ir.gif

List: Movies to Share With Your Valentine

Posted on February 10, 2011 at 8:00 am

In 2008, I did a Valentine’s Day tribute to great movie couples, from Mickey and Minnie to The Princess Bride and with suggestions for all ages. Here’s a list of five of my all-time favorite falling-in-love (or realizing you’re in love) stories for teenagers and grown-ups. Cuddle up with your valentine and a bowl of popcorn and enjoy these movies about how love makes us crazy and immeasurably happy at the same time.

1. Moonstruck Cher won an Oscar as the bookkeeper who has given up on love until she meets the brother of her fiance, who tells her:

Love don’t make things nice – it ruins everything. It breaks your heart. It makes things a mess. We aren’t here to make things perfect. The snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. Not us! We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts and love the wrong people and *die*.

2. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet find that they really don’t want to forget each other, no matter how painful love can be.

3. You’ve Got Mail This third version of the story of a couple who are at war in person, not realizing that they are tender lovers through the mail, updates the story to the computer age. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan have so much chemistry on screen that we know from the first moment what it will take them the whole movie to discover — they are meant to be together.

4. The Philadelphia Story On the eve of her wedding, socialite Tracy Lord’s ex-husband shows up with a couple of journalists and we get to watch three of the greatest stars in Hollywood history sort out their affections. This movie has everything: Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, and James Stewart (who won an Oscar), George Cukor as director, wit, heart, and romance and an important lesson about how sometimes it is not about falling in love but recognizing that we have already fallen.

5. To Have and Have Not

As tough guy Humphrey Bogart meets the even-tougher Lauren Bacall (only 19 years old when this was filmed), we get to see the real-life romantic sparks that gave the on-screen love story some extra sizzle. Watch her tell him how to whistle.

And be sure to check out Beliefnet’s other Valentine thoughts and recommendations.

Related Tags:

 

For Your Netflix Queue Holidays Rediscovered Classic Romance

Life After Divorce: The Movie Version

Posted on August 14, 2010 at 8:02 am

As “Eat Pray Love’s” saga of Elizabeth Gilbert finding herself after a devastating divorce comes to theaters, Slate has a terrific gallery of classic post-divorce movie moments, with women signaling their liberation through dancing, revenge, substance abuse — and of course a new love in films like “An Unmarried Woman,” “Learning to Exhale,” “Living Out Loud,” and “The First Wive’s Club.” (My recollection, though, is that the ballet in the underwear dance sequence in “An Unmarried Woman” comes before she gets dumped, right?)
Certainly, themes of second chances and renewal are important in movies and life after heartbreak is something everyone can relate to. There’s an entire genre of “movies of re-marriage” with classic romantic comedies about divorced or almost-divorced couple re-uniting in movies like “The Philadelphia Story,” “His Girl Friday,” “Adam’s Rib,” and “The Lady Eve.” The lesser-known “Perfect Strangers” is a favorite of mine, about a dull married couple (Robert Donat and Deborah Kerr) who come alive when they separate to fight in WWII. They do not know how they will be able to stand their old life and are afraid of getting back together. But they are overjoyed when they meet to find that separately they have come to the same realization that they wanted to feel more vitally engaged with the world and with each other.
There are many, many movies about people who feel as though they are on automatic pilot in their lives and marriages until they discover love again, sometimes with the spouse but more often with someone new. The under-appreciated “Twice in a Lifetime” has Gene Hackman in a comfortable but dull relationship until he meets Ann-Margret on his 50th birthday. In “The April Fools,” Jack Lemmon falls for the wife of his arrogant boss. In my favorite scene, Myrna Loy and Charles Boyer show them the beauty of a deep, long-lasting love. Cary Grant is married to social-climbing hypocrite Kay Francis and then he meets warm-hearted Carole Lombard in “In Name Only.” And Walter Houston does his best to be loyal to his selfish wife in “Dodsworth” in spite of his attraction for the lovely Mary Astor. In classics like “Casablanca,” “Bringing Up Baby,” “An Affair to Remember,” “Doctor Zhivago,” “Out of Africa,” “Now Voyager,” “Back Street,” “It Happened One Night,” “Titanic,” “The Bridges of Madison County,” “Brief Encounter,” and “Moonstruck,” married or engaged characters find love elsewhere. Watching them, we experience again the tremulous thrill of falling in love. If we’re lucky, we bring those feelings back to enlarge our own relationships.

Related Tags:

 

For Your Netflix Queue Understanding Media and Pop Culture

What Makes a Movie Romantic?

Posted on February 14, 2010 at 8:36 am

Many thanks once again to Cheryl Anderson of the Appleton Post-Crescent for interviewing me, this time about what makes movie romantic.

“There are so many movies about love for the same reason there are so many movies about lost treasure and secret formulas and war battles and historical accomplishments, because love really is life’s great adventure,” says film critic Nell Minow, who has been reviewing movies as The Movie Mom since 1995.

“And we like to see movies about love for the same reason we like to see other movies about adventures — to experience the vicarious thrill, the challenge, the uncertainty and the happy ending. Long before there were movies, there were fairy tales, which ended with happily ever after….”

A great love story for Minow makes viewers believe the characters “get” each other. They won’t be happy every day but they ultimately will live happily ever after. Two of her favorite true-to-life romances are 1987’s “Moonstruck” starring Cher and Nicolas Cage, and 2004’s “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” with Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet.

Related Tags:

 

Media Appearances Romance Understanding Media and Pop Culture
THE MOVIE MOM® is a registered trademark of Nell Minow. Use of the mark without express consent from Nell Minow constitutes trademark infringement and unfair competition in violation of federal and state laws. All material © Nell Minow 1995-2024, all rights reserved, and no use or republication is permitted without explicit permission. This site hosts Nell Minow’s Movie Mom® archive, with material that originally appeared on Yahoo! Movies, Beliefnet, and other sources. Much of her new material can be found at Rogerebert.com, Huffington Post, and WheretoWatch. Her books include The Movie Mom’s Guide to Family Movies and 101 Must-See Movie Moments, and she can be heard each week on radio stations across the country.

Website Designed by Max LaZebnik