Romantic Movies
February 8, 2005 9:29 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for really good romantic movies.

The kind where you're cheering for the couple to overcome whatever is keeping them apart and you feel like they really deserve each other. The kind that has substance to it and isn't all fluff - unlike most recent romantic comedies. The kind where the chemistry between the main characters leaps off the screen, and it isn't just about making it into the sack. The kind that makes you feel great and uplifted and happy to be alive, even if the ending is bittersweet. Come on, MeFites, I know you're up to the challenge! Nope, not a Valentine's Day question, but feel free to get inspired ~
posted by widdershins to Media & Arts (109 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Roman Holiday.

They don't make them like that any more.
posted by veedubya at 9:30 AM on February 8, 2005

An example of the type of movie I'm looking for is The Boxer, which has a great story and the chemistry between Daniel Day-Lewis and Emily Watson is palpable.
posted by widdershins at 9:34 AM on February 8, 2005

Apparently a lot of people hate it, but oh MAN did I ever enjoy The Piano.
posted by granted at 9:46 AM on February 8, 2005

If you're looking for some really fluff free kinda "alternative" romantic movies, which may or may not go beyond "bittersweet" at the end then you could try:

Buffalo 66
Breaking the waves (not for valentines day)
Punch Drunk Love
Leaving Las Vegas
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind
posted by fire&wings at 9:47 AM on February 8, 2005

Amelie. Amelie. Amelie. Amelie. Amelie. Amelie. Amelie. Amelie. Amelie. Amelie. Amelie. Amelie. Amelie. Amelie. Amelie. Amelie. Amelie. Amelie. Amelie. Amelie. Amelie. Amelie. Amelie. Amelie.

Did I mention, AMELIE?

Doesn't fill all of your requirements necessarily (not heavy on shared screentime between the two, so the chemistry is a stretch), but AMELIE.
posted by drpynchon at 9:49 AM on February 8, 2005

A Fish Called Wanda
posted by AlexReynolds at 9:51 AM on February 8, 2005

My all-time favorite: The Apartment - Jack Lemon


Bringing Up Baby - Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn

The Lady Eve - Barbara Stanwick, Henry Fonda

Ninotchka (and if you enjoy this, the musical version: Silk Stockings.) - Gretta Garbo (musical version - Fred Astair)

City Lights - Charlie Chaplin

Age of Innocence - Daniel Day Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer

Stairway to Heaven (alternate title: A Matter of Life and Death) - David Niven, Kim Hunter

Gone with the Wind
posted by grumblebee at 9:55 AM on February 8, 2005

A Thousand Clowns ? Not 100% romance.

Amelie pisses me off.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 9:57 AM on February 8, 2005

The Fisher King.
posted by Soliloquy at 9:59 AM on February 8, 2005

Some Kind of Wonderful. Probably a bit too dated, but it's got one of the sweetest "first kiss" scenes ever.
posted by stefanie at 9:59 AM on February 8, 2005

Garden State. Made the honey and I all warm and mushy for each other.
posted by chiababe at 10:00 AM on February 8, 2005

Musicals that Fit the Bill:

All-time favorite: Top Hat - Astaire, Rogers


The Pirate - Gene Kelly, Judy Garland

Silk Stockings - Astaire, Cyd Charisse

Meet Me In St. Louis - Judy Garland (somewhat fits, but even when it doesn't, it's a wonderful, romantic, bitter-sweet movie)

Swing Time - Astaire, Rogers
posted by grumblebee at 10:05 AM on February 8, 2005

Shadowlands. Anthony Hopkins as C.S. Lewis who falls in love with a woman who becomes ill.
posted by callmejay at 10:08 AM on February 8, 2005

widdershins, I came in to tell you about The Boxer. Oh well. :)
posted by vito90 at 10:08 AM on February 8, 2005

Sorry to keep posting, but I keep thinking of more great ones:

The African Queen - Hepburn, Bogart

Philadelphia Story - Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant

Annie Hall (sort of fits -- in any case, there's great chemestry) -- Woody Allen, Diane Keaton

Purple Rose of Cairo -- Mia Farrow (bittersweet)

Taming of the Shrew -- Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton

Clueless - Alicia Silverstone (modernized but IMHO best adaptation of Jane Austin's "Emma", which in book form is the perfect example of what you're talking about -- you might want to check out the BBC miniseries version which is on DVD. I hate the version with Gwenith Paltrow.)

