Summary: Our world is whirlpool of hate and fear, driven by lust and greed. Films about love show us glimpses of a better world. Here are nine of my favorite romance films, most relatively recent (i.e., doesn’t include Casablanca). You might enjoy some of them, something different for your holiday entertainment.
Director: Morten Tyldum.
Writer: Jon Spaihts.
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen.
Bien pensant critics went berserk over this, the most anti-feminist story since the Rape of the Sabine women — to which this is somewhat similar. It’s a powerful story in the science fiction tradition of putting people in extreme situations — and watching them make choices.
Most critics refused to accept the situation, despite its plausibility, saying that it was politically incorrect. it. Its Rotten Tomatoes score was 30%.
The film is tightly plotted. It has good dialog, fine acting, and a strong ending. I recommend it as a modern love story. Unlike most of the others on this list, it written for adults.
Director: Anand Tucker.
Writers: Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont.
Stars: Amy Adams and Matthew Goode.
Leap Year is one of the best romantic films of this generation. Of course, the critics hated it. They reacted to it much as vampires do when force-fed garlic. Its Rotten Tomatoes score is 23%.
Amy Adams plays a young woman who values romance above worldly goods and the society of America’s elites — and who gambles much to get what she wants. She plays a free-thinking and independent women, free of the upwardly-mobile princess mentality of most American romance films.
Like most of the films on this list, it is a romantic commedy. Serious romance is almost a lost art in Hollywood.
The two leads have understated yet electric chemistry, with Goode providing a solid acting foundation for Adams’ usual superlative characterization.
The Princess Bride
Director: Rob Reiner.
A 1987 film based on a 1973 book.
Writer: William Goldman (both the book and film).
Stars: Cary Elwes and Robin Wright.
The Princess Bride is an off-beat film for those who prefer their romance in a non-standard form. This kind of film is not my cup of tea, but I enjoyed it. It is a brilliantly executed film by some creative people and excellent actors.
It is a great family film, appealing to all ages.
As a fun but traditional sarcastic riff on traditional action-adventure romance, critics loved it. It score was 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. The public was less impressed; it grossed only $31 million.
I do not understand why so few people bought tickets. It is well worth seeing.
Director: Matthew Vaughn.
Based on a 1999 book by Neil Gaiman.
Writers: Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn.
Stars: Charlie Cox & Claire Danes.
This is another of my favorite films. It is the romantic equivalent of a sugar high, a traditional romantic comedy adventure — without the almost obligatory post-modern syrup that proves the writers are above the material.
It is a fun film, creatively playing with the usual tropes. Like most of these films, it is shallow. Nobody in Hollywood can make – or wants to make – another Night of the Iguana.
This is the kind of film critics that usually hate, but even they could not hate it. The Rotten Tomatoes score was 76%. It won the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form in 2008.
Audiences also liked it, but only a little. It grossed $136 million on a $88 million production budget – so at best it broke even.
Director: Tom McGrath.
Writers: Alan Schoolcraft, Brent Simons.
Stars: Will Ferrell, Jonah Hill, Brad Pitt.
This is one of the best children’s animated films, ever. It is a comedy for the kids, containing a fun romance for the adults. Megamind is a real family film.
Hollywood family-friendly annimated films tend to be unimaginative and derivative. When they have a romantic subplot, it is usually brutally clumsy. This is a shining exception. It’s worth seeing just to see something creative.
Like most creative films, it received absurdly low ratings from critics. It is an almost perfect film of its kind, and deserved better than a 73% TomatoMeter rating.
It is one of Dreamworks’ best films, making Shrek look like chalk drawings on the sidewalk.
You’ve Got Mail
Director: Nora Ephron.
Writer of the 1937 play: Miklós László.
Writer of the screenplay: Delia & Nora Ephron.
Stars: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Greg Kinnear.
It’s one of the great modern American romantic films. You’ve Got Mail is based on Miklós László’s 1937 play “Parfumerie”, from which came many romantic films and plays — including the great classic The Shop Around the Corner (1940).
Every aspect of this is well done: script, acting, music, direction, and cinematography. I am amazed that it has a Rotten Tomatoe rating of only 69%.
If you like romance films, you should see this one. But if you like romance, you probably already have.
For More Information
- We want heroes, not leaders. When that changes it will become possible to reform America.
- Our choice of heroes reveals much about America.
- Hollywood’s dream machine gives us the Leader we yearn for.
- Are our film heroes leading us to the future, or signaling despair?
- Why have our movies become so dark, showing a government so evil?