Every Valentine’s Day, me and the girlfriends watch a romantic movie together. Every other day, my brother and I would put on a romantic movie that only the two of us would watch. This means that ninety percent of the time, my blood is dripping with the scent of love.
As cynical as we want to be, there is nothing better than that gooey feeling you get when romance thrives and love is in the air. Be warned that some of my selections may come from movies that don’t end very happily, but that’s life isn’t it? Sometimes wonderful, hopeful moments warp into something sadder, and all we can do is hold on to the good stuff for however long we can.
#1: Say Anything (1989)
Is there any romantic scene more iconic than this? I would say no, considering how references to it have made their way into our modern movies, like Easy A and Deadpool. It is the grandest of gestures, a man putting it all out there, laying his heart on his sleeve — how incredibly romantic and vulnerable all at the same time. Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” was initially not the song chosen for the scene. Crowe had scripted the scene to Billy Idol’s “To Be a Lover” and got bands to write along the same sentiments and come up with something. “The Smithereens” were close but their song “A Girl Like You” resembled the plot of the movie a bit too much. Then Crowe remembered Gabriel’s song from a mixed tape he made for his wife, so he wrote to Gabriel to request it for the movie, and the rest is history.
#2: Enchanted (2007)
The dance scene from Enchanted is one of my favorite romantic moments, mainly because of the symbolism involved in the costuming. Giselle (Amy Adams) wears a modern dress, while Robert (Patrick Dempsey) dons the more traditional garb of Giselle’s world. This shows their acceptance of each other’s world, and a desire to embrace what the other offers. Also, Robert starts to sing to Giselle, even though he was not enthused about it earlier on in the movie. The music is so enchanting (haha, I couldn’t help myself) and the lyrics so apt. As it swirls around them while they waltz, I just sigh at the romance of it all.
#3: The Virgin Suicides (2000)
I know I know, the title doesn’t inspire much romantic sentiment, but this moment in the movie was so damn good. I speak of the prom scene, where Styx’s “Come Sail Away” bounces fetchingly in the background, with Lux (Kirsten Dunst) and Trip (Josh Hartnett) cocooned in a sea of white and blue balloons. Proms in Singapore are fairly sterile affairs, so I have always looked on in envy at the beauty and youthfulness in proms of the screen. Not that I was ever popular enough to even be asked out by anyone if we had proms like that.
#4: Romeo + Juliet (1996)
When it comes to Shakespeare, there are the purists who rave and shout when it comes to modern adaptations, which is a shame since they are missing out on Baz Luhrmann’s visually hypnotic Romeo +Juliet. Their meet-cute is one of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen.
All the water imagery used in the film is symbolic and significant, and this scene is no exception. Romeo (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Juliet (Claire Danes) spot each other through an enormous fish tank, and despite the both of them being separated by this big tank, there is this sense of immediacy and closeness. The song “I’m Kissing You” by Des’ree is the most perfect fit for this first moment of gazing, oozing sensuality and romance.
#5: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)
This movie was a surprising romantic stand-out in 2018. The actors were amazingly authentic in their roles, and there was some nice, stylistic choices made by the director. The hot tub scene was an example of that. All that blue, a steamy hot tub, a shirtless man and a woman in her nightie. Need I say more? I like revisiting this scene from time to time because of how pretty it is. It’s also a chaste kind of sexy, which I appreciate given the age of the characters.
#6: Blue Valentine (2010)
If you have yet to set eyes on this movie, I encourage you to go watch it. Go, go now, I’ll wait here till you return.
Done? It was fantastic wasn’t it? I’m glad you think so. There are so many heart-wrenching moments that feel so real. I’ve seen snippets of it in my parents’ marriage, where a relationship began on the best of intentions, and just couldn’t hold itself steady against the onslaught of time.
The cutest moment was when Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams‘ characters were on a date, and each actor had to showcase a talent for the scene. The best thing about this is that Gosling and Williams both had no idea what the other was going to do, so what we see is authentic reactions to these talents, and with that, the awkwardness that occurs during first dates. Ryan Gosling can just be the permanent star of all the romantic movies that go on in my head.
#7: A Star is Born (2018)
The moment I am most looking forward to in the upcoming Oscars is Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga‘s performance of “Shallow”; though the Oscars are slipping from my good graces after their questionable decision to move certain categories to be presented during the commercial breaks.
Cooper and Gaga have electric chemistry, and this is seen in every moment they are together in the movie. My favorite romantic moment is when he plays the song he wrote for her, which we only see at the end of the movie after his death. The imperfection of his playing and singing, since he is still tinkering around with the song, made the moment feel so genuine. This is juxtaposed against the sadness of the scene before, when she performs the song for him. There wasn’t a single dry eye in the cinema after the movie was over.
#8: 500 Days of Summer (2009)
500 Days of Summer is not a love story, it tells you this very clearly from the start. A love story it might not be, but there are certainly some very sweet moments in the film between Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Summer (Zooey Deschanel). One such moment was the Ikea scene, where the two amble about in Ikea, pretending that the Ikea set-ups are a part of their house. They watch TV in the living room, had the smarts to build two kitchens and finally end up in the bedroom. As the pair cozy up together on the bed, they realize they are being watched by an Asian family. This was such a clever scene — private moments in such a public space. I bet many couples actually tried this out in Ikea after watching the movie. That’s what a good movie can do; inspire us to reach out for romantic possibilities, so that every day is Valentine’s Day.
Thank you for reading! What are your thoughts on these romantic moments and the movies they come from? Comment down below!
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