As Good as it Gets -- Jack Nicholson

Metropolitan -- Whit Stillman's wonderful directorial debut, and a nice example of what you're looking for. Alas, it's not available on DVD, but you can find it on VHS.

I second Shadowlands!
posted by grumblebee at 10:13 AM on February 8, 2005

I second, third, and fourth Garden State. Why he isn't up for best original screenplay is totally beyond me.
posted by Medieval Maven at 10:13 AM on February 8, 2005

Before Sunrise.
posted by arco at 10:17 AM on February 8, 2005

Moonstruck. I'm so embarrassed.
posted by granted at 10:21 AM on February 8, 2005

And I second Roman Holiday, Amelie, and Punch-Drunk Love.
posted by granted at 10:21 AM on February 8, 2005

Mostly Martha
Kissing Jessica Stein
Donnie Darko
Punch Drunk Love

I also liked The English Patient and Out of Africa. And Garden State. Hated, hated, hated As Good as It Gets. (Love has *got* to be better than that!), but I agree with grumblebee on African Queen, Philadelphia Story, Annie Hall, and Taming of the Shrew. Also agree with kirkaracha on True Romance.
posted by onlyconnect at 10:23 AM on February 8, 2005

Chungking Express, and maybe even Maborosi. Both kind of depressing but excellent films.

I think you should see Wings of Desire instead of City of Angels. Definitely slower paced, but it is beautiful, brilliant, and quite touching.

I definitely second or third or fourth Eternal Sunshine, Punch Drunk Love, and True Romance.
posted by tweak at 10:23 AM on February 8, 2005

I second eternal sunshine of the spotless mind.
posted by trbrts at 10:25 AM on February 8, 2005

I really liked Far and Away.

grumblebee, you and I have to get together for a movie marathon. I love the classics.
posted by Juicylicious at 10:31 AM on February 8, 2005

Crossing Delancey. Fits your requirements pretty well, except that what's keeping the characters from each other is each other.
Love Actually is, really, quite good.
Next Stop Wonderland.

I'll second Desk Set. It gets lots of points from me because Tracy and Hepburn are both real grownups instead of mooney teens in adult bodies, and because neither of them are/seem desperate for a mate.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:31 AM on February 8, 2005

Another shout here for Annie Hall!
posted by Robot Johnny at 10:34 AM on February 8, 2005

Another vote for Eternal Sunshine. In its own strange way, it's the only realistic love story I've ever seen on screen.
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:34 AM on February 8, 2005

breaking the waves? dear god, no.

amelie, the man from snowy river, sixteen candles, the english patient, but never ever breaking the waves.
posted by heather at 10:35 AM on February 8, 2005

I'll see your Before Sunrise and raise you a Before Sunset. Seriously, nothing could come closer, for me at least, to what you're looking for, though make sure to watch Sunrise first for the edge-of-your-seat romantic excitement.
posted by hoboynow at 10:35 AM on February 8, 2005

Desk Set
Jane Austen Movies
The A&E version of Pride and Prejudice.
posted by OmieWise at 10:41 AM on February 8, 2005

Harrison Bergeron. It has the worst opening credits in the history of film. Please don't let that throw you.

Please watch it. The romance is awesome.
posted by u.n. owen at 10:41 AM on February 8, 2005

Leaving Las Vegas!? Oy vey. Fire&wings, you're late for your AA meeting.

I can't believe no one has mentioned Rushmore.
posted by scratch at 10:54 AM on February 8, 2005

I can't believe nobody mentioned Casablanca

Jules et Jim is quite romantic, too
posted by matteo at 10:55 AM on February 8, 2005

I guess I sixth Garden State. Also, most recently In Good Company. A great movie with a nice romantic plotline.

