It’s Valentine’s Day, and consumerism love is in the air. Because we’ve already paid tribute to movie romances that were awful and disturbing, it only makes sense that today we acknowledge some romances that might actually be worth emulating. Let’s abandon our cynicism and prepare to be swept off our feet.
Sophie Fisher and Alex Fletcher Hugh Grant, “Music and Lyrics”
A modern romantic comedy full of ‘80s-style pop songs sung by Hugh Grant. Oh, the cheese. It’s so glorious, and still so sweet. Hugh Grant plays Hugh Grant, a washed-up ‘80s pop star who’s trying to write a hit song for tarted-up teen pop star, but has trouble writing the lyrics until he discovers that the woman who waters his plants (the adorable Drew Barrymore) has a hidden penchant for songwriting.
Clichéd, we know, but the reason it works is that they seem like such good friends and great co-workers before they get together. No contrived screaming matches, no dumb misunderstandings, just cute, funny interactions between very nice people. They wrote and recorded an incredibly catchy and sweet love song together, for God’s sake. And isn’t that what rom-com love is supposed to be about?
Céline and Jesse, “Before Sunrise”
Probably the most realistic couple on this list, these two lovebirds meet by pure chance while on a train from Budapest. Jesse, wanting both of them to experience spontaneity and passion for once, suggests that they tour Vienna before he has to leave in the morning.
Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy are just fabulous together, creating chemistry that makes them seem like a real-life couple, and the script doesn’t force them through any of the usual movie romance plot points. It simply allows them to be themselves: pleasant, normal people. And yes, you will be bawling and throwing tissues at the screen at the end, screaming “Don’t leave! She loves you!” But that’s the only way it could have ended within the boundaries the movie set, which makes it all the sweeter.
Buttercup and Westley, “The Princess Bride”
Yeah, yeah, it’s a parody of that “true love” crap, we get it. They’re still adorable. At first, Buttercup’s only interactions with Westley consist of requests for chores to be done around the farm she owns, which he always complies with, saying “As you wish,” each time. Buttercup soon comes to know that “As you wish” really means “I love you.” Awww.
What really sells this one in spite of the cheese and satire is how damn devoted they are to each other. They make sacrifices, they remain true and they have an everlasting faith in their love that even the movies they’re spoofing can’t match. Not to mention how dead sexy Cary Elwes and Robin Wright Penn are together. That kiss in the ravine – dayum. Take note, Nicholas Sparks: that’s what it should look like.
Kim and Edward, “Edward Scissorhands”
Oh God, somebody pass the tissues. We can’t. Too many feels. There’s just something about these two, an average teenage girl (Winona Ryder) growing up in a Technicolor suburb and a mysterious boy with metal shears for hands (Johnny Depp, of course), that pretty much anyone who’s been in a difficult relationship can identify with.
She’s drawn to his innocence and appreciation for beauty (particularly his excellent ice-sculpting skills), and he’s drawn to her… not being a complete asswipe to him, but his deformity makes impossible to be intimate. They’re so right for each other and so precious (that ice dance scene will warm your heart no matter what), yet doomed to fail. But that’s why we root for them, really. We don’t want it to end.
Phil Connors and Rita, “Groundhog Day”
Given this movie’s premise, this could have easily made its way onto the “creepy” list, but the film cleverly avoids the numerous pitfalls that could have made that happen. Phil (Bill Murray) finds himself reliving the same miserable day again and again, so he decides to make the most of it and try to get with his attractive producer, Rita, (Andie MacDowell) by exploiting the time loop to learn her interests, but gets rejected again and again.
That’s when the movie’s wonderful message about love blossoms: True love only comes along when it’s completely organic. It’s only when Phil stops trying to just put the moves on Rita that their relationship really works, which works perfectly as a subtle critique as the artificiality of most movie romances. And it’s darn cute, too.
What’s your favorite movie couple? Let us know if you agree with our picks in the comments, or tweet us @SpeakeasyMag!