In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, this week’s Tuesday Top 10 focuses on a few of my favourite romantic films. I love when films highlight the highs and lows of sports, the triumphs of war, the adventures of superheroes and everything in between. However, sometimes I’m just in the mood for a good old-fashioned love story. If you are too, check out the list below for my 10 all-time favourites.
1) Titanic (1997) – 7.7/10 IMDb
Titanic is my number one favourite as it highlights how love can be a force to be reckoned with, even in a time when one’s social class set the tone for their romantic future. Kate Winslet gives a stunning performance as Rose DeWitt Bukater, an intelligent yet troubled young woman who learns to hold her own as the film progresses. Leonardo DiCaprio was equally as brilliant as Jack Dawson, a penniless artist that falls for Rose and fights against the status quo of society to earn her love.
Titanic was nominated for 14 Academy Awards, winning 11 including Best Picture and Best Director for James Cameron. If the above information has not convinced you I thought I might point out that I still quote lines from the film on an ongoing basis, and am still obsessed with Celine Dion’s Oscar-Winning Song”My Heart Will Go On”.
Favourite Quote: “Rose! You’re so stupid. Why did you do that, huh? You’re so stupid, Rose. Why did you do that? Why?” – Jack “You jump, I jump, right?” – Rose
2) The Notebook (2004) – 8.0/10 IMDb
I couldn’t have a romantic films Top 10 without one of the several Nicholas Sparks book-to-film adaptations. The Notebook is my favourite as it seamlessly shifts from a modern-day nursing home where an elderly man is reading a romantic story to a fellow patient, to his narration of the journey of that story’s two lovers. Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling) is a local country boy who becomes smitten with the seventeen-year-old heiress Allie Hamilton (Rachel McAdams) after seeing her at a carnival.
Due to their differences in social class, they quickly realize that their romantic fling isn’t going to be an easy transition past the summer. As Allie heads home to Charleston and Noah heads off to war, the hope lives on that their love will be strong enough to one day bring them back to each other.
Favourite Quote: “So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s gonna be really hard; we’re gonna have to work at this everyday, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, everyday. You and me … everyday.” – Noah
3) Silver Linings Playbook (2012) – 7.8/10 IMDb
Silver Linings Playbook is a brilliant film directed by David O. Russell, which emphasizes that a love story does not always have to take the easy and traditional route. Bradley Cooper gives an honest and genuine portrayal of Patrick “Pat” Solatano Jr., a man that is struggling with his recent bipolar disorder diagnosis. This struggle is mirrored by Jennifer Lawrence’s powerful performance as Tiffany Maxwell, a young widow who is also trying to find her place in the world.
Cooper and Lawrence are an exceptional pair, as Tiffany tries to help Pat get his life back on track while he agrees to enter a dance competition with her. The connection between the two grows stronger throughout the film as they both learn how to cope with their problems. Silver Linings Playbook was nominated for eight Academy Awards, with its sole win by Jennifer Lawrence in the Best Actress category.
Favourite Quote: “Dear Tiffany, I know you wrote the letter. The only way you could meet my crazy was by doing something crazy yourself. Thank you. I love you. I knew it the minute I met you. I’m sorry it took so long for me to catch up. I just got stuck. Pat … I wrote that a week ago.” – Pat
4) Pride & Prejudice (2005) – 7.8/10 IMDb
Pride & Prejudice is based on the classic Jane Austen novel, which I a read a couple of years back and would highly recommend. The film follows Elizabeth Bennet, played by the beautiful Keira Knightley, as she deals with issues of morality, education, upbringing, and marriage in the society of the early 19th century.
Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen) is a proud, rich, and single man who has a hard time adapting to local society and as a result clashes repeatedly with Elizabeth. However, as the film progresses they both learn that a person is not always as they seem, and in order to accept love they both must overcome their pride and prejudice.
Favourite Quote: “I thought that poetry was the food of love.” – Mr. Darcy “Of a fine stout love, it may. But if it is only a vague inclination I’m convinced one poor sonnet will kill it stone dead.” – Elizabeth “So what do you recommend to encourage affection?” – Mr. Darcy “Dancing. Even if one’s partner is barely tolerable.” – Elizabeth
5) About Time (2013) – 7.8/10 IMDb
About Time follows 21-year-old Tim after his father informs him that the men of their family can travel through time, and his consequential decision to use this new power solely for love. Domhnall Gleeson gives a precious portrayal of Tim as he stumbles through love in the hopes of finding his soulmate.