But the movie that immediately leapt to mind was Lost in Translation. It 100% fits the info for chemistry between the characters. Simply one of my favorite movies of all time.
posted by ..ooOOoo....ooOOoo.. at 10:56 AM on February 8, 2005

Indiscreet. Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. Two sophisticated grown-ups doing the mating dance very, very well.

-Charade, with Grant and Audrey Hepburn
-North By Northwest, with Grant and Eva St. Marie

Oh heck, just pick an random Cary Grant movie. The odds are weighted heavily in your favor.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 10:58 AM on February 8, 2005

(And can I add that Eternal Sunshine affected me more than any other movie of 2004 and stayed with me long afterwards? I'm not completely sure it's what you're after here. Did not make me feel "great and uplifted and happy to be alive." It was a real thinker and I highly recommend it, but it didn't make me happy.)

Also, I *absolutely* second the BBC Pride and Prejudice recommendation!
posted by onlyconnect at 11:06 AM on February 8, 2005

I'll second Amelie, and add one I know is probably considered fluff, but I really love it - Love, Actually. In particular the story concerning Colin Firth's character Jamie, which demonstrates that love can transcend all barriers.

Oh, and Singles. I'll endorse it till my dying day because it's well written and there is definitely intensity.
posted by angeline at 11:07 AM on February 8, 2005

Run Lola Run.
posted by gnomeloaf at 11:08 AM on February 8, 2005

Eva St. Marie

err, that would be Eva Marie Saint. hides in shame...
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 11:10 AM on February 8, 2005

The 1995 remake of Sabrina staring Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond is one of my all-time favourites.
posted by pookzilla at 11:14 AM on February 8, 2005

Broadcast News
posted by Arch Stanton at 11:16 AM on February 8, 2005

Beautiful Thing - early teen love
Say anything - late teen/pre-college love
Kicking and Screaming - college/post-college love
High Fidelity - midlife crisis / record collection love
Crash - timeless car crash kink love obsession

More Love: Frankie and Johnny, Grosse Point Blank, and there are a lot of great ones listed above that I'd heartily second or third.
posted by safetyfork at 11:16 AM on February 8, 2005

I can't believe I forgot Singles, that is a great movie - definately recommended.

Scratch - Enjoying Leaving Las Vegas doesn't make me an alcoholic. A film doesn't need well balanced, airbrushed characters to make it romantic - I just thought I'd post a few examples of this. :)
posted by fire&wings at 11:19 AM on February 8, 2005

I'll throw in L. A. Story. Victoria Tennant was Steve Martin's actual wife when he made that movie, and it shows.
posted by kindall at 11:28 AM on February 8, 2005

There are really only a few good love movies that have been made so far. (Film is a new medium, after all.) The trouble: Americans are cheesy and ruin everything (see: City of Angels) and Europeans are only slightly less cheesy and are smarmy to boot (see: Amelie.)

So, here are:


1) The Princess Bride
2) It Happened One Night
3) Pierrot le Fou (a.k.a. "Crazy Pierre")
4) Vertigo
5) La Jetee
6) The Misfits
7) Tokyo Story

And they should be watched in that order.

(Also, winning the prize for "interesting romance, but very, very sad, in fact too sad to really be romantic movies" are Gone with the Wind and The Magnificent Ambersons. And, by the way, heather is right: avoid Breaking the Waves. Lars von Trier is a jerk.)
posted by koeselitz at 11:31 AM on February 8, 2005

Somewhere in Time
posted by wsg at 11:40 AM on February 8, 2005

No one has mentioned In the Mood for Love? I'm shocked.
posted by kenko at 11:40 AM on February 8, 2005

Some Like it Hot
posted by kenko at 11:44 AM on February 8, 2005

koeselitz: La Jetee had chemistry between the leads did it?
I'll second Wings of Desire and throw the original Goodbye Mr. Chips into the mix.
posted by biffa at 11:45 AM on February 8, 2005

True Romance? No, no -- see the original: Badlands.

Buffalo 66 ??! (WottaPieceOfShit!)
Good God, people -- you've got to see some old movies!

The Remains of the Day ??? This is not romance,
but the story of a wasted life.

