Romance movies are not always that romantic. That bit in The Notebook when he threatens to commit suicide if she doesn't agree to go out with him is more emotional blackmail than anything else. But there are other movies, not your obvious choices (okay, some are obvious) that have some of the most romantic scenes I’ve ever seen (haha for homophones).
My top ten most romantic scenes:
2) The Empire Strikes Back
How can I ever forget Han and Leia? In this film the bantering is set to fever pitch (thank you Lawrence Kasdan, no-one does it better, thinking of Body Heat and the scene on the pier). It looks like these two will never give in, and then they’re taken prisoner, Han is bound, seconds away from being frozen into carbonite, she looks at him, he looks at her, bantering gone, this is it, they kiss. Finally. “I love you,” she says. “I know,” he responds. Best. Scene. Ever.
3) Waiting to Exhale
Wesley Snipes (where’s he these days?) and the magnificent Angela Bassett meet at a bar. She’s pissed as a hell with her cheating, lying ex-husband, he’s exhausted from caring for his terminal wife. They trade stories, there’s chemistry. Obviously, they’ll end up in bed together. They do. Spooning fully clothed. Something about the Snipes’s vulnerability as he asks to hold her all night long. Beautiful.
4) The Notebook
Apart from that horribly not-cool start, there is a lovely bit when the older Noah looks at his Alzheimer-ridden wife Allie, and declares “she is my home.” All of the feels, all of the time.
5) The Piano
Ah, where to start, though I’m noticing a pattern here, that merely being seen and accepted goes a long way in terms of my idea of romance. And how Baines sees the mute Ada. That scene when he’s taken her and her daughter to the beach so that she can play. He’s spellbound. It sets in motion the rest of the movie. So much of his love for her changes her outlook, that she chooses life (what a surprise, as she says later), and begins to speak again. The small things as well - the exchange of land, the creation of a new finger. The fact that he realises that he’s no better than her arranged husband, and asks for her to love him as is. There. That. Vulnerable. Wild. Beautiful.
I know, you’re thinking, there was no romance scene in this film. Yes, yes there was. Tommy Lee Jones’s character is a fervent abolitionist, a Radical Republican fighting for emancipation of slaves. He’s bold, impassioned, a man committed. Then in one scene way later in the film when he’s found success, we find out why. He comes home late, dons his nightgown and slides into bed alongside his coloured partner, and takes her hand. They’ve clearly been in love, together, forever. What he wouldn't do.
7) Practical Magic
So sue me if both the movie and the book are on my fave lists. In this scene, Sally (I remember her name) and Gary give in to their mutual attraction for a whole two seconds before she tears off again. To her, he’s just a spell. But to him, it’s the real deal. As he says, “I wished for you too.” Oh, the thought that the love you’ve been looking for, is actually looking for you too. Not playing poker on the other end of the world with a tortoise who keeps halting the game for extended bathroom breaks or something.
8) The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
Hear me out. Miss Mona, amply played by Dolly Parton has lost her business, a thriving whorehouse in Texas (as the name suggests), and she’s in love with the sheriff, a grinning Burt Reynolds. He asks her to marry him. But damn she’s a madam, he's a law enforcer who has big dreams of running for senate. Ain’t gonna happen. Then she sings I’ll always love you. And she says this little speech which is just so gorgeous, about how his dreams are more important. Well, he ain’t having that, he don't give a damn, and he carries her off into the sunset.
The movie that introduced me to the ‘cone of shame’. First up is the montage of grumpy old fart and his recently deceased wife. I didn't know that all of three animated minutes could have me in a tear puddle. Just a regular couple having a regular life. But then, when he realises in her ‘adventure book’, that she considered her life with him, her ‘adventures’, the puddle turned into a small dam.
Kind of an obscure movie. But I so love this scene. Isabella Rossini’s husband is having an affair with Ted Danson’s wife. Therefore, they become kind of shoulders-to-cry-on friends. They catch feelings. She’s standing on the train platform waiting for her train to come in, he appears on the opposite platform. A train rushes past. She dashes off to meet him at the platform, only when she gets there, he’s not there. As her face drops, he reappears, at the platform she was originally standing on. “Don’t move’, he yells. The expression of sheer joy, delight, wonder on her face.
There are some other noteworthy additions: True Romance (you’re so cool, you’re so cool, you’re so cool), Love Actually’s Colin Firth learning Portuguese to woo his lady love, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel when the ageing womaniser admits he’s lonely to the lady at the bar, The Reader when he sends her tapes of his readings.
What are your favourites?