Mary, played by the lovely Rachel McAdams, becomes the focus of Tim’s affection as the story progresses and he convinces her to fall in love with him. Yes I know this is another movie that Rachel McAdams has a husband who travels through time (see #9). However, their romance is balanced by an adorable father-son relationship, as Tim works his way through life and love with the help of his father (Bill Nighy).
Favourite Quote: “What do you think of her?” – Tim “I like her more than you already.” – Dad
6) When Harry Met Sally (1989) – 7.6/10 IMDb
When Harry Met Sally is a classic romantic-comedy film that follows the cynical Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) and the optimistic Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) as they grow to become great friends before eventually falling for each other. The story focuses on the pair as they continually discuss if men and women can just be friends. Harry argues that it is impossible as sex will always get in the way, while Sally naively states that it is 100% possible. For majority of the film the two work through the ups and downs of a strong friendship until they finally realize true love is right in front of their eyes.
Favourite Quote: “I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and 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.” – Harry
7) Dirty Dancing (1987) – 6.9/10 IMDb
Dirty Dancing is a classic romantic dance film that follows Frances “Baby” Houseman (Jennifer Grey) during the summer of 1963 as she vacations at a resort with her family and falls in love with the bad-boy dance instructor Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze). After finding out that Johnny’s dance partner is pregnant, Baby steps up to fill in for her. Johnny scoffs at the idea at first but Baby’s fiery determination grows on him and they slowly begin to fall for each other.
Favourite Quote: “Sorry for the interruption, folks, but I always do the last dance of the season. This year somebody told me not to. So I’m gonna do my kind of dancin’ with a great partner, who’s not only a terrific dancer, but somebody… who’s taught me… that there are people willing to stand up for other people no matter what it costs them. Somebody who’s taught me about the kind of person I wanna be. Miss Frances Houseman.” – Johnny
8) Shakespeare in Love (1998) – 7.2/10 IMDb
Shakespeare in Love follows young playwright William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) through the trials and tribulations of his development of the epic play Romeo and Juliet in the late 1500s. Meanwhile, Viola de Lesseps (Gwyneth Paltrow) a wealthy merchant’s daughter is inspired by Shakespeare’s previous work and decides to disguise herself in order to audition for the play. The film is filled with secrecy and deception as Shakespeare falls for the real Viola while she falls for him when she is in disguise. The film was nominated for a total of 13 Academy Awards and ended up winning seven including Best Picture, Best Actress (Gwyneth Paltrow), Best Supporting Actress (Judi Dench), and Costume Design.
Favourite Quote: “I will have poetry in my life. And adventure. And love. Love above all. Not the artful postures of love, not playful and poetical games of love for the amusement of an evening, but love that … overthrows life. Unbiddable, ungovernable – like a riot in the heart, and nothing to be done, come ruin or rapture. Love – like there has never been in a play.” – Viola
9) The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009) – 7.1/10 IMDb
The Time Traveler’s Wife is based on the novel of the same name written by Audrey Niffenegger which I read a few years back and would highly recommend. The story follows librarian Henry DeTamble (Eric Bana) as he travels back and forth through time and is continuously drawn to the stunning Clare Abshire (Rachel McAdams). Their relationship is unique and special as Henry’s travelling is highly unpredictable, yet the two remain strong as their learn to support each other in all areas of life.
Favourite Quote: “I wouldn’t change one second of our life together.” – Clare
10) P.S. I Love You (2007) – 7.1/10 IMDb
P.S. I Love You follows Holly Reilly-Kennedy (Hillary Swank) through the ups and downs of emotional recovery that occur after her husband Gerry Kennedy (Gerard Butler) dies of a brain tumour. Before his death, Gerry created a scavenger hunt for Holly to navigate through her grief in order to eventually find peace. This film is extremely emotional for me so I highly recommend you have an entire box of Kleenex on hand when you sit down to watch it!
Favourite Quote: “[reading Gerry’s letter] Dear Holly, I don’t have much time. I don’t mean literally, I mean you’re out buying ice cream and you’ll be home soon. But I have a feeling this is the last letter, because there is only one thing left to tell you. It isn’t to go down memory lane or make you buy a lamp, you can take care of yourself without any help from me. It’s to tell you how much you move me, how you changed me. You made me a man, by loving me Holly. And for that, I am eternally grateful… literally. If you can promise me anything, promise me that whenever you’re sad, or unsure, or you lose complete faith, that you’ll try to see yourself through my eyes. Thank you for the honor of being my wife. I’m a man with no regrets. How lucky am I. You made my life, Holly. But I’m just one chapter in yours. There’ll be more. I promise. So here it comes, the big one. Don’t be afraid to fall in love again. Watch out for that signal, when life as you know it ends. P.S. I will always love you.” – Holly
Sources – specifically for quotes: (IMDb).