Try these:
One From The Heart
The African Queen
and yes, Audry Hepburn in Roman Holiday. Plus
Funny Face, or Sabrina, as well (wouldn't
know about the remake; why bother?)

If we must go contemporary,
Amelie and Punch Drunk Love.

But they don't make 'em like they used to.
posted by Rash at 11:48 AM on February 8, 2005

I cannot believe no one has said this yet (unless my eyes and "find" function aren't working).

A Room With a View. My favorite movie ever.
posted by dnash at 11:49 AM on February 8, 2005

Hal Hartley's "Trust" -- seek it out, it's worth it. And second votes for "Chungking Express" (I didn't find it at all depressing), "Ninotchka" and "Crossing Delancey."
posted by clever sheep at 11:50 AM on February 8, 2005

There are a lot of good movies here. I'll add Penny Serenade, with Cary Grant and Irene Dunne.
posted by stopgap at 11:50 AM on February 8, 2005

Secretary fits your description but is probably not what you're looking for. Last of the Mohicans (also starring Daniel Day-Lewis) is probably exactly what you're looking for (with an incredible soundtrack to boot).
posted by zanni at 11:52 AM on February 8, 2005

I really liked "Out of Sight." Enough to think that Jennifer Lopez could act. Really. Now it just makes me realize that George Clooney could probably have chemistry with a grilled-cheese sandwich.

Not traditionally "romantic," though.
posted by occhiblu at 12:05 PM on February 8, 2005

Wow, a wide variety here - thank you all very much. I'm not so into the depressing stories (no Leaving Las Vegas, thank you), more the timeless holds-up-on-the-3rd-viewing kind. There are some great suggestions here - I'm compiling a list!

zanni, I have to admit Last of the Mohicans is one of my guilty pleasures. I own both the DVD and the CD - an incredible soundtrack that is frequently used in other movies/TV shows.
posted by widdershins at 12:06 PM on February 8, 2005

Also "The Big Sleep" with Bogie and Bacall. I don't remember the plot, but I remember the room getting noticably hotter and brighter any time they were on screen together. And the dialogue's much snappier (I think) than in "To Have or Have Not," which was supposed to be the sexier movie.
posted by occhiblu at 12:08 PM on February 8, 2005

The most romantic movie of all time is Brief Encounter. I think I'm going to start crying just typing the title.

On preview: Out of Sight has one of the all time greatest sex scenes. And To Have and Have Not is much hotter than The Big Sleep!
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:11 PM on February 8, 2005

Brief Encounter, directed by David Lean. I've never been moved more by any romantic film.
posted by hojoki at 12:13 PM on February 8, 2005

Great minds, Cunning. :)
posted by hojoki at 12:14 PM on February 8, 2005

Also, for chemistry, Malcolm McDowell and Mary Steenburgen fell in love making Time After Time and it is so sweetly obvious on the screen.
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:16 PM on February 8, 2005

yeah, but your link worked!
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:17 PM on February 8, 2005

No one has mentioned In the Mood for Love? I'm shocked.

kenko: I was going to mention it, but it mostly put me in the mood for depression. I mean, how does that film exactly encourage romantic good feeling in any way (yes, I agree its a great movie).
posted by tweak at 12:17 PM on February 8, 2005

Both Before Sunrise and Before Sunset are amazing. Watch them together.

Also Eternal Sunshine, of course.
posted by mai at 12:17 PM on February 8, 2005

Don't be embarrassed to say Moonstruck. Nicholas Cage's character's speech about how love isn't supposed to be easy is dead right.

For feelgood - Love Actually.
posted by tizzie at 12:31 PM on February 8, 2005

Show me Love - early teen love in Holland
Theory of Flight - offbeat romantic comedy
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
posted by PY at 12:37 PM on February 8, 2005

Show me Love - early teen love in Sweden sorry
posted by PY at 12:39 PM on February 8, 2005

The classic romantic comedies for me:

It Happened One Night (mentioned already)

The Thin Man for the chemistry between Myrna Loy and William Powell.

The Lady Eve and Sullivan's Travels - two classics by Preston Sturges.

