The new Hollywood romances
From the 90s to the late 2010s, these films reinvented the very idea of romance
True Romance (1993)
Some might think Tony Scott’s True Romance is an action movie. Scripted by Quentin Tarantino, it brings together 90s demigods Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette. Slater plays movie geek and die-hard Elvis fan Clarence Worley, while Arquette is the glamorous prostitute Alabama, paid off by Clarence’s boss on his birthday, to bump into Worley at an indie movie theatre. They fall in love, Worley kills Alabama’s pimp, accidentally picks up a bag filled with cocaine; and the duo head off to California to sell it. What follows is one of the most fun rock-n-roll adventures on the silver screen.
Before Sunrise (1995)
Two decades ago, Linklater introduced us to two characters that would invade our psyche in innumerable ways. I came to this movie late, but my life has now been divided into parts: before and after watching Before Sunrise. The film follows Jesse (Ethan Hawke), an American tourist traveling back to Vienna and Celine (Julie Delpy), traveling back to school in Paris. They meet on a train and instantly hit it off, and the rest is celluloid history. How else would you describe an almost two-hour long movie heavy with dialogues; devoid of any outward conflict, and yet you can’t bear to miss a second of it? The film was followed by two fantastic sequels; but nothing captures the innocence of first love and attraction better than this first one.
Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind (2005)
This movie took a simple break-up story and turned it into something other-worldly and fantastical. The story goes this-a-way: Boy meets girl. They fall in love. They go through the motions of every relationship. Girl calls it off. Girl erases all memory of the boy from her brain using a dubious technology. Boy finds out. He follows suit. They meet again and are strangely attracted to each other, having no recollection that until recently they had been lovers. Directed by none other than Michel Gondry, this whimsical love story tells it like it is, and by the time the move is done you know what it is to really, just really, fall in love.
10 Things I hate About You (1999)
In one of the best scenes of this teenage rom-com, college outlaw Heath Ledger in a bid to win the brainy Julia Stiles’ heart, goes to the athletic field, and over the PA system sings “I Love You Baby” for her while the marching band accompanies him on it. The chemistry between these two actors is extraordinary and their performances make this one of the most enjoyable college rom-coms to date.
The classic Hollywood romances
These vintage romances will sweep you off your feet with their varied takes on love.
Dirty Dancing (1987)
Although this film has some of the cheesiest dialogues in the world, the dancing more than makes up for everything. Patrick Swayze is every bit the dreamboat Johnny Castle with the moves that converted a whole generation of teenage girls into his everlasting fans. Jennifer Grey as “Baby” Houseman is the young girl who finds herself as she spends one summer holiday with her family in a posh resort. It is here that she meets Johnny, learns how to dance and falls in love. This coming of age story has the underpinnings of a cult classic because of its spectacular dancing, vintage soundtrack as well as effervescent charm.
Gone with the Wind (1939)
At the heart of this sweeping epic saga lies the memorable love story between Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’ Hara where she blows hot and cold, manipulates and struggles to control the men in her life and her destiny. And who can forget the dashing and suave Clark Gable with his trademark moustache, winning sarcasm and the gorgeous and elf-like Vivien Leigh with her tiny waist and indomitable spirit. Alas, they don’t make men and women like that in Hollywood anymore. As far as love stories go it is hard to match up to the magnificent depths of this one.
This film is a testament to Woody Allen’s mad genius, his love affair with New York and jazz music and probably the progenitor of intelligent romantic comedies. Starring Woody Allen at his witty, neurotic and irascible best and a free-spirited Diane Keaton, the film ambles across wonderful and quirky deliberations on love, marriage, affairs and sex and all the while offering stunning black and white city montages as well set to George Gershwin’s unforgettable jazz-based themes. If there ever was a film that could make you fall in love with the idea of romance, this is it.
The dashing Humphrey Bogart plays the brooding romantic hero Rick Blaine who is embittered and hardened by the loss of his love. Her reappearance in his life prompts him to utter one of the legendary lines in movie history, “Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.” Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart play the star-crossed lovers with ease and even with panache making this tale of heartbreak an eternal favourite.