Love Them… Love Them Not: Six Romantic Movies for Valentine’s Day

We are now in February, which means it is still cold, the snow is brown, and the semester is getting stressful.  February, in my opinion, would be the worst month if it weren’t for my birthday and Valentine’s Day. Whether you are going out with your boyfriend, fiancé, husband or staying at home cuddled up with your pets and a blanket, one thing you can look forward to is watching romantic movies.

I know that many girls love the beloved Nicholas Sparks movies, which in my opinion are all good. Below, I have compiled a list of my favorite romantic movies. Some may not be as popular as “The Notebook,” but they are all really great movies.

“Love Actually”

“Love Actually” intertwines many different love stories during Christmas time. The characters are all mostly from Britain, ranging from 12 to 50 years old.These different love plots exemplify the true difficulties people have to deal with when they are in love.  Whether it is a death of a loved one, a couple struggling because of a love affair or being in love with your best friend’s new wife, “Love Actually” explores it all to allow viewers to see a more realistic kind of love instead of a typical movie love.

I know that there are moments in this movie that leave the viewer in a complete loss of hope, but strangely, that is why I enjoy the movie.  “Love Actually” is not the typical Christmas romance movie.  When Christmas and love come around, it is hard for those in relationships to realize that everyone falls in love at different times. It may not always be when a person thought it would happen.

Some people have their hearts broken. Some people have to deal with a recent death. Some people realize that their significant other has been disloyal.  That is what “Love Actually” is about.  If you are sick of the typical movie where a boy meets girl, and they fall in love and live happily ever, “Love Actually” is the right movie for you.

 

“Save the Last Dance”

“Save the Last Dance”  illustrates the hardships an inter-racial couple goes through in the early 2000s. Sarah’s mother has just died in a car accident, and she has to live with her father in an unfamiliar, rougher neighborhood that challenges who she is.  At her new school, Derek, an African-American, becomes infatuated with her, the pretty brown eyed girl. Sarah’s dream is to go to Juilliard for dance, and Derek helps her with her audition choreography. Yet, students at school look down on Sarah and Derek’s relationship because they see Sarah as someone who is using him to get into Juilliard.  I will not tell you the end of this movie, but it is a must-see, and the romance is very tasteful.

On a personal note, this movie hits home for me because of the struggling ballerina who wants to take it up again after years of not dancing. I feel I identify with Sarah in this way because dance was not a part of my life for a long time until I started at Mount Mary.  This movie taught me that I can always be a dancer, even if I do not dance professionally.  

Not only do I love the dance aspect of the movie, but I appreciate and admire Derek and Sarah’s attitudes when people openly question their relationship. “Save the Last Dance” is inspiring and one of the most romantic movies I have seen because Derek and Sarah still see each other and act as a couple despite living in a racially divided city.  They know it is difficult, but they do it anyway because their love is the only thing that matters. If you want to watch a complicated but rewarding love story, this would be the one for you.

“The Fighter”

Out of all of the movies I am recommending, “The Fighter” has the best mix of romance and sport. Based on a true story, Mickey and Dicky Ward are brothers who loved to fight and box.  Dicky was close to a title in professional boxing, but failed at being the heavyweight champion. After his loss, he turned to a life of drugs, and he leaves his younger brother Mickey to take care of his mother, father and sisters whose lives consist of smoking crack. Upon trying to figure out how to change his life, Mickey meets Charlene at a bar, but his family disapproves of her. Watch the movie to find out if the feud between Charlene and Mickey’s family ever resolves.

I consider this one of the most romantic movies ever because it is not, in any way, stereotypical. Both Mickey and Charlene come from lower socioeconomic statuses and barely have anything, but they work together to give themselves a better life. Charlene continues to support Mickey with his training, and in return, Mickey truly respects Charlene, even when his whole family is rude to her.  To me, there is no kind of love better than their deep, emotional and physical love.  

This is a great movie to watch with a sports-loving significant other. Not only is the movie centered on the boxing, but also, the characters do not show that sappy Nicholas Sparks kind of love that can eventually lead to a headache and throwing popcorn at the television. It is an emotional, suspenseful, exciting drama mixed with the hot, dangerous chemistry between Mickey and Charlene. It is definitely worth watching multiple times.

 

“The Princess Bride”

The first time I watched “The Princess Bride” I thought that it was one of the biggest chick flicks I had ever seen. In high school, I remember trying to figure out a movie to watch with my friends. When the girls thought that we could not watch “The Princess Bride,” the guys expressed that they loved that movie as much as we did.  

Here is the premise of the movie. Princess Buttercup falls in love with a farm boy named Westley.  They begin dating, but one day, three men kidnap Buttercup and take her away.  Westley, dressed as a ninja, goes to find her.  When he finally finds her, Princess Buttercup is betrothed to another man who plans to kill her on their wedding night.  I know, complicated, right?

