Thursday, February 1, 2018

Those Good Ole Romantic Movies...

I'm sure it was last year when I said that romance was part of what made the world go around and there's nothing quite like a romantic movie to make it spin a little faster.

Asked for a list of some of my "all time" favorites, here's what I came up with:

Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet may not be the original "star-crossed" lovers, but they're certainly among the most famous. And Franco Zeffirelli's 1968 film (with a very young Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting) captures their magic – although Baz Luhrman's 1996 version with Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio also has its charms. If you like your love star-crossed, either of these movies is for you. 

Strictly Ballroom

Speaking of Baz Luhrman, his 1992 film about ballroom dancing definitely strikes a romantic chord with a basic Cinderella theme. It's a lot of laughs but with just enough pathos that you'll whisk away a tear or three...And there's dancing!

Out Of Africa

Taking a quickstep back to 1985 for the movie, and the early part of the 20th century for the true story, the love affair of the movie is equally between Karen Blixen and Denys Finch-Hatton, and Karen and Africa. Wonderful cinematography and music, as well as performances by Meryl Streep and Robert Redford.

The English Patient

Still set in Africa, but this time during WWII, the film encompasses two love stories: that of Count Laslo De Almasy (Ralph Fiennes) and Katharine Clifton (Kristin Scott Thomas), who meet in Egypt prior to the war; and a Canadian nurse, Hana (Juliet Binoche) and Indian bomb disposal expert, Kip (Naveen Andrews), during the course of the war. It's a tremendously romantic story juxtaposed with marvelous shots of the Egyptian desert and the doom of impending war.

Sliding Doors

This is a little sweetheart of a "parallel lives" romance – and with Gwyneth Paltrow and Scottish actor, John Hannah, in the lead roles you won't be disappointed. The Monty Python quip that "No one expects the Spanish Inquisition" also stars. A little bit of sad, a little bit of sunshine, and a lot to like. 


The French romantic comedy, Amelie, is quirky, offbeat, and frequently hilarious, yet at the same time manages to make your heart beat faster for the out-of-step Amelie and her equally reclusive love. With Paris as a backdrop, you'll enjoy the scenery as well as the romance.

A Knight's Tale

So hard to come to terms with the fact that it's a decade since Heath Ledger left us – and although others may laud The Patriot or The Dark Knight Returns, this lively and ridiculous medieval romp (with a smoldering Rufus Sewell as the evile contender for the heroine's hand) will always be my light-hearted favorite.

Pretty Woman 

Definitely a Cinderella story (with King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid looking in), but what a Cinderella story with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in the principal roles. And then there's that famous scene where he gives her his credit card – it's gotta be love, right?!

Ever After

This movie is not just a "Cinderella-type" story, it's an official Cinderella retelling with Drew Barrymore as a Renaissance-woman version of the heroine, who manages to both save the prince and herself, while still hitting all the classic notes of the story. It's also a lot of fun  – and you can't ask more than that from a romantic movie .

A Little Chaos 

Competitive landscape gardening in the time of Louis XIV, the Sun King, may not sound like the stuff of romance but Kate Winslet (Sabine De Barra) and Matthias Schoenaerts (André Le Nôtre) manage to pull it off, with a story based around the establishment of the gardens at Versailles with all its attendant professional jealousies and the caprice of the King. A gentle story but a worthwhile watch.

Of course, even with ten movies featured here I had to leave a lot of great films out! But how about you, what's your all-time favorite romantic movie? Let me know via the comments. :-)


Helen Lowe is a novelist, poet, interviewer and blogger whose first novel, Thornspell (Knopf), was published to critical praise in 2008. Her second, The Heir of Night (The Wall Of Night Series, Book One) won the Gemmell Morningstar Award 2012. The sequel, The Gathering Of The Lost, was shortlisted for the Gemmell Legend Award in 2013. Daughter Of Blood, (The Wall Of Night, Book Three) is her most recent book and she is currently working on the fourth and final novel in The Wall Of Night series. Helen posts regularly on her “…on Anything, Really” blog and is also on Twitter: @helenl0we


Kim Falconer said...

I love all these films, Helen. Sliding Doors has to be my fav of them, the parallel narrative so well done.

I would add to my list, Anne Hall, Kissing Jessica Stein, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Lake House.

More, but that's enough for now.

Great post!

Kim Falconer said...

Oh, and PS I love you (2007) with Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler.

Amanda Arista said...

Someone like You- give me a young Hugh Jackman!