I'd also add Harold & Maude, Groundhog Day, Intolerable Cruelty and Defending Your Life. And I'll include Einstein as a guilty pleasure (just because I really like Walter Matthau).
posted by snez at 12:48 PM on February 8, 2005

Oops - make that I.Q. (Walter Matthau plays Einstein...)
posted by snez at 12:54 PM on February 8, 2005

I'm with grumblebee - I don't think you can do much better than The Apartment. If you like things set in 1950s suburbia All that Heaven Allows is pretty good, and cotains some interesting social commentary, too.
posted by milkrate at 1:05 PM on February 8, 2005

Dark City
The Little Shop around the Corner
...and a bunch of others that have already been mentioned.
posted by Stynxno at 1:06 PM on February 8, 2005

Murphy's Romance is sweet and simple and delightful. Maybe moreso if you're old enough to appreciate the idea of love the second time around and/or people who aren't particularly young or measurably cute learning to listen to their hearts.
posted by Dreama at 1:12 PM on February 8, 2005

Silly as this sounds, Dick Tracy should be added to the list.
posted by grumblebee at 1:13 PM on February 8, 2005

His Girl Friday and Manhattan. In each, a third person almost comes between the couple for more practical reasons, but the two lovers just can't help but end up together.
posted by hazyjane at 1:30 PM on February 8, 2005

I nominate "Dr. Zhivago" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's."
posted by cass at 1:34 PM on February 8, 2005

I hate to be the one to say this.... When Harry Met Sally

I will also put in a vote for Lost in Translation. That movie fits your category in every way.
posted by Benway at 1:43 PM on February 8, 2005

As a self-described lover of romantic comedies...I would have to second (third...what have you) anything with Audrey Hepburn, Age of Innocence, Amelie, Love Actually, Unbereable Lightness of Being, Room with a View and the A&E version of "Pride and Prejudice".

I also like "About A Boy" and "Bridget Jones' Diary" -- especially for the comic factor. I also really like "French Kiss" with Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline as well as "Addicted to Love" with Meg Ryan and Matthew Broderick.

One of my true classic favorites is "It Started in Naples" with Clark Gable and Sophia Loren. Fabulous movie. Don't think it is on DVD though so it may be a tough one to find.
posted by Lola_G at 2:00 PM on February 8, 2005

A Little Romance – A very young Diane Lane, an old but feisty Olivier, Broderick Crawford, and some French kid you never heard of. Maybe too sweet for some tastes, but one of my all-time favorites. "Heidegger? They're assigning you Heidegger?"

A hearty second for Trust, and I would add another Hartley gem, The Unbelievable Truth.

Room with a View seconded too (or is it thirded or fourthed by now). And The Princess Bride.

Buddy – OK, maybe just a bit toward the fluff side, but I really cared about the characters. A Norwegian flick with a great Norwegian pop soundtrack.
posted by bricoleur at 2:06 PM on February 8, 2005

Oh...if you want drama and overcoming drama...

"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" with Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman.

It's heavy though.
posted by Lola_G at 2:10 PM on February 8, 2005

posted by whatnot at 2:13 PM on February 8, 2005

Something Wild. Yeah, it gets a little harsh when Ray Liotta flips out, but it's bracketed by pure sunniness and hope.
posted by maudlin at 2:32 PM on February 8, 2005

Lost in Translation and Benny and Joon.
posted by jragon at 2:52 PM on February 8, 2005

gotta add "adam's rib"! to call what tracy and hepburn have in that movie "chemistry" would be an understatement. kate is equal parts brains, sass, pride and vulnerability... of course they play a married couple to begin with, but they overcome a heck of a lot by the time it's finished.
i seventh "eternal sunshine" and "sunrise" & "sunset", but not on the same night! watch "sunrise", then wait eight years, then watch "sunset".
posted by Silky Slim at 3:05 PM on February 8, 2005

oh, and Dogfight with river phoenix and lili taylor. a story that starts with a cruel prank and evolves into something altogether more tender and delicate.
posted by Silky Slim at 3:08 PM on February 8, 2005

Lost in Translation: great movie but will NOT make you mushy for the one you love. Will more likely make you remember the girl that got away.

