Favorite Romantic Movies
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I love romance and sentimental gestures. Old fashioned things thrill my soul. And my heart has never sought the James Bonds or Supermans of this world so it is natural that my favorite romantic movies reflect a lot of this “days of old” mentality. I really don’t watch a ton of romantic movies because I find what the world has deemed romantic to be a bit ridiculous. (See this post on how we’ve lost true romance.) However, the few I love hold a dear spot in my heart and are some of my favorite movies to watch on repeat.
Anne of Green Gables Series
I know it’s a series and not a movie but I L-O-V-E Gilbert Blythe with all my heart and couldn’t pick just one because they each show an important part of Gil and Anne’s relationship. Gilbert might be my favorite leading man because he is realistic and quite close to what is on my “list”. He’s in no way perfect but he is perfect for Anne. He isn’t afraid to challenge her but he is tender enough to woo her. He is a determined and hardworking man with a good head on his shoulders. He has a great sense of humor but remembers the little things. From the first moment I heard him call her Carrots I was a goner. Book Gilbert is better, of course, but Jonathan Crombie makes it a pretty close race.
Pride and Prejudice
I debated whether to put the BBC mini-series or the 2005 movie on this list and couldn’t pick so watch them both, please. The mini-series is more true to the storyline because it runs six episodes but the movie is absolutely gorgeous from an artistic standpoint with several beautifully crafted, poignant but not true to the original, moments. Every time I watch one of them I think that is my favorite Darcy and then I watch the other and I change my mind. Truthfully, I love them both. I love that the leading man is an awkward mess, who has many personality flaws that have to be overcome to win his girl. Once again, the whole perfect prince charming is lost on me because I’ve never met one but I have met a good man that realizes he is wrong and wants to change for the better. That’s a romantic ideal I can get behind!
I think every little girl at some point dreams of being Jo March though I’m afraid I might be a less adventurous side character like Meg but both find the romance they seek in very different ways. Coming of age stories can’t help but bring heartbreak and happiness and “Little Women” provides both in heaping spoonfuls. I’m not sure I’ll ever forgive Jo for turning Laurie down but Friedrich was perfect for her. Once again, a real, imperfect man who had to overcome reservations to find happiness with the woman he loved. I’ll be honest that I’ve not seen the newest version and the 1994 version holds a special place in my heart though the older ones are pretty good as well...minus Elizabeth Taylor in a blonde wig as Amy. What a mess that was!
Beauty and the Beast
This is probably the first romantic movie I ever saw. It was definitely the first movie I saw in theatres. I was around five years old when I first saw this Disney classic and I fell in love with it all. The music, the story, the costumes. It was fantastic. To this day, Belle is still my favorite Disney Princess, even if she has one of my least favorite dresses, and the soundtrack is a perfect road trip jam. I love most old school Disney movies but this one always seemed different and I think I figured out why a few years back watching the Broadway version in New Orleans. This is the first time in the “original” princesses' storylines when the prince and damsel get to know each other first. No love at first sight, married the next day nonsense. Some would argue that he held her hostage but in reality, she chose to stay on her father’s behalf so HE wouldn’t be held hostage. I think the moment I fell in love with this movie came at the same point Belle realized there was something more with the Beast. You know I’m a sucker for guys who put thought into a gesture so giving Belle a library about did me in. He understood her and wanted her to be happy and this gesture started a snowball effect of love in their lives. Also, Prince Adam is the best looking Disney prince in my book...after all, he’s a ginger!
While You Were Sleeping
This last one is the only romcom on the list but it’s one I could watch a million times over. I used to show it in my class when we discussed miscommunication, which is the premise of the whole film if you’ve never seen it. I know this one goes completely against my “meet one day, marry the next” hatred because they technically only know each other a week but there’s something about Jack and Mary that is so endearing. Mary’s desperation is palatable and honestly, relatable to most women at some point. Jack is your old-fashioned man’s man, that’s a bit confused but oh so loveable. I blame that on Bill Pullman. He seemed to spend the 90s playing men that were less Hollywood heroes and more real world hunks which makes him incredibly attractive in my book. The heartbreak in his eyes when he says he can’t give Mary a reason not to marry Peter has me in tears every time and the way he lights up when Mary confesses the mix up makes my heart want to explode. I just adore it!
I guess what I have come to realize is that as I age I don’t want to see the perfect knight in shining armor ride up on his trusty steed and whisk me off into the sunset. After all, who is this knight? How do I get on the horse? Why are we going into the sunset? Where does he go to church? Has he been preparing for retirement? I’d rather see Gilbert Blythe smile encouragingly when Anne is nervous on stage or hear Mr. Darcy get tongue tied trying to confess his feelings than watch some over the top, unattainable spectacle. I love the simple and sincere, both in movies and in life.