Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentine's Day Movie Guide

Valentine's Day seems like a divisive holiday.  Some people go all out for it, and for other people it just reminds them of how lonely they are, or how much they hate watching Nicholas Sparks movies with their significant other.  Personally, I'm pretty indifferent towards the day, but it doesn't stop me from participating in it.  I like to celebrate with a nice bottle of red wine, some chocolate, and a fun, romantic movie.  Below are some film suggestions for celebrating Valentine's Day, whether you love or hate it:

If you are in love with someone you can't haveBrief Encounter.  This short but sweet 1945 British melodrama centers on the forbidden romance between housewife Laura (Celia Johnson) and doctor Alec (Trevor Howard) who meet a train station cafe.  Both are married and have children, but they soon get sweep up in an intense emotional affair.  Brief Encounter definitely shows the hardship of loving someone you can't be with.

Also recommended: Lets be honest, forbidden love is way more romantic than boring old requited love, so you have lots of good options here:  In the Mood for Love, Roman Holiday, Brokeback Mountain, The Royal Tenenbaums, and so on. 

If your significant other is a film snob:  The Before Trilogy:  Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight.  This super talky series follows American Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and French Celine (Julie Delpy), who fall in love after meeting on a train to Vienna.  The films manage to be both funny and heartfelt, plus there's lots of great European scenery (Vienna, Paris, Greece).  My favorite of the bunch is the second one, Before Sunset. 

If your significant other loves The Notebook, but you CAN'T GO THROUGH THAT AGAIN THIS YEAR!:  Awww...congratulations, you've got yourself a hopeless romantic!  Titanic would probably work, but really, do you want to have to watch that?  Instead, I recommend ruining The Notebook for