Friday, 14 February 2014

List #12 | Most Romantic Moments in Film



Firstly, I'd just like to say that I do not condone Valentine's Day in the slightest. I don't see the point in this holiday and rarely even acknowledge it.

That said, I'm not above using it for my own benefit, and so have decided to use it to address the 12th list from my Listography series, asking for the most romantic film scenes. While I don't enjoy today's commercial blah-fest I do enjoy soppy romances every now and then, so here are 10 of my favourite romantic moments from some of my favourite romance films.

"We are friends aren't we?"

When picking the scenes I wanted to use in this list it was quite a challenge to not just go for the closing scene of almost every one of my favourite romances, as that is usually where the most emotional and romantic bits are. The final scene of Breakfast at Tiffany's is certainly romantic and is now also pretty iconic, but it's not my favourite romantic scene from the film. My choice comes from much, much earlier in the film, not long after Paul and Holly have first met. In order to get away from a rather rowdy man that she has been entertaining, Holly climbs up her fire escape and into the apartment of her startled new neighbour Paul. This is the scene in which the two really get to know more about each other, and Paul realises there is so much more to Holly than the beauty that obviously sparked his initial interest in her. This is also a rare scene in which Holly comes across as a little more vulnerable as she isn't putting on so much of a show and talks to Paul about more personal aspects of her life. The scene ends with Holly joining Paul in bed, not in an explicitly romantic way, but more as an indication of how comfortable she feels around him and as an expression of her fondness for him. It all goes a bit wrong later when Paul wakes Holly after a nightmare, but this scene clearly establishes the strong connection between the pair, the chemistry between Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard helping tremendously. The scene isn't online in good quality or as a whole, but you can find recordings of it in two parts here and here.

"I've wanted to kiss you since 8th grade"

We all know that I love Easy A right? I do make it pretty obvious. I was going to use the final scene from the film, where Todd holds his iPod speakers up to Olive's window and the pair ride off on a lawnmower with their fists in the air, but I wanted to use a scene that was more unique to Easy A and not a homage to other films. Instead I've chosen the scene in which he drives Olive home after she has had to fight off the persistent advances of Anson. Todd comforts Olive, reveals that he doesn't believe any of the rumours about her that have been spreading around their school and tells her that he likes her. This scene shows Olive that there are decent people that actually want to be in her life and convinces her to end the 'slut' act that she has been putting on for good. This is a scene that could have come across as very clich├ęd, but thanks the the great writing and two very sincere performances from Emma Stone and Penn Badgley it is a sweet moment and one which secures Todd's place as one of the most ideal and supportive movie boyfriends.

"It is true for you isn't it?"

Brief Encounter is one of my all time favourite movies, and one of the greatest love stories put to film. It is a story of a romance that is completely forbidden and one which could never truly be acted upon due to the social constraints of the time. Laura and Alec's romance, which comes about after two innocent, chance encounters, is portrayed as a tragic, problematic affair that causes a great deal of turmoil for them both. They spend much of the film struggling with the conflict of not being able to embrace their true feelings, which means that there are very few truly romantic scenes in which they are able to express themselves to one another. I've chosen a scene in which the pair take a trip to the countryside and in an intimate, private moment are afforded the chance to acknowledge the romance that has blossomed between them. The scene still maintains the bleak tone as Laura addresses her unhappiness with their situation, but for the briefest of moments they are able to talk openly about how they feel and act upon those feelings. Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard are remarkable in their roles and bring so much emotional power to every scene, but this one especially.

"You're so beautiful"

Shelter is a small-scale gay romance film that I happened upon a few years ago and have re-watched more times than I can remember. The film follows Zach, an aspiring artist who has recently broken up with his girlfriend. When Shaun, his best friend's brother, returns home for a while the pair begin to spend more and more time together and enjoying each others company until a drunken kiss changes the dynamic between the pair and forces Zach to address his feelings for Shaun. I fell in love with this film and am oblivious to any of it's faults, because of this the relationship between Zach and Shaun is one my favourite film relationships and the chemistry between Trevor Wright and Brad Rowe is a huge factor in that. My favourite scene is actually a montage from a point in which the numerous aspects of Zach's life all seem to be falling into place. Featured in the montage is a scene in which Zach and Shaun are lying in bed and just staring at each other, kissing etc.., and it is this scene that concludes the montage, with Shaun addressing the future of their relationship. It's a beautifully shot scene and captures an incredibly intimate moment between the pair, and I love it. It also features one of the songs that Shane Mack contributed to the films soundtrack, all of which are wonderful.

"I wanted it to be you..."

Ahh, Meg Ryan. The woman is my undisputed Queen of the romantic-comedy, starring in three of my favourite films from the genre. You've Got Mail is a charming, fairly dated rom-com which sees small shop owner Kathleen Kelly and superstore manager Joe Fox develop a strong conflict in their work lives, and an even stronger romantic connection anonymously online. When Joe discovers that it is Kathleen that he has been messaging he decides to try and improve their real-life relationship before revealing himself as her online suitor. He does a remarkable job and Kathleen begins to develop feelings for him, feelings that come flooding to the surface when Joe finally makes the revelation in the films closing scene. Ryan's performance is so natural and touching as Kathleen experiences confusion, joy, more confusion and then breaks down. revealing how much she had hoped it was Joe she was going to meet. This scene is perfect; the gorgeous park setting, the chemistry between Ryan and Tom Hanks, and with a beautiful cover of 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' playing over the whole thing.