I love this movie because of the emotional chemistry between Buttercup and Westley. They both take on new adventures and risk their own lives in order to keep each other safe. I enjoy that Buttercup is no ordinary princess. She is not waiting for her Westley while she is trapped in a tower. Instead she makes her way through swampy forests and fights a hideous, vicious animal to save her love. There are not many romantic stories like it where the woman has a heroic and adventurous role, and the characters come to each other’s rescue and are a team, instead of the typical “prince saves the maiden from the tower.”  “The Princess Bride” is full of action, suspense and fighting, but most of all, it is filled with instances of true love.  This is a must watch if you are looking for a little of everything.  I highly recommend it.

 

“Shakespeare in Love”

If you are a Shakespeare fan but have trouble understanding his language, then “Shakespeare in Love” may be the perfect movie for you. Shakespeare is a writer who is missing one important aspect in his life: love. Viola is a struggling actress who is trying to find her voice in Elizabethan times. She hears of Shakespeare’s plays and  dresses up as a man to audition for “Romeo and Juliet.”  She earns the part of Romeo and dresses as a man every day to keep her secret. Shakespeare meets Viola at a party and falls instantly in love but has no idea that she is the actor playing Romeo. Soon after, Shakespeare catches on and realizes that Viola has been dressing as a man to be in the play.  I do not want to spoil the end for you, so you have to watch it to find out what happens.

The first reason why I find this to be one of the most romantic movies of all time is that Viola and Shakespeare have this special connection and attraction right away, even though Viola is dressed as a man. The comedic elements in the movie are perfectly timed out as Shakespeare starts to wonder why he is so attracted to a “man.”  He does not know that this “man” is Viola.  After Shakespeare figures out that Romeo in his play is being played by a woman, he does not turn her into the queen because he wants to see Viola and be with her. You would think that he would be furious because his career would be in jeopardy, but instead, he loves the idea of being close to her, even when she has messed up his play. Of course, there is a steamy romantic scene, but it is handled very tastefully and intimately. The love they share together is passionate and sweet, which is something I am pretty sure most women are looking for.

 

“Step Up”

Well, I saved what I think is the best for last.  “Step Up” has been my all-time favorite movie since I was 10 years old. Tyler Gage, a high school student in the inner city, break in and trashes a high school theater with his two friends.  Only Tyler gets caught and has to do community service at the school. There he has an immediate attraction to Nora, a senior at the school. After her dance partner gets hurt and cannot rehearse with her for their very important senior showcase, Tyler steps up and rehearses with her.  I do not want to spoil the end of the movie, but hopefully, you will see how their love plays out in both exciting and difficult times.  

I am going to get this out.  My favorite part of this whole movie is the chemistry between Tyler and Nora, who are played by Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan-Tatum.   The two actors fell in love while filming the movie and ended up marrying in real life.  Their chemistry off-screen I am sure enhanced the chemistry on screen, which to me, makes their on-screen relationship more realistic. I also love this movie because of the dance chemistry the two convey. Whether it is their scene in the club, their scene dancing on the roof at sunset or their very last dance, the viewer can see how dance can bring two unlikely people together. The story of their getting together has some disappointments and surprises, but I was happy and excited by the end result.  If you love dance and romance, this movie is for you. 

Student Opinions

After I chose my favorite movies, I decided to spread the love and ask other students what their favorite romantic movies are.  Below are their responses. 

Stephanie Osei, freshman majoring in interior design: “My favorite love movie is “High Strung.”  I just really like the movie. I like the type of dances, the music, the cute love story that happened … It’s different.  It was absolutely breathtaking.  They [Ruby and Johnnie] combined their talents together and won the competition, and he says, ‘Thank you for believing in me.’”

Tiffany Panasewicz, sophomore majoring in social work: “Mostly, I just watch action and comedy movies. The definition of them are action or comedy, but the thing that really draws me is the romantic relationship in the movie because that’s the strongest aspect of it to me. I love “Fast and Furious” because of the romance story… He thinks she’s dead, and you see them struggling with his anger. He doesn’t know how to control it without her.  It’s that old fashioned street love.”

Sarah Anklam, junior majoring in psychology and minor in fine art: “My favorite romantic movie is “The Princess Bride.”  I grew up watching it.  Princess Buttercup realizes at the end that she was being a brat.  I think her transformation is a big part of it.  She is really rude to this man at first, and then she realizes that he really cares about her.  After I first saw it, I was really engrossed.  There is so much drama in it.  Everything is really developed.

Adrianna Nester, freshman majoring in justice: “My favorite romantic movie is “Beastly” because it reminds me of “Beauty and the Beast,” and that’s one of my favorite Disney movies.”

Alessa Nelson, freshman majoring in occupational therapy: “My favorite romantic movie is “Stardust” because there is this scene in the movie where the lead girl talks about what she believes love is and how she had that feeling overcome her.”

 

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