Valentine’s Day has never been my day. I’ve never been with someone when it rolls around. I’m too busy, too neurotic, too everything to devote the time to relationships. I think it’s why I like seeing love stories unfold in books, TV shows and movies… because it’s the only way I can make time for a little romance.
So, without further ado (or any ado at all, really), here are five of my favorite romantic movies:
1. Roman Holiday (Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck). Peck’s Joe Bradley is pretty much the epitome of the noble romantic for me. I love how he starts out on the trail of the scoop of the century and winds up being scooped himself, by the experience of falling in love with an amazing young woman. Sure, this film doesn’t have a happy ending, but it’s every inch a love story because of the connection forged between the cynical reporter and the wide-eyed princess…the joy, the intensity, that long, last look…Roman Holiday always gets to me. I have never stopped believing that somehow, some way, Joe and Ann were able to find their way back to each other.
2. Chasing Liberty (Mandy Moore, Matthew Goode). Much like Hepburn’s Princess Ann, all First Daughter Anna Foster wants is a little freedom…and she gets a little “controlled freedom” when she journeys to Berlin with a young secret agent named Ben. This isn’t the deepest movie in the world, but it’s just so damn adorable that it never fails to put a smile on my face. Goode and Moore just sparkle, and make what could’ve been a crappy script in somebody else’s hands pop with life.
3. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (Kajol, Shahrukh Khan). This is my six hankie Bollywood saga that I love beyond reason. Through a birthday letter from her deceased mother, 8-year-old Anjali learns about her father’s best friend from college, for whom she was named. Upon realizing that the first Anjali was her father’s first love (he just didn’t know it!), she embarks on a mission to reunite the duo, who haven’t seen each other in years. Kajol plays the adult Anjali’s layers of first love, lost love, and heartache so beautifully, and Shahrukh Khan is fairly understated (if you know his work, you know what I mean), as he lets the two Anjalis drive the story.
4. Pyar To Hona Hi Tha (Ajay Devgan, Kajol). Aside from a few sequences that are expressly Indian in nature, this is pretty much a beat-for-beat remake of French Kiss, starring Kevin Kline and Meg Ryan. But I like this version so much better! Real-life spouses Ajay and Kajol have great chemistry and comic timing, and with the sexual element of the American version removed, what you end up with is a ton of longing. The build of the tension between Shekhar and Sanjana…it’s adorable and sexy at the same time. Much like Chasing Liberty, it’s not high art, but it’s perfect romance!
5. Enchanted (Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey). This movie hits my sweeping musical and Disney cartoon buttons at the same time, so it’s automatically in the “Win” column, but I also love it because Giselle’s entire outlook on life is so alien to cynical New Yorker Robert. How in the world does a Disney princess fare in the real world? And how can someone who has hardened their heart open up to someone who believes so wholly in true love? Their falling love pretty much hinges on them finding common ground between two literally different worlds. And yet they fall, and it’s beautiful!