Eternal Sunshine
: possibly my favorite 'romantic comedy' movie of all time. The only movie to make me cry since I was a kid. May make you sad rather than mushy though.

When Harry Met Sally: why not go with the definitive romanitc comedy of all time? Still a great flick and will make you get mushy.

Amelie: a very solid choice if you don't mind reading (subtitles). Also check out A Very Long Engagement by the same director/actress/ok-it's-the-same-movie-but-in-war.

Punch Drunk Love: I don't know how this movie made me feel, but I liked it. Not guaranteed to "make you feel great and uplifted and happy to be alive" but you will be happy you saw it.

Leaving Las Vegas: This was one of the first suggestions and I have to say this is the OPPOSITE of what you are looking for by your description. This movie made me want to sit in a dark room hiding from the tragedy of humanity. Not recommended for a date.
posted by rooftop secrets at 3:24 PM on February 8, 2005

Oh and High Fidelity. Duh
posted by rooftop secrets at 3:26 PM on February 8, 2005

A lot of my guilty pleasures have already been mentioned: Last of the Mohicans, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Sense and Sensibility, the Pride and Prejudice miniseries....

And a few more: Sliding Doors, Lady Jane (not at all historically accurate, but the main characters have great chemistry), 10 Things I Hate About You, The Thing Called Love, Next Stop Wonderland, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Chasing Amy.
posted by Melinika at 3:55 PM on February 8, 2005

I third Moonstruck and When Harry Met Sally.
I'm not a Cher fan, but she deserved the Best Actress Oscar that she won for that movie. Cage is also superb.
posted by spock at 3:56 PM on February 8, 2005

Oh, yes, and Age of Innocence, definitely.
posted by Melinika at 3:56 PM on February 8, 2005

Four Weddings and a Funeral
posted by BigVACub at 3:58 PM on February 8, 2005

Well, it's not a movie, but the short-lived TV series Wonderfalls is just now out on DVD and fits this bill nicely in its 13-episode arc.
posted by nicwolff at 4:12 PM on February 8, 2005

I don't really like romances, or the things I like about the movies aren't necessarily the love story, so I'm really picky.

I second Holiday. I've watched it about 1,000 times. I'd totally forgotten about it, actually. It's exactly what you're looking for.

And Punch Drunk Love. It's weird and dark but very sweet at its core, which I love about it.

The scene in The Pirate where Judy Garland holds Gene Kelly's face sings and the camera's up so close, the intimacy is palpable. I don't know about the rest of the movie though. It is silly and wonderful though.

The big sceen couples are Astaire and Rogers (best: Swing Time) and Hepburn and Tracy (best:Woman of the Year, because it's the tartest and funniest and they face the most realistic problems, but also because it was their first movie together and you basically get to watch them falling in love).

I don't understand the High Fidelity recommendations at all. It's a wonderful movie, but it's more about the Jon Cusack character than about actual love.
Annie Hall is one of my favourites of all time. If you haven't seen it, do, but don't necessarily expect to get swept up in the romance of it all. I mean, you fall in love with Diane Keaton because you can't not, but I don't know how uplifting it is.

Also, I think Garden State didn't get a best screenplay nomination because of its horrible ending. I really wanted to like it, but the scene with the dad? Come on.
posted by SoftRain at 4:22 PM on February 8, 2005

Maybe As Good As It Gets?
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 4:27 PM on February 8, 2005

What ROU_Xenophobe said. Crossing Delancey.
posted by nj_subgenius at 4:36 PM on February 8, 2005

Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility. Emma Thompson's character lights up my heart in that movie.

Trust. Martin Donovan in that movie? Best. Male. Lead. Ever. a friend of mine used to always say, "I mean, come on! He reads a lot and punches people. (Swoon)." When he tells Adrienne Shelley to drink more milk or her bones will snap in 25 years, you just want to kiss him.

City Lights has brought tears to my eyes before.


dinner now...will write more later.
posted by ifjuly at 4:37 PM on February 8, 2005

The Cutting Edge. Cliched and full of annoying sports-training montages...but it makes me smile every time I watch it.
posted by bac at 4:48 PM on February 8, 2005

Picnic at Hanging Rock is arguably a love story. The End Of The Affair and Splendor in the Grass are pretty overwrought but I still enjoy watching them.

