Ooh it’s February, Valentine’s month! I’m a hopeless romantic, so I thought I’d kick off the first Sunday Seven of the month with my favorite romantic comedy films. It was so hard coming up with only seven because rom coms are my favorite movie genre and I have a bajillion faves, but after much soul searching (not really), I can live with this list on eternal loop if I got stranded on an island or something.
(1) Love Actually
All of London is in love — or longing to be — in Four Weddings and a Funeral writer Richard Curtis’ first directorial effort. Billed as “the ultimate romantic comedy,” Love Actually involves more than a dozen main characters, each weaving his or her way into another’s heart over the course of one particularly eventful Christmas.
I may have mentioned before that this is one of my favorite movies of all time. I rewatch it every year around Christmas time. Why I love it: (1) Not just one, but many love stories, both happy and heartbreaking, in one film, (2) its setting is Christmas, my favorite time of year, (3) British accents, (4) awesome soundtrack. It’s just the perfect Christmas gift, don’t you think?
I cannot decide which love story is my favorite, but I love that they tackled a broad range – singles meeting unconventionally, young love, unrequited love, marital infidelity, and not just romance but also love for family and friends. And I love that the stories don’t all end up happily, makes it more poignant, but balances it out with the typical over-the-top grand gestures that we love so much in rom coms.
Sam: Well, the truth is… actually… I’m in love.
Sam: I know I should be thinking about Mum all the time, and I am. But the truth is, I’m in love and I was before she died, and there’s nothing I can do about it.
Daniel: Aren’t you a bit young to be in love?
Daniel: Oh, well, okay… right. Well, I mean, I’m a little relieved.
Daniel: Well, because I thought it would be something worse.
Sam: Worse than the total agony of being in love?
Daniel: Oh. No, you’re right. Yeah, total agony.
Harry: Tell me, exactly, how long it is that you’ve been working here?
Sarah: Two years, seven months, three days and, I suppose, what… two hours?
Harry: And how long have you been in love with Karl, our enigmatic chief designer?
Sarah: Umm, two years, seven months, three days and, I suppose, an hour and thirty minutes.
Harry: I thought as much.
Sarah: Do you think everybody knows?
Sarah: Do you think Karl knows?
Sarah: Oh, that is… that is bad news.
[neither understands the other’s language]
Jamie: [in English] It’s my favorite time of day, driving you.
Aurelia: [in Portuguese] It’s the saddest part of my day, leaving you.
Juliet: But… you never talk to me. You always talk to Peter. You don’t like me.
Mark: It’s a self-preservation thing, you see.
Billy Mack: I left Elton’s, where there were a hefty number of half-naked chicks with their mouths open, in order to hang out with you, at Christmas.
Joe: Well, Bill…
Billy Mack: It’s a terrible, terrible mistake, Chubs, but you turn out to be the f***ing love of my life. And to be honest, despite all my complaining, we have had a wonderful life.
(2) Ever After
The Brothers Grimm arrive at the home of a wealthy Grande Dame (Jeanne Moreau) who speaks of the many legends surrounding the fable of the cinder girl before telling the “true” story of her ancestor. In flashback, the story then focuses on eight-year-old Danielle, daughter of a wealthy widower, a 16th-century landowner. After returning to France with his new wife Rodmilla (Anjelica Huston) and her two daughters, he dies of a heart attack.
Ten years later, Danielle (Drew Barrymore) is now treated as a servant by the trio. Fortunately, she has an encounter with Prince Henry (Dougray Scott), who is fleeing an arranged marriage. Later, when Danielle poses as a Lady, the Prince takes an interest in her. Inventor-artist Leonardo da Vinci (Patrick Godfrey), accepting the French court’s patronage, offers advice to Prince Henry on matters of the heart.
I was never a fan of the whole love at first sight thing, so I loved this Cinderella without the magic version which made the prince get to know Cinderella first before he fell for her.
My favorite scene was when they both fell into the hands of some gypsies. They decided to let her go, but she was in her undergarments, and she asked if they wouldn’t at least give her clothes back. The gypsy leader said she could bring anything she could carry and gave him her word. So she went and carried the prince on her back. The gypsies laughed so hard and actually gave them a horse.
