Love Lessons From Cinema

Happy Valentines Day readers! I saved my ABSOLUTE favorite list of relationship films for today so I hope you really enjoy them. Let me clarify exactly what I mean before we begin. So far, the previous Valentine's lists have focused on the really idealized version of love, or in yesterday's case how much it can kind of suck. These films are the ones that I think are somewhere more in the realistic middle. From each of these films, I've learned a little about life, love and relationships. In short, there are some real and valuable insights to be found in watching these films. So with no further delay, I present to you my favorite films about relationships. We'll start with the one you already knew was going to be on this list...

(500) Days of Summer - 

Okay. Big surprise. We all knew this would be on here...but really this is the film that inspired the entire list....so I'm not making any apologies. This is the film that personifies love and relationships to me and I learn something new every time I watch it. There is something so comforting about seeing a movie where someone has been through exactly what you have experienced. They get it. And best of all they were able to get through it...even if they weren't quite unscathed. There's always a new beginning at the end of a dark day...there's always hope amid pain. This film simultaneously destroys love and yet makes me believe in it at the same time. I adore this movie and I admire everyone involved for making it so refreshingly real. I could go on and on and on....but since I already have countless times before on this blog, we'll move along :)

Breakfast at Tiffany's -

As I mentioned in the kiss blog, the scene in the cab is just incredible. Paul's speech just stays with you because there is so much truth to it in how a person can keep themselves from happiness by not loving another person. If you are too scared to hurt yourself...life will always stay the same and you'll never let anyone in. If you never take risks you can't expect to gain a reward can you? I love this movie because neither character is perfect...in fact they're both highly flawed imperfect people. But somehow loving each other can make them whole...and with a certain orange cat they have the perfect little family right there!

Annie Hall - 

Woody Allen seems to really get the messiness of relationships...and that was before all that adopted step-daughter mess even! Haha. But really, this is one of the best films about relationships there is out there. It's funny, whimsical, real and sad. Truth be told, I think (500) Days of Summer really took a lot from this movie and made it contemporary. Woody Allen's inner monologues in this movie never fail to make me laugh, and then every now and then they have a real wisdom to them. Sometimes two people can have a connection, but not everything is there....and no matter how much they love each other...it just wasn't meant to work. Not all love stories have a happy ending, plenty do...but they're not the only ones worth telling.

Before Sunrise/Before Sunset - 

I'm still not completely sure about if I love the third one as much as the first two....so I'll ponder that more at another time. For now, I want to focus on how much I love these two movies. The characters are so real and the plots so simple. Both films are simply just one long conversation surrounded by beautiful imagery with characters that ooze chemistry with each other. Their connection feels so genuine that you feel that these two HAVE to be together. But life isn't so easy...and that's part of the beauty of these two films. I love how they're almost set in real time, and that the 9-year gap between the two films is real. With all three films it becomes a love story that we saw established in the first film but becomes more and more lived in as the series goes by. The first one is so idealized, whereas the second feels so much more consequential. These films are just wonderful....a great modern romance with a lot of truths to tell about the messiness of relationships.
When Harry Met Sally -

Okay, I mentioned this one in the evolution of the rom-com....but I really have a soft spot for this film. Like every other film on this list...it doesn't need to resort to an overly gimmicky premise of mistaken identities or fake marriages or WHATEVER. It's just the story of two best friends who took a long time to realize they had feelings for each other. I definitely appreciate it's straightforwardness....but that isn't the only thing this movie has going for it. It hugely benefits in one of the most romantic speeches I can remember in film history as Harry finally realizes on New Year's Eve that Sally is the only woman he could ever be with: "And it's not because I'm lonely...it's not because it's New Year's Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible!" Pretty sure no girl could say no to that....

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind -

Okay, it's pretty obvious from this film's numerous appearances on my lists that I'm a huge fan of this movie. But really it is such a great film that like (500) Days of Summer gives a complete picture of every phase of a relationship. But unlike 5DOS, this movie tackles the idea of what it would be like to LOSE these memories of a relationship. I love the theme of how our experiences and our memories of those experiences make us who we are....we'd be lost without them. As painful as heartbreak can be, we wouldn't learn anything without it...we'd never change and likely we'd even make the same mistakes again if we couldn't remember the outcome of the choices we previously made.

Ruby Sparks - 

So this movie is a bit of a newcomer, but when I watched it, I instantly knew it would be up there with some of my favorites because of the themes it explored. No one can be your dream person....no one can be exactly what you picture them. People are human. They have flaws. They're real and they have their own desires. Good relationships are between two whole people. Two REAL people. Two INDEPENDENT people who can then become dependent on each other....but yet still be their own person. You can't change someone to fit you, you have to love them for who they are, and vice versa.

Amelie -

This isn't solely a relationship film, but while eager to help everyone else be happy...Amelie must learn a few lessons about love herself. Amelie prefers the beauty that an imaginary world has to offer her, instead of making connections with real people. It's the only way to keep herself protected and unharmed to when lief tries to knock her down. As scared as she is to take a chance, she knows she can't let the opportunity to go by to be happy and to love another person. This is a movie about taking risks for love, and it's told very beautifully.

happythankyoumoreplease -

So I actually just barellllly watched this movie and while it's kind of uneven at times....it makes this list purely for one speech given by Buster Bluth. Well...the actor who plays him anyway. In a Seinfeld-esque moment, a bald girl keeps trying to reject him but he will have NONE of it. He tells her that she is worthy of love and who knew it.....but the man was actually convincing as a romantic lead. Trust me I never would have believed it either. But his scenes kind of made the whole movie. His influence totally rubs off on baldie and she gives a similar speech to Ted Mosby Sam. A very worthwhile message he gives indeed. People are flawed, no one is perfect....but that doesn't mean we can't find someone who loves us for all who we are. Who can adore us. We're worthy of adoration...and don't let anyone else tell you otherwise.


I'll admit that my two honorable mentions are probably more well-made than this film (it's pretty low budget..), but I just love the premise so much and the things it has to say. It WOULD be so much easier if we just knew who we were supposed to be with and when. But it would also completely change how we lived our lives. As said in the film, life is about the detours....it's about the mistakes. Every choice we make shapes us...and if we had the plan right in front of us....how often would we choose to let the pain actually shape us? As hard as it is not to know the future, it's the only way we can become the people we're meant to be....and be the people that will be right for the one we end up with.

HONORABLE MENTIONS : Like Crazy and Garden State. Both are great films with a lot to say and equally worthy of this list...I do have a lot to say about both of them, but ultimately I'm tired of writing and I just wanted to keep it to ten. :) Well that's it! But don't worry I will have a bonus list for tomorrow. The couples who WON'T make it. Until then...have a Happy Valentine's Day!!


Joey said...

Wow, I haven't seen as many of these films.

Love the wisdom of Annie Hall. Seriously, a relationship is like a shark. True words.

I love the end of When Harry Met Sally, when they hear real stories of people and how they met. I understood that the stories are real, but they may be actors portraying real people. No matter. It's filmed really well. First it completes the title of the movie. Then I love to see couples in love tell the story of how they met. If they are still in love, it's always a little sweet. They have this connection and they recall it and their body language and speech patterns become very personal to them.

Haven't seen Ruby Sparks, but you've got me intrigued.

courtney wightman said...

your description of happythankyoumorelplease was right on ... haha! "baldie"!

Sarah said...

Wow. Love is complicated, and hard, but oh so worth it.