Before Sunrise and Before Sunset!!!!!

Heavy isn't centrally about the unrequited love story, but it plays a big part. And the soundtrack, by Thurston Moore, is perfect if you're like me and the right age for it. Speaking of Liv Tyler movies, Stealing Beauty isn't a central love story either, but more about love and desire and how sense memory forms the fabric of personal narratives about love and desire in general a la Anais Nin.

Aimee and Jaguar is a very fucked up story...


Yes, Roman Holiday. Also The Apartment and whatever other love stories feature Jack Lemmon. God I love that man.

Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? is extremely fucked up and scathing. It is not "romantic" in any way, but on the subject of how intimacy leaves partners naked it'll tear you apart.

Beautiful Girls is about trying to find love. The "am I creepy Nabokovian pedophile?" talk on the floor between Timothy Hutton and his friend is wonderful.

I enjoy the romances in the very funny Cold Comfort Farm.
posted by ifjuly at 5:37 PM on February 8, 2005

Eternal Sunshine -- just thinking about a certain line in it gives me chills.
Me too on the Hal Hartleys.
Like Water For Chocolate! How can this have gone unmentioned!
Benny and Joon and Black Cat, White Cat are special in that the guy only has to be nice. No trickery, no danger, just kindness.
10 Things I Hate About You -- mainly for having a girl-type I knew plenty of in high school but never appears in movies
posted by Aknaton at 6:02 PM on February 8, 2005

Eternal Sunshine -- is it the line under the covers, when he changes his mind? That bit still haunts me.
posted by onlyconnect at 6:58 PM on February 8, 2005

IMHO, Lost in Translation matches your criterion better than any other romance I've seen. It feels dumbfoundingly real. If you want a movie that will reaffirm that love exists, rather than that it would be nice if love did exist, that's it.
posted by gsteff at 7:24 PM on February 8, 2005

Truly, Madly, Deeply

The Princess and the Warrior
(with Franke Potente, of Run Lola Run fame)

Oscar and Lucinda
posted by melixxa600 at 11:43 PM on February 8, 2005

Thanks to everyone who mentioned Crossing Delancey - I had forgotten how much I liked it. Another one, if you're in the mood for an Amy Irving-fest is The Competition, made (unbelievably) 25 years ago, when Richard Dreyfuss was an intense hottie. The cheese factor is pretty high, but it has the best declaration of love ever, and some awesome fake piano playing.
posted by deliriouscool at 4:45 AM on February 9, 2005

These don't meet all your criteria, but chemistry rules ...
The Princess and the Warrior (romantic tracheotomy!)
Run Lola Run
Girl on a Bridge (romantic knife-throwing!)
The Fabulous Baker Boys (offscreen romance rumor)
The French Lieutenant's Woman
Funny Girl (off-screen romance)
The English Patient
Sid & Nancy
Bull Durham
White Palace
The Piano
Original Sin
West Side Story
and *lowers voice* Titanic
posted by thinkpiece at 7:32 AM on February 9, 2005

What, no Barefoot in the Park?
posted by petebest at 11:53 AM on February 9, 2005

I'll second Truly Madly Deeply - it's a gorgeous film, with the bonus of lots of lovely Bach if you're into that sort of thing.
posted by Lotto at 2:09 PM on February 9, 2005

Les Enfants du Paradis
posted by brujita at 7:03 AM on February 10, 2005

Hey there widdershins - not sure if you'll check this list, but I wholeheartedly recommend Love Actually (fantastic, funny & sweet, even if it could stand to be pruned of several subplots) & especially Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (pitch perfect, I wouldn't change a thing), one of my favorite movies ever. Did you ever see The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love? It's not as good as either of those two, but it does feature mildly hot girls making out with each other. Wait... [pauses, re-checks criteria]... oh, well. It's still good. And hey, as long as we're talking about lesbians, Bound is an awesome film. What? We weren't talking about lesbians?
posted by jonson at 9:05 PM on February 15, 2005

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