Five films for the Valentine’s Day romantics.

Valentine’s Day: It’s a time for blatant consumerism, hiked up prices for hideous tat and enough syrupy awfulness to make even Nicholas Sparks throw down his pen and concede that enough is enough. On the other hand, the less jaded of us will concede that it can be a genuinely happy time of year. Whether you’re still in the midst of a loving, long-term relationship or if you are just in the early stages of a partnership that could lead from awkward looks to fully fledged romance, it is this day that sets the precedence. With this sense of excitement/trepidation/sweaty-palmed hysteria in mind, here are five films for the sentimental folk who still feel that this holiday holds something that the cynics may never understand.

 Annie Hall

Woody Allen’s Annie Hall is a film adored by critics but hated by nerds all around the world. Winner of the Best Picture award at the 1978 Oscars, Annie Hall beat out Star Wars to snatch the prestigious prize. Annie Hall is an incredible rom-com, though: sweet but not saccharine, witty but not caustic, and heartfelt but not prone to sentiment. Its fractured timeline set a marker for all others to follow, from (500) Days of Summer to Blue Valentine. Annie Hall set a standard that has, arguably, yet to be raised.

 Before Sunrise/Before Sunset.

Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise/Sunset are naturalistic, heavily improvised pieces of unguarded romanticism. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy play Jesse and Celine; him: a cocky American traveller recently split from his girlfriend. Her: a precocious young woman travelling to her native France. They meet on the train, and decide on a whim to get off and wander the streets of Vienna for a night. What follows is a romance in double-time. The pair must separate at sunrise; no matter how their feelings develop throughout the night they spend. It is utterly romantic, performed wonderfully by the two actors and has such a feeling of intimacy that the inevitable conclusion is devastating. The sequel, Before Sunset, was filmed nine years later and set the two characters against a Parisian backdrop with only 90 minutes to spend with one another. The film follows them for every moment they spend together: they reminisce, wonder how things might have been, and also voice the frustrations that inevitably come with growing older and none-too-wiser. Hawke and Delpy co-wrote the script, and despite the gulf in time that the characters have spent apart the chemistry remains. The films are essentially an excuse to watch these characters talk with one another for the collective running times, and while they are not for everyone, anyone with an interest in this list should check them out.

 In Search of A Midnight Kiss.

In Search of A Midnight Kiss is very much a descendant of the above films. It is low-budget, features two no-name actors and has a slight plot. What little story it does have goes like this: Wilson is forced to post an online ad by his housemate, he leaves his L.A apartment to meet Vivian: an aggressively strong-willed young woman with a foul mouth and a penchant for chain smoking. The two get off to a frosty start, but begin to bond over the course of an evening. The film is more cynical and hard-edged than the above choices, despite the obvious similarities with Sunrise and Sunset. However, once you get past the budget restraints and begin to warm to characters that initially seem stand-offish, the film finds its feet and turns into a low-key gem for those willing to submit to its charms.

Punch – Drunk Love.

Were it not for one key element, Punch-Drunk Love would have all the elements of an utter stinker. Adam Sandler plays Barry, emotionally repressed salesmen of novelty toiletries. He meets a shy young woman and they embark upon a romance. These are barely the cliff notes of what seem like a typical Sandler yuk-fest. Thankfully, though, the key ingredient is director PT Anderson. The man behind Boogie Nights, Magnolia, and There Will Be Blood crafted this romantic comedy with a hard edge, an eye for visual humour, and genuine sympathy for his characters. Sandler’s Barry is damaged but sweet, and Emily Watson makes it abundantly clear as to why Barry would break down his walls in order to speak with her. Both actors are fantastic, but Sandler deserves more credit for finding fresh material in depths he has already plumbed. Punch-Drunk Love is a bizarre film, but it’s got heart to spare and only the most jaded among us wouldn’t wish the characters the happiness they seek.

+ posts

Leave a Reply

Verified by ExactMetrics