You cannot leave everything to fate, boy. She’s got a lot to do. Sometimes you must give her a hand.
I know that a life without love is no life at all.
My great-great-grandmother’s portrait hung in the university up until the Revolution. By then, the truth of their romance had been reduced to a simple fairy tale. And, while Cinderella and her prince did live happily ever after, the point, gentlemen, is that they lived.
(3) While You were Sleeping
This romantic screwball comedy stars Sandra Bullock as a love-starved subway toll booth operator, Lucy. Lucy pines for regular customer Peter Callaghan (Peter Gallagher), but the self-absorbed attorney pays her no heed.
One day, Peter is beaten by a gang of thugs and tossed onto the tracks. Lucy rescues him from death. While he is comatose in the hospital, a comment she makes at his bedside is misinterpreted, and she then allows his family members, who haven’t seen Peter in awhile, to believe that she is his fiancée.
Peter’s parents, Ox (Peter Boyle) and Midge (Micole Mercurio), take a liking to Lucy. But Lucy takes a liking to Peter’s brother Jack (Bill Pullman), though Jack is suspicious about her claim to be Peter’s intended.
One of my favorite scenes here is of Lucy and Jack falling for each other – literally. There is a funny moment when they slip and slide all over each other in the slippery ice.
Another scene that has me in stitches is the moment when Jack finally wakes up and he sees Lucy and says he doesn’t know her and the family goes: “Oh my God!” and you think her number is up, but then they go, “he has amnesia!” And then they tell him he does, and he starts questioning everything he knows, asking his family, “Do I like jello?” and tries to run through everything he remembers and goes, “A B C D…”
But most of all I love that poor Lucy finds not just romantic love, but the love of a family. That speech she makes during her wedding always makes me tear up. Read it below.
Jack: [playing cards with a comatose Peter] You remember back in high school? I was starting to get really good at poker, went home with lots of lunch money? I got to know the principal’s office really well. He always used to say to me “why can’t you be more like your brother Peter?” I was ok with that, I was proud of you and I was never jealous of anything that you had.
Jack: Until now. I’ll cut the deck. Highest card gets Lucy.
[cuts deck, looks at the cards]
Jack: All right. We’ll make it best out of three.
Lucy: I couldn’t tell you the truth. And then I didn’t wanna tell you the truth because the truth was that I fell in love with you.
Ox Callahan: You fell in love with me?
Lucy: No. No, yes. All of you. I went from being all alone to being a fiance, a daughter, a granddaughter, a sister and a friend. I might have saved your life on the tracks that day, but you know what? You really saved mine. You allowed me to be part of your family, and I haven’t had that in a really long time, and I just didn’t want to let go of that. So even though it was just for a little while, I will love them always. I’m very sorry.
Peter once asked me when I fell in love with Jack. And I told him, “It was while you were sleeping.”
(4) Before Sunrise
American tourist Jesse and French student Celine meet by chance on the train from Budapest to Vienna. Sensing that they are developing a connection, Jesse asks Celine to spend the day with him in Vienna, and she agrees. Passing the time before his scheduled flight the next morning. How do two perfect strangers connect so intimately over the course of a single day? What is that special thing that bonds two people so strongly? As their bond turns to love, what will happen to them the next morning when Jesse flies away?
I know this movie is part of a trilogy and the latter two are usually more highly acclaimed compared to this, but this is my favorite, probably because it was the first, where they met and established a connection.
I love this movie because of their great chemistry and conversation. I love talking, and a friend tells me I talk a lot like Jesse.
Celine: You know, I’ve been wondering lately. Do you know anyone who’s in a happy relationship?
Jesse: Uh, yeah, sure. I know happy couples. But I think they lie to each other.
Celine: Hmf. Yeah. People can lead their life as a lie. My grandmother, she was married to this man, and I always thought she had a very simple, uncomplicated love life. But she just confessed to me that she spent her whole life dreaming about another man she was always in love with. She just accepted her fate. It’s so sad.
Jesse: I guarantee you, it was better that way. If she’d ever got to know him, I’m sure he would have disappointed her eventually.
