Friday, February 24, 2012

Love Notes: Date Night Movies

{small ways to show great love}

With cold weather finally on its way out, I, for one, am craving a nice long outdoor date.  Bike rides and picnics and hiking?  Yes please.  Realistically speaking, though, I'm pretty sure it'll be at least another month before all that's possible.  Meanwhile, a good old-fashioned movie night is a pretty nice alternative.

If you're like me, you have a hard time finding a romantic flick that satisfies, let alone one you can convince a male to watch with you.  I usually feel frustrated that I don't react the way I'm supposed to (i.e. giggling, sighing, and wishing it was my own life) to most love stories on film.  To me, a movie couple who doesn't share a good conversation or their share of difficulties together before falling into bed or having everything wrap up neatly just doesn't light my fire.  Moral issues notwithstanding, I guess it's a lack of character development that makes me fail to care about the people I'm watching onscreen.  I think the best love stories are ones where you can sense someone's failures, their desires for more, and their willingness to really put things on the line for another person.  I guess sacrifice is romantic.  Virtue.  Conversation.  You know, all the things we look for in real life.  Anyway, here are a few of my faves.  Grab yourselves a copy, take a break from wedding planning, and feel the love.

Authentic love, movie love stories, Catholic wedding planning, Slumdog Millionaire
 Slumdog Millionaire: If you missed this in theaters a few years ago, run and watch it now.  This is my absolute favorite love story in the movies.  Follow Jamal, an earnest teenager who grew up in poverty and somehow lands a spot on the game show Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?  The movie spans from his agonizing childhood to his years as a young adult in search of his longtime sweetheart.  Somehow, through years of witnessing cruelty and manipulation, Jamal's innocence is preserved, and that's the kind of fortitude this movie is about.  It's about a love with high stakes: the two people involved suffer horribly for each other, but they never lose hope.  These two show that there's redemption in suffering and that love isn't about perfection, but about finding beauty in another imperfect person's scars.  Oh man.  Good stuff.

Benny and Joon, Authentic Love, Movie love stories, Catholic wedding planning
Benny and Joon: C.S. Lewis said, "To love at all is to be vulnerable.  Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken.  If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one...but in that casket, safe dark, motionless, airless, it will change.  It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable."  This sweet but unsentimental movie is all about opening your heart and letting love cast out fear.  Watching a mentally off woman grow in affection for an eccentric guy who does the kind of physical comedy you see in old movies, you get the sense that they both live in different realities than the rest of us.  They're forced to face what's real as they fall in love- who couldn't use a reminder that love takes courage and vulnerability?  Even as Sam and Joon wrestle with their personal struggles and are faced with choices that will affect each other, they have an amazing childlike, but not naive, faith in each other that is amazing to behold.  Speaking of reality...

Authentic love, movie love stories, Dan in Real Life, Catholic wedding planning, real romance
Dan in Real Life: Real life is complicated.  Loss, family, healing...this story of a widower who meets the woman of his dreams amidst a huge complication covers all the hard stuff while somehow still leaving you completely happy.  The couple in this movie, Dan and Marie, begin falling for each other during a long chat over coffee (I told you I like conversation in movies) before discovering there's a big obstacle to the possibility of being together.  They try and mostly succeed at being virtuous in an impossible situation, which is remarkably admirable.  All of the characters' virtues are ultimately rewarded, but in surprising ways. Don't you think that's so rare onscreen?  Also, it's hilarious.  I mean, look at Steve Carell dancing in this picture.

Authentic love, Lloyd Dobler, Say Anything, Lloyd and Diane, movie love stories, real romance, Catholic wedding planning
Say Anything: We've all seen some reference to or parody of a guy hoisting a boom box over his head. That's THIS movie!  If the boom box is now a cliche, I promise you nothing else about this movie is.  Lloyd Dobler, our leading man, is a total original.  He's a kickboxing, completely endearing high school grad who's had his eye on Diane, the class valedictorian, for months.  The thing is, these superficial differences hardly factor in as they get to know each other.  And you actually get to watch them get to know each other!  They go to a party, drive stick shift, show some old people a movie...we get to see them fall in love and root for them, which is so, so rare and awesome.  What's more, this movie is incredibly honest about life- sex has consequences, telling the truth has consequences, and Diane's relationship with her dad is loyal but complicated.  Everything's so real.  Lloyd says he's looking for "a dare-to-be-great situation."  I dare you not to love him.

What are your favorite movie romances?

Next up: Death brings us alive again.  For real.

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