Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My Top 10 Romantic Films

Most of my favorite love stories are really tragedies. I just love having my heart shredded by doomed love. In fiction, at any rate.

But I love Happily Ever After, too. Would I belong to Romance Writers of America if I didn't?

Here is a list of my favorite romantic films that promise a sigh of contentment at the end (although the road to these happy endings is as tough as it can get):

1 - A Town Like Alice

English Jean Paget meets Australian Joe Harmon when both are prisoners of the Japanese in WWII Malaya. After the war, both travel across the globe to find each other again, only to discover the hardest part of making their relationship work is replacing romanticized longing with day-to-day reality.

This is a clip from the miniseries.

2 - Amelie

A Montmartre waitress devotes herself to bringing happiness to others as the self-appointed godmother of the rejected. When Amelie finds a lost scrapbook filled with discarded photo booth pictures, she tracks down the owner and promptly falls for him. But it's far easier to make problems disappear for strangers than to fight past her own shyness.

3 - Kate & Leopold

An impoverished English duke is about to choose a wealthy American bride in 1876 when he follows a time-travelling man from present-day New York through a time portal, thinking the stranger was about to commit suicide. Leopold discovers a century was not enough to keep him from meeting the independent woman of his dreams, while the time-traveller's ex-girlfriend Kate is shocked to find a fairy tale unfolding in her own big city apartment.

4 - North & South

Margaret Hale leaves the genteel south of England for the industrial north when her father leaves the clergy and relocates. John Thornton runs a cotton mill with a strong hand, but yearns to gain the education he could never afford to pursue. When John becomes a private student of her father's, Margaret refuses to give into her attraction for such a ruthless man. John and Margaret struggle to see past their own prejudices, their feelings for each other demanding a truce between regional cultural divides.

This is a fanvid made by a You Tube user.

5 - Persuasion

Anne Elliot at 27 is a Regency spinster with a heartbroken past, having unwillingly rejected the offer for her hand by a social nobody, a mere naval officer. Captain Frederick Wentworth returns from the Napoleonic wars with his situation greatly improved. Now considered a catch, Wentworth shows little interest in anyone but the woman he still loves. Anne and Frederick must forgive the wounds of the past, pursuading themselves that their love is greater than the misguided intentions of those fighting to preserve a vanishing social order.

This is a fanvid made by a You Tube user. *SPOILER* by the 3:00 mark.

6 - The Irony of Fate

Moscovite Zhenya Lukashin meets with his friends at a bath house on New Year's Eve, intending to later propose to his girlfriend at the stroke of midnight, a romantic Russian custom. Many toasts to his future happiness later, Zhenya is mistakenly loaded onto a plane bound for Leningrad. Because the Soviet era resulted in identical cities with identical addresses, Zhenya takes a cab to what he assumes is his own apartment, but winds up drunkenly disturbing the romantic proposal of the true tenant, Nadya. As she faces the truth about her unfulfilling relationship with Ippolit, it becomes harder for Nadya to let Zhenya leave her apartment - and her life.

This clip is in Russian with English subtitles.

7 - The Irony of Fate 2

A continuation of The Irony of Fate, here we discover a parable for the New Russia: the more things change, the more they stay the same. Kostya Lukashin finds himself in a drunken state in the very Leningrad-now-Saint-Petersburg apartment where his father Zhenya once ruined Nadya's New Year's Eve engagement. Nadya's daughter - also named Nadya - sets the table in anticipation of her boyfriend's proposal, but now has a physical intruder joining the countless business phone calls stealing her boyfriend's attention. Two generations of mismatched lovers and destined sweethearts careen through the bittersweet farce as Kostya and Nadya discover that some traditions are worth treasuring.

This trailer is in Russian without subtitles.

8 - The Scarlet Pimpernel

Sir Percy Blakeney disguises his adventurous persona - The Scarlet Pimpernel - with the innocuous mannerisms of a harmless fop. Celebrated actress Marguerite St. Just sees beneath his artifice and falls in love with the man he hides from all others, though she is unaware of his secret missions to save aristocrats from the guillotine. When Marguerite is implicated in the death of a nobleman, Percy cannot rest until he uncovers the truth behind his wife's suspected revenge.

9 - Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!

Marina is a heroin-addicted Spanish ex-porn star who once enjoyed a fling with unbalanced Ricky. Now released from a mental hospital, Ricky's obsession culminates in kidnapping Marina so she can fall in love with him. Though Marina initially reacts with revulsion, Ricky's naive no-holds-barred belief in their love chips away at her heart. Gradually Marina's kidnapping reveals itself to be merely the chains of love that enslave us all.

This trailer is in Spanish without subtitles.

10 - Wings of Desire

Lyrical and haunting, this tale drifts toward love as angels keep watch in the skies over Berlin. Damiel has watched over humans with his angelic friend Cassiel since the beginning of time. His attachment to a trapeze artist pulls at Damiel's heart until it becomes love. Determined to see, hear, feel as humans do, Damiel leaves his angelic existence behind. As erik150x writes at IMDB, 'The climaxing scene at the bar is like seeing the world in a grain of sand.'

This trailer was made by a student as an assignment. I liked it better than the official trailers.