As much as I'd like to think I'm a tough cookie and can roll with the punches, the reality is that I am probably the most sensitive person you'll ever meet. This is why me plus romantic movies equals MFEO (made for each other). And yes, that is a reference to Sleepless in Seattle. Now, I do have to clarify that I'm not the type for weepy, tragic movies (no thank you, Nicholas Sparks). I don't believe that tragedy is the same as drama.
The recent passing of Nora Ephron, the famed writer and director who knew how to perfectly tug at our heartstrings, reminded me how much I love movies that blend romance with a healthy dose of humor. It's unfortunate that they don't get the sort of recognition they deserve. "This 'chick flick' can't possibly be an excellent film!" - Cynical Film Critic
My favorite romantic movies have a touch of humor, perhaps some magic, and a lot of heart. Sometimes I enjoy being moved to tears, as long as those tears are a result of beautiful moments. So in honor of my love for love, here is a list of my 20 favorite romantic films (I know I left some great ones out!):
1. Shakespeare in Love - Combines my love of the Bard, confused identity plotlines, and costume dramas into one wonderful, funny, utterly romantic film. And I don't care what anyone says, I'm glad it beat Saving Private Ryan for best picture.
2. The Philadelphia Story - I just love Katherine Hepburn . . . and Jimmy Stewart . . . and Cary Grant! Quite possibly my favorite classic romance (a separate movie list entirely), the dialogue is witty and fast, and the characters are absolutely charming.
3. Midnight in Paris - The first Woody Allen film on this list (and certainly not the last), I felt like this movie was made for me. Romance, nostalgia, magic . . . Plus, it's in Paris! That automatically adds about 400 points to the Romance-Meter.
4. Sleepless in Seattle - It's easy to see why this one is on the list. Sweet, charming, perfectly written - it stands the test of time, as does . . .
5. When Harry Met Sally - Again, Nora Ephron writes a movie that feels like real people talking about real relationships. They're just a little more concise and witty than the rest of us.
6. Valley Girl - What's more romantic than a Sunset Strip punk wooing a blonde Valley-loving prom queen? Nothing. And speaking of Nic Cage . . .
7. Moonstruck - This one is my most quotable movie ever. Don't get me started ("Johnny had his hand, Johnny had his bride!"). Unfortunately, a lot of people I know have never even seen it! Not only a romantic comedy, but also a love letter to family. A la familia!
8. Dirty Dancing - I can't even remember the first time I watched this movie. I was far too young for the subject matter and didn't even get half of the storyline. But dancing and secret romance are a guaranteed hit - just ask ANY GIRL my age! They all love this one.
9. Charade - Often called the best Hitchcock film Hitchcock never directed, Charade's plot twists and turns keep you guessing while the amazing chemistry between Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn builds. And yes, it's set in Paris!
10. Annie Hall - Not the traditional romantic comedy, but I consider it a romance above all else. The element of this film that keeps us all hooked is the relationship between Allen and Keaton. (Honorable Mention: Hannah and Her Sisters)
11. Amelie - This movie is almost too adorable. Almost. The blend of magic, surrealism, and hopeless romanticism makes this French film an instant classic. Again, it's in Paris!
12. Moulin Rouge - Spectacular! Spectacular! Over the top. Musical. Ewan McGregor. I'm in! Oh yeah, and it's in Paris . . . Are you sensing a trend?
13. Only You - A romp through Italy with Marissa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr. is always a good choice for a girls' night in!
14. Breakfast at Tiffany's - An easy pick because it's such a classic. Though not at all what Truman Capote wrote about in his short story, I'm all for the changes made for the big screen. It's subtle storytelling wrapped in amazing wardrobe! (Side story: My mom saw this in the theater as a kid and was really worried about that cat at the end. She didn't care whether or not they got together.)
15. Bridget Jones' Diary - It's just fun. I don't care whether or not Renee Zellweger put on a few pounds - it's irrelevant. The key was making her an absolute mess of a person, which she pulled off perfectly. And when that mess of a person finds Mr. Darcy? Zing!
16. The Wedding Singer - I don't think this movie gets enough credit, because it's easy to cast off as "an Adam Sandler movie." Not so! It's really well-written and includes, quite possibly, the sweetest love song I've ever heard.
17. Defending Your Life - Meryl Streep and Albert Brooks end up in "Judgement City" after their deaths and will be sent to "the next level" or back to Earth based on how well they lived their last life. A really charming story told in an unexpected way.
18. Something's Gotta Give - I love this movie because deep inside, I'm already an old person. And I love Diane Keaton. Mostly, because I'm an old person, and I still find Jack Nicholson attractive.
19. Bell, Book, and Candle - A lesser known film starring Kim Novak and Jimmy Stewart, Novak plays a witch trying to woo Stewart without using her powers. It's a more romantic, funny version of Bewitched.
20. The Princess Bride - Did you think I wasn't gonna love this movie? I'm in my late twenties, I'm a female. Nuff said.