Celine: How do you know? You don’t know them.
Jesse: Yeah, I know, I know. It’s just, people have these romantic projections they put on everything. That’s not based on any kind of reality.
(5) 50 First Dates
Henry Roth lives in a Hawaiian paradise with the company of endless women with no strings attached. This is until he meets Lucy Whitmore. Both Henry and Lucy enjoy the company of each other and feel the start of a serious relationship occurring. Approaching Lucy the next day, Henry is confused when Lucy fails to recognize him. This is the moment Henry discovers that Lucy actually suffers from short term memory loss and can’t remember each individual day. Henry won’t let this stop him and is prepared to make her fall in love with him all over again, each and every day.
The first time I watched this, I ended up watching it three times in succession. That’s how much I loved it! The scenes were just so hilarious and I loved watching Henry come up with all sorts of different ideas to make Lucy fall for him everyday. I also loved that they didn’t magically heal her condition in the end but instead came up with a slightly more realistic yet still happy ending for them.
You erased me from your memories because you thought you were holding me back from having a full and happy life. But you made a mistake. Being with you is the only way I could have a full and happy life. You’re the girl of my dreams… and apparently, I’m the man of yours.
(6) When Harry Met Sally
Harry and Sally meet when she gives him a ride to New York after they both graduate from the University of Chicago. The film jumps through their lives as they both search for love, but fail, bumping into each other time and time again. Finally a close friendship blooms between them, and they both like having a friend of the opposite sex. But then they are confronted with the problem: “Can a man and a woman be friends, without sex getting in the way?”
This movie is probably most famous for the fake orgasm scene in the restaurant. Haha. But I love that this was a realistic portrayal of love, and that they were both so witty and had the most fun, crazy, and sometimes insightful conversations. I will forever wonder if men and women can ever really just be friends.
I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.
Stardust is a fantasy tale about Tristan, an awkward young man who wants to cross a gap in the wall into a magical world so he can pick up a fallen star and present it as a gift to win his beloved’s hand in marriage. When his determination brings him to Stormhold, the magical world at the other side of the wall, he not only does what he sets out to do — pick up the star and find his true love, but he fulfills his destiny that was formed years ago when his own father did exactly what he had done and crossed over to the magical realm.
This is one of those rare stories where the movie is better than the book. In my opinion, anyway. They had changed the story a lot for the movie, to make it more funny, and also included a new character, the closet gay Captain Shakespeare, who is my favorite! Also, the witch’s role was very fleeting in the book, but they made her more prominent in the film because she was being played by Michelle Pfeifer.
I loved that Tristan first set out to bring the star, Yvaine, as a gift for a girl he thought he loved, and ended up falling for her and vice versa. My favorite scene was when Captain Shakespeare danced with her and confided that he knew what she was because she glowed more brightly everyday… because of Tristan. And soon enough, when Tristan dances with her, she glows brighter. Later on, when Tristan is turned into a mouse and she thought he couldn’t understand her, she confesses her love for him. But it turns out he could, and that he felt the same way.
You know when I said I knew little about love? That wasn’t true. I know a lot about love. I’ve seen it, centuries and centuries of it, and it was the only thing that made watching your world bearable. All those wars. Pain, lies, hate… It made me want to turn away and never look down again.
But when I see the way that mankind loves… You could search to the farthest reaches of the universe and never find anything more beautiful.
So yes, I know that love is unconditional. But I also know that it can be unpredictable, unexpected, uncontrollable, unbearable and strangely easy to mistake for loathing, and… what I’m trying to say, Tristan is… I think I love you.
Is this love, Tristan? I never imagined I’d know it for myself. My heart… It feels like my chest can barely contain it. Like it’s trying to escape because it doesn’t belong to me any more. It belongs to you. And if you wanted it, I’d wish for nothing in exchange – no feats. No goods. No demonstrations of devotion. Nothing but knowing you loved me too. Just your heart, in exchange for mine.
So what about you, do you like romantic comedies too? What are your favorites? And by the way, if you liked this topic, tune in next week for my favorite real life “how we met” stories!