion and I love all the adaptations I’ve seen of these. I’m personally of the opinion if a story is worth telling it’s worth retelling – there’s always some fresh perspective to add.
That said I haven’t watched the zombie version of Pride & Prejudice (although it’s supposed to be quite good) and I haven’t watched Murder at Pemberley either. I love lasagne. I love pineapple mousse. I have no desire to eat a mashed up lasagne-pineapple mousse. Even if it’s the food of the gods. I just – I just … No.
This is a brilliant version of Pride & Prejudice starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen.
15. The Painted Veil (2006)
Naomi Watts and Edward Norton play a mismatched couple. She married him to get away from her family but he’s dull and she doesn’t love him. When someone more exciting, more dashing shows an interest she goes for it. When the husband finds out he’s devastated and angry. He accepts a post working in a remote part of China to help cure a Cholera outbreak, taking his wife with him. – And I’m going to copy and paste a couple of lines from IMDB because they sum it up perfectly – This is a cold, indifferent and loveless partnership in a vast unknown and deadly environment that will test both these flightless lovebirds and with the hardships and tolerances more than any had ever anticipated. A visual delight amid the pain and suffering of a dying people and failing marriage. – It unfolds beautifully.
16.Se, jie (2007)
Lust, Caution. Set in China, during the Japanese occupation during WWII, this is a complex and very human tale of the awful reality of how inhumane we are when defending our country/freedom or the repressive regime we are part of. Caught up in all this are a female spy, played by Wei Tang, and a high up official of the Japanese regime played by Tony Chiu-Wai Leung. He’s all too aware that he can trust no one and he’s very wary of this woman who is receptive to his advances. But his world is so lacking the comfort and sweetness she can offer. And she knows that he is the enemy and ultimately he must be removed to further their cause, but her world is so false and their encounters are the only real human contact she has. It’s excellent.
Warning: This movie contains scenes of sexual violence.
17. Take Me Home (2011)
This is a straightforward romantic comedy. It’s cute and sweet. I came across it online – and normally I wouldn’t choose to watch romantic movies but I just wanted to have something on in the background while I working away on something – and I ended up just watching the movie instead because … it’s funny and sweet.
18. Upstream Colour (2013)
I think this film is a brilliant I don’t understand why it’s only got a rating of 6.7 on IMDB. Is it really a romantic film? Um … well, um … it could be? If you like? It’s great. It’s very different. Just watch it. There is romance, longing, the feeling of being connected to someone else, in it but in a way that is all sort of incidental to the story rather than what it’s really about. That’s my take on it anyways.
Happy Valentine’s Everyone!