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). The film is tightly plotted. It has good dialog, fine acting, and a strong ending. I recommend it as a modern love story.
Director: Anand Tucker.
Writer: Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont.
Stars: Amy Adams and Matthew Goode.
One of the best romantic films of this generation. Of course, the critics hated it. 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. The critics reacted to it much as vampires do when force fed garlic.
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.
Writers: William Goldman (the 1973 book & 1987 film).
Stars: Cary Elwes and Robin Wright.
An off-beat film for those who prefer their romance in a non-standard form. It is not my cup of tea, but it is a brilliantly executed film by some creative people.
As a fun but traditional sarcastic riff on traditional romance, critics loved it (97% on Rotten Tomatoes). The public was less impressed; it grossed only $31 million.
It’s 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 favorites . It’s the romantic equivalent of a sugar high, a traditional romantic adventure — without the almost obligatory post-modern syrup that proves the writers are above the material. It is a fun film.
It’s the kind of film critics hate, but couldn’t. The Rotten Tomatoes score was 76%. It won the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form in 2008. Audiences also liked it, grossing $136 million on a $88 million budget.
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 films tend to be unimaginative and derivative. 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 — for a 73% TomatoMeter rating.
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 many romantic films and plays — including The Shop Around the Corner (1940). If you like romance films, you should see this one.
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?