Love is so ubiquitous that it seems to seep its way into most film genres, even for titles where romance is not a central storyline. It can be a crime caper, a midlife-crisis drama or a heady courtroom thriller. Whether romance is playing second fiddle to other matters, or is the headlining plot – there are scenes to make you believe in love – no matter the genre.
1. Nothing in Common (1986)
In an early performance, Tom Hanks portrays David Basner, a twenty-something ad exec with a nearly perfect life. That is until his parents decide to separate, and he winds up as a life coach/babysitter to both. Jackie Gleason’s performance as his cantankerous father is all the bitter-sweeter, as it wound up being his last. The scene to look for amidst a hundred other great ones is with former love interest Donna Mildred Martin – played Bess Armstrong. As they sit outside in a row of seats freshly donated to her theatre, the whispers of their past echo strongly. They’ve gone in separate directions, yet are still constantly drawn back together. While this storyline wasn’t even the secondary one, it quickly displayed an evident truth… that their relationship had been the real thing, and perhaps it isn’t too late after all.
2. Ghost (1990)
Everyone remember this film’s otherworldly ending, where Demi Moore gets one last kiss from her dearly departed love, played by Patrick Swayze. Everything came together, and it all worked – pure movie magic and an instant classic. But it was a key scene much earlier that helped make that semi-happy ending come to be. The three leads are in a NYC deli as the ghost and the psychic try to convince the skeptic that she isn’t being conned. One little word convinces Demi that Whoopi Goldberg might actually be communicating with the dead. “Ditto” is all it took. In a film filled with laughs, bullets, bank fraud and, well ghosts… this moment could be the single most touching.
3. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
A modern day Pinnochio, young Edward is dispatched into a pastel suburbia after his creator suddenly dies, leaving him with only blades for fingers and social skills just as awkward. His spiked charcoal hair and pasty white skin aren’t aided by the fact that he barely mumbles the few words he does know. His salvation comes in the form of a friendly neighborhood Avon lady (Dianne Weist) who drops by the castle. Despite his monstrous appearance and utter lack of social skill, he settles in with his new family, including Winona Ryder as a breathtaking blonde. Can he steal her heart while she’s stealing his wallet? After a botched burglary leaves Edward holding the bad, his love for the girl is tested – as is her true character. When she asks why he did something so risky, he quietly replies, “Because you asked me to.” It’s a timeless gothic fairy tale, courtesy of Tim Burton of course.
4. The Notebook (2004)
Here is the classic sweeping love story, crossing decades and battlefields – this one with Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling. It left an indelible mark on a generation of young lovers. While the film is thick with scenes of conflict and separation, an early one confronts our two leads with their initial fork in the road. Do they split, and chase their predisposed destinies, or do they confound her family’s expectations and pursue happiness together? Quite naturally, it leads to an argument and a split. After Gosling and McAdams ended their real life romance, he told GQ Magazine, “I feel like I want to give people hugs, they seem so sad. Rachel and I should be the ones getting hugs! Instead, we’re consoling everybody else.”
5. Love Actually (2003)
Love in cinema may even have created a new genre -let’s call it the epic love quilt. It started with Love Actually, which borrowed from Robert Altman’s Nashville format, following several loosely-connected characters to a variety of resolutions. Written by British scribe Richard Curtis (About A Boy) it follows several couples of varying ages and backgrounds (including Hugh Grant as Prime Minister) as they meander towards Christmas. Perhaps no film in recent history has so effectively and successfully played to the heart strings. This British gem is believed to have sparked Garry Marshall’s interest – his last two films (Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve) followed the same formula.
Romance on the screen can exist in any format, genre or state of mind. Just ask Hans Solo, King Kong or even those blue things from Avatar. Even when the love story is only the subplot, movie makers know you still have to provide the real thing. Even if that storyline is on the back burner, it very much effects the entire meal. You can find many scenes that bolster your belief is love, and they don’t always come from romcoms.
Will King is a television and media critic who splits his time as a stand up comic. He collects conspiracy theories and claims to have invented Teflon. In his spare time he follows presidential politics and all traffic signs. He lives in Charlotte, NC.
Selma: Hmm… all this lovey dovey bullsh*t is kind of starting to get under my skin. Aren’t these all just cliches? Is it REAL love? It’s entertaining to watch but I recommend this DiscoveryGame for everyone to see if they are skeptical (like ME!) of love cliches or if you get enlightened by them… or something like that.
Giulia: Romantic movies are my absolute favorites. I just love a good romance – don’t you? To feel the emotional tug, wait breathlessly to see if love will conquer all, and use up a box of tissues in the process – what a bliss! I recommend this DiscoveryGame to see how much you can relate to these teachings of love!