This is not my list of the best romantic films of all times. This is simply a list of some great romantic movies for you and a loved one to snuggle up to with a big bowl of buttery popcorn and watch on a chilly Saint Valentine’s Day evening. Here’s hoping you have a romantic day full of love!
Say Anything: This is one of the best teen movies from the 80s, and it’s just a heart-warming, romantic story of the lovable loser who falls for the perfect girl — a valedictorian. Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) and high school goody-goody Diane Court (Ione Skye) are threatened when Diane’s overly possessive, disapproving father (John Mahoney) interferes with their relationship. With a prized scholarship to study abroad hanging in the balance, Diane must find a way to make both men happy. Writer-director Cameron Crowe steers this 1980s teen flick into instant-classic territory. I highly recommend!
Amélie:This is one of the most darling films I have ever seen. If you don’t mind subtitles — as I’m sure many of you don’t — then this is a movie you may want to grab. It’s visually stunning with a truly unique director in Jean-Pierre Jeunet ( A Very Long Engagement), a fantastic romance story that unfolds in unusual and gripping ways, and it’s just pure fun. Definitely a winner.
A Very Long Engagement: This is another Jean-Pierre Jeunet film. What can I say? The guy makes great romantic films. Audrey Tautou stars as Mathilde, a young Frenchwoman who vows to find out what happened to her missing fiancé (Gaspard Ulliel) during World War I. He appears to have died after a court-martial, but she needs to know for sure. As she looks for the truth, she discovers unexpected things about herself and the people she meets along the way. It has some heart ache along the way, but what great love doesn’t?
Forest Gump: This is one of my favorite movies of all time. Most certainly in the top 25. It has everything you could want in a romantic film — a love that’s sparked from childhood that drives a character in everything he does through some of the most incredible experiences any man could have. There is nothing wrong with this movie. It’s simply flawless, and Forest’s innocence and love of someone who, on the surface, is beyond broken after so much tragedy befalls her, is touching. We all could learn to love like he does. It’s a wonderful movie, and a great choice for Valentine’s Day.
Slumdog Millionaire: I hadn’t seen this film when it won best picture. I’m always skeptical of films that become critic’s darlings and run away with all the trophies. This is not one of the best films I’ve ever seen, but it’s a fantastic date movie. It’s got a nice romantic plot with another character who endures incredibly terrible things all the while trying to find a long-lost love. I think it’s true that distance makes the heart grow fonder. Love isn’t worth having if it’s not worth fighting for.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
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The Snowtown Murders
This grisly thriller is based on the true story of Australia’s worst serial killer, John Bunting, and the people he convinced to help him. One of them is teenager Jamie, whose entire family eventually falls under Bunting’s dark spell.
Rating: 7 out of 10
This film falls squarely in with others I’ve reviewed like Antichrist in that it’s a well made film that shows a picture of hell on Earth in a realistic way and yet I can’t recommend it. Why? The images in it are filled with real world and all too real horror. The main character played by Lucas Pittaway is pure frustration to watch. His whole existence revolves around being a victim. He is raped by his own brother, pushed around by every single person in his life, and coerced into assisting with murders that horrify and repulse him. And yet, because he is so weak, he never says no. As a viewer, it’s never a comfortable experience. Obviously, considering the subject matter is about some of the worst crimes in Australian history, this comes as no surprise. But, because this film plays everything off as deadpan real, it gives an uneasy and claustrophobic feel to all of the plot progressions. We witness graphic tortures, murders, a main character who is pure evil, and a daily routine in a white trash neighborhood that has no glimmer of hope anywhere within its confines.
So, after all of this, why am I rating it a 7? The performances are excellent all the way around, particularly by Daniel Henshall who plays the deviously charismatic leader of the serial killers. He tries to make things make sense from his twisted point of view and is methodical in how he gets all these men to kill and torture for him. Also, the world that is created by Justin Kurzel feels cold, bleak, and all too real. This is true life horror that couldn’t be further away from the cliche slasher films that most horror enthusiasts are accustomed to. However, proceed at your own risk. This is a harrowing film and not one for the squeamish.
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