"Hi"

Olive said it best in Easy A when she recalls the many ways in which her life would be better if it had been directed by John Hughes in the 80's. One of the scenes that she acknowledges in her monologue is the final scene from Sixteen Candles, in which Molly Ringwald as Samantha leaves her sister's wedding to find the boy she has been in love with for the whole film stood outside the church waiting for her. The scene works so well because it isn't some grand proclamation of a destined love, it is an awkward exchange between two people who don't know each other that well, but who both have strong feelings for one another. The dialogue is clumsy and natural, and it all feels very true to the characters ages. It is a somewhat cheesy happy ending, but it doesn't feel forced or unrealistic and it is definitely much needed after Samantha's experiences throughout the film. Who doesn't want to walk out of a church to find Jake Ryan stood, waiting to drive them off and give them a cake? I'd take up religion in a heartbeat if that was guaranteed for me.

"Follow the blue arrows"

I've chosen a scene from Amelie that isn't necessarily very romantic, but rather signals the beginnings of a great movie relationship. In order to return a photo album//scrapbook to potential love interest Nino, Audrey Tautou's quirky protagonist sets up an elaborate chain of events that has the guy running all over the beautiful Sacre Coeur scenery just to see her putting the album with his moped at the place he started. The scene is just one of many examples of Amelie's desire to create adventure within her life and it begins Nino's journey to find her. While this scene is more exciting and adventurous than being particularly romantic it acts as a great early encounter for the pair. The relationship between these two characters is so much fun and this is important for being one of the scenes that starts it all off. The way in which Nino races to catch up with Amelie before she gets away shows a definite interest on his part, but she remains one step ahead and continues her plans to make their first proper meeting something truly fantastic.

"You make it impossible for me to hate you!"

Meg Ryan again. When Harry Met Sally is undoubtedly one of the most successful, well loved romantic-comedies and features some of the most memorable scenes from the genre as well. The on-off obstacle filled friendship//romance between the titular pair is so engaging and enjoyable that it is impossible not to get smacked hard by the emotional punch of the films conclusion. The New Years Eve scene, in which Harry races to find Sally at a party and profess his love for her, is a perfectly written scene and one of many that make this film so memorable. The dynamic between the pair is great, with Harry finally being honest with himself and her, humorously detailing all of the quirks Sally has that he loves, and Sally struggling with her conflicting feelings over him. Meg Ryan is once again great and Billy Crystal is just as good, delivering an earnest performance. The relationship between these two characters is great fun to follow and this scene results in such a great payoff as the pair finally get to enjoy a happy ending. That they then get their own couples segment to close the film makes the ending all the more perfect as we get to see that this time their relationship is actually going to last.

"You're just too good to be true"

When I was putting this list together I really thought that Romeo + Juliet would get a spot as it is my favourite play by Shakespeare and a favourite film of mine too, but once I remembered 10 Things I Hate About You the star cross'd lovers got booted and this one managed to steal the Shakespeare-spot on the list. This modern day retelling of The Taming of the Shrew features two scenes that I wanted to include. The first option was Kat's emotional reading of a poem that expresses her feeling's for Patrick, which is beautifully acted by Julia Stiles. But instead I went for a more fun scene in which Heath Ledger's Patrick hijacks a microphone and, with the help of the marching band, serenades Kat on their school's sports field. This is the scene that made many people love Ledger as he lays on the charm and shows off his surprisingly good singing voice. His goofy dancing is great fun, as are his attempts to evade the school police, but the scene also acts as Patrick's chance to get Kat's attention and show her that he is willing to risk major embarrassment in order to prove he really likes her. It's a wonderful scene from a really wonderful film.

"I'll play a song and you dance, okay?"

2010's Blue Valentine is a remarkable film, but also an incredibly depressing one that has the potential power to suck the optimism right out of a hopeless romantic. The film charts the problematic  relationship of Cindy (Michelle Williams) and Dean (Ryan Gosling), cross-cutting between various time periods over the course of their relationship. The film deals with some heavy themes that leave a profoundly pessimistic aftertaste, but in amongst the bleak story are a series of moments that show a happier time in the pair's relationship. My favourite scene from the film, one of the most popular ones, is from the beginning of their relationship and has Dean play a song on his ukelele while Cindy dances for him. The scene is lovely and captures a positive memory from a time when they were first connecting and enjoying each others company. I'm going to use the word chemistry yet again, as Gosling and Williams have it by the bucket-load and clearly thrive on putting it to use in a happier scenario. It's an incredibly charming scene that I love to watch. It was clearly considered effective as it plays for a second time during the credits of the film.


Like all of the other lists in this series I've limited myself to just ten entries to start with so that these lists can grow as I watch more and more films, so don't be surprised if a scene you would have chosen wasn't mentioned, there will be more to come soon.
Do you agree or disagree with my choices? Be sure to let me know some of your favourites too!

You can find my list of Favourite Animated Films here, my Guilty Pleasures list here, my Best Movie Posters list here, and my choices for best movie villains here.


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