However, there are a few that I have seen and actually loved, because they are believable and honest and well-written and actually romantic, as opposed to what Hollywood deems to be so. Usually, these relationships are in TV shows, because they spend time fleshing them out, which ends up with me adoring them. But every now and then a movie comes along that I genuinely enjoy for the cheesy romantic nonsense that it is.
Personally, I can't stand grand romantic gestures. I think they're sappy and cloying, and they put pressure on the person receiving them, especially if they happen in public. I don't like flash mob proposals, or big fancy gifts; for me, the most romantic thing someone could do would be something small and intimate. Something personal. And if there's one thing that the grand romantic gesture ISN'T, it's personal. It's a display - the opposite gender posturing over their mate - something to prove to the whole world that they love the other person, which completely misses the point. The only person you should ever need to prove your love to is the person you love.
I do have some sense of romance, however. It's just more low-key. I notice the small moments: the sweet, kind, loving instants. I love those moments that when you watch them, you can't decide if it was written into the script, or if it was an acting choice.
Firstly, some movies that aren't quite in my top 5, but that I find myself loving all the same - RUNNERS UP:
Say Anything - The scene where Lloyd stands outside her window playing"In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel. I know it's a grand romantic gesture, but c'mon! There's a reason why this moment is so famous, and it's because it's amazing.
Penelope - "You lied to me, I guessed piano!" When Max/Johnny figures out that it's Penelope and decides to admit his feelings, despite knowing that he can't help her, and then she reveals that she saved herself. It's so cute and perfect, and happens to be the movie where I first fell in love with James McAvoy, so it has to be on the list.
Easy A - "If I promise not to tell anyone, can I kiss you?" This is such a genuinely sweet moment, where both the audience and Olive realise that Todd has liked her all along. Also, this movie is hilarious.
Finally, in no particular order, here are
MY 5 MOST ROMANTIC MOMENTS IN MOVIES:
5. The Princess Bride - "As You Wish":
Let's start off with a cliche!
But seriously, this is one of the best movies ever made. It's endlessly quotable, heartwarming, romantic and funny. I love this movie. And I love the love story - because I believe in it. I believe that he became a pirate to get back to her, and that she died inside when she thought he died. I believe in it, and I love it, and that is down to three little words that are oft repeated in the film, and frequently nodded to in everything from Once Upon A Time to my actual life, all the time, constantly. I'm not sure if I can pick a particular uttering of the phrase that I like more than any other. Romantic cliche tells me it should be when he's falling down the hill, but I prefer the ones before that, when they're slowly falling in love at the farm. So I choose one of those. Any one.
4. Stranger Than Fiction - "I brought you flowers."
This isn't really something I would class as a chick flick, or a rom-com: it's a drama on the importance of life and how you live it, with an incredible cast and a wonderfully intricate story.
However, this movie has exactly the kind of personal gesture I was talking about earlier. It's not grand, or even very romantic, and it's very, very awkward, but it's lovely. It's sweet and earnest and heartfelt and really grounds the relationship between these two people as the heart of the narrative; where otherwise this movie would be horribly depressing, the growing romantic connection between Harold and Ana really elevates it to something beyond that. Harold wants to do something to show this abrasive woman how he feels about her, so he buys her flowers. Except he buys them his way, personalised to her. She works in a bakery, so he buys her FLOURS. It's dorky and amazing and I fucking love it!
3. Dirty Dancing Havana Nights - "Okay. I can be the girl..."
I have SO MANY THOUGHTS about this movie. As a part of the Dirty Dancing universe, it fucking sucks, but as a romantic movie on it's own merit, it's actually pretty great. In order to enjoy this movie, all you have to do is skip over all the scenes with Patrick Swayze, and it becomes a story about a privileged American girl, Katey, in 1958 Cuba meeting a sweet, poor local, Javier, working as a waiter, and then shenanigans happen and something, something dancing. It tells the very believable story of a woman falling in love with Diego Luna. Hey, I'm not here to tell you the entire plots of movie.
