Ten Great Romantic Films To Share With Someone You Love

Once again, it’s time to think about what to give the special people in your life for Christmas. With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to narrow things down. But if you have a movie buff or a couple in love on your holiday gift list, any of these romantic classics (all available at amazon.com) might well be just the thing.

It Happened One Night1: It Happened One Night is the screwball comedy that single-handedly destroyed the undershirt industry and made hitchhiking sexy. Sparks fly between Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable in this delightful film. If it doesn’t make you laugh, you have no funny bone.

2: Shakespeare In Love is a love letter to love and to theater. The deft and Shakesperian script by Tom Stoppard is beautifully performed by Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Geoffrey Rush, Dame Judi Dench and a host of other notable actors. Star-crossed lovers, an arranged marriage, desperate acts of cross-dressing and the always unstable world of the creative genius combine to make a beautiful fairy tale of love and art.

3: The terms ‘hit man’ ‘high school reunion’ and ‘romantic comedy’ rarely intersect for some reason. Every now and then, though, a film comes along and turns expectations on their collective heads. Grosse Pointe Blank is such a film. Fabulous performances by John and Joan Cusack, Dan Ackroyd, Minnie Driver, and Jeremy Piven make this unlikely comic film not only work, but sing. You can’t go home again, but you can shop there.

4: Harold and Maude. At first glance, this 1971 cult classic appears twisted and morbid. The hero, Harold (Bud Cort), is a young man whose favorite pastime is arranging elaborate mock suicides for his mother to discover. Maude (Ruth Gordon) is old enough to be his grandmother. They meet at a funeral both have crashed and fall in love. But at the heart of this strange little tale about death is a celebration of life, love, and self-discovery. This one isn’t for everyone by any means, but for those with the right turn of mind and heart, it’s a treasure.

5: If you’re looking for a slightly more conventional romance than the last two, go no further than the celebrated A&E production of Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. Jane Austen’s novel is treated with respect and affection in this charming version. The cast is excellent, the costumes picture perfect, and the entire production deeply satisfying. Perfect for a long day of curling up with tea and scones.

6: Who Am I This Time? Once upon a time, years and years ago, I ran across a quirky, short film based on a very quirky short story by Kurt Vonnegut. This is that film. It’s not quite an hour long, but Susan Sarandon and Christopher Walken fill it with something quite special as two lonely, awkward people who meet and fall in love during an amateur theater production of A Streetcar Named Desire. I can’t really say more without giving away the plot, but this tiny film is something to treasure.

7: Casablanca. What is there left to say about Casablanca? It’s the very definition of classic, and the stuff of legend to boot. If you already know the film, you understand. If you don’t, then it’s time to learn about it. Play it again, Sam, and keep a hanky handy.

8: Back when I first discovered the writings of PG Wodehouse, Pauline Collins and John Alderton – a married pair of British actors – were putting together a tribute to his works. The result is a delightful television series based on some of Wodehouse’s funniest short stories entitled Wodehouse Playhouse. Silly, frothy, slightly manic, and utterly deranged in the most innocent possible way, Collins and Alderton play a wide range of confused young lovers tossed about by the absurdities of fate. While many are familiar with Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster stories, most of these are based on his lesser known but even funnier Mr. Mulliner stories in which an absolutely truthful fisherman spins tales of the ridiculous difficulties his myriad nephews and other assorted relatives have faced in their love lives. Mulliner himself is excised from these stories, but the outrageous tall tales themselves are lovingly rendered. Wodehouse fans will be excited to see the master himself delivering the introductions.

9: Jean Cocteau’s surrealist masterpiece La Belle et Le Bete (Beauty and the Beast) is a treat for the eyes. It’s lush, elegant, just a touch unsettling. The story is a pretty simple retelling of the classic fairy tale. The difference is in the acting, the camera work, the costumes and scenery, even the very air, perhaps. I dare you not to be swept away by it.

10: Cold Comfort Farm. This delightful film came out I think about two weeks after I was first introduced to Stella Gibbons’ gloriously satiric novel of the same title. When young Flora Poste is left alone in the world by the death of her parents, she determines to live off of relatives until she writes her great novel at the age of fifty. The relatives she chooses to live off – the Starkadders of Cold Comfort Farm – are an unfortunate tangle of gothic tragedy in a brisk, modern (1930’s) world and Flora decides her first job is to organize their lives in a more rational manner. How she goes about this is hilarious. As she tidies up their lives and loves, will she notice the love blossoming under her very nose? Stand out performances by Kate Beckinsale, Joanna Lumley, Rufus Sewell, Stephen Fry, and Sir Ian McKellen make this a film not to be missed.

One Response to “Ten Great Romantic Films To Share With Someone You Love”

  1. gemdiva says:

    Now this is freaky. You have included 3 of my very favorite “no one’s ever heard of them but me” movies on your list. “Harold & Maude”, “Who Am I This Time?”, and “Cold Comfort Farm”. As for the other choices, I heartily approve. You have excellent taste Twistie.