BUT, during this movie, Katey begins by going out with a guy from similar social circles - you know the type: gross, frat-boy guy who believes he's entitled to everything. Including Katey. One night while they're out on a date, they bump into Javier and she dances with him, so this dipshit gets jealous, and when they leave the bar he tries to sexually assault her in his car. She runs back into the bar, scared and alone, and Javier makes sure she's okay. I could have picked that scene, but there's a scene later, when they're training for the dance competition, that's even more amazing. Latin dancing, by it's very definition, is quite... saucy. So while they're rehearsing their dance, Javier adds something slightly sexual, and she immediately freaks out. Instead of getting annoyed, Javier realises that her anger has come from a place of fear, due to what that other douchebag did, so he diffuses the situation. He shrugs, says, "Okay, I'll be the girl!" and starts dancing like an idiot. It's so silly and adorable and gosh do I love it.
2. The Breakfast Club - Claire gives Bender her earring.
This is one of my favourite movies OF ALL TIME, so of course it was going to make an appearance. It's not flawless: the scene where Allison changes her clothes and hair is particularly frustrating, considering the same effect could have been made by just fixing her makeup. It does have a really interesting relationship, however, between Bender and Claire. He clearly dislikes her privilege, and she noticeably dislikes his attitude, but they're both attracted to each other all the same.
He pisses her off on purpose, because he's frustrated by the fact that she's so far removed from his life, and she snaps back because she actually feels like she can, unlike with her friends or her parents. It's an interesting dynamic, and their interactions make for a very cool collection of quotes, like the one above, which I use on the daily. So they fall in... love? The highschool equivalent of love, and then when they leave, they know how unlikely it is that they will ever get to spend time together like that again, so Claire gives Bender her earring as a reminder of that day, and when they kiss, it's not super aggressive, like you'd expect him to be. He even tried to press his forehead to hers for a moment before she left. This moment is, of course, followed by his famous fist pump and one of the greatest songs of all time. Fight me.
1. Pride and Prejudice - Everything.
I could write entire books on my love of this book. It is, hands down, my favourite book in the world. My favourite book series are Harry Potter, and Skulduggery Pleasant, and I love The Book Thief and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and Murder on the Orient Express, but none of them hold a place in my heart as special as Pride and Prejudice. I love this book. I love the language, I love the characters, I love the romance. It was the first time I ever read anything that spoke to me so personally, and the first time I ever read a romance I enjoyed. I think that is largely because it isn't overstated: the bond between them takes its time to grow, and evolve, and they don't even like each other for a big chunk of it. I also LOVE the 1995 BBC mini-series, and utterly DESPISE the 2005 movie with Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen, through not too much fault of theirs, but largely fault in writing. I said at the beginning of this post that I cannot stand bad writing, and when you butcher almost perfect lines like this:
Urgh. I am extremely vexed. It makes me so CROSS. That movie took one of the most romantic lines in all of history and butchered it to death. I am genuinely upset by the film, and I'm sure I will write a blog post on it in the future, so if you'd like that, do let me know!
Let's get back on topic! I'm not saying that the 1995 version is perfect, especially when it includes glorious scenes like this, that are not in the book, and would never have happened:
It's still glorious though.
Anyway, it's not perfect, but it's pretty damn close, so this mini-series is standing in as a movie for the 2005 version, which should be burned. Including the line I mentioned above, which if anyone ever said to me, I think I would actually die, pretty much everything in this mini-series is romantic as fuck. The looks between them, the proposal where she rejects him, the proposal where she accepts, the verbal sparring, the tortured Darcy faces. It's all INCREDIBLE. There is more sexual tension in this thing than in anything else I've ever seen, and for most of the movie they don't even touch hands.
Pride and Prejudice is the most romantic thing ever, and I will fight anyone and everyone who challenges me. It has nothing to do with Colin Firth's dreaminess, or Jennifer Ehle's bone structure, and everything to do with the characters and the writing and the acting and all the tiny, inconsequential moments that led to them falling in love. In the words of Mr Darcy, when Elizabeth asked him when he knew he was in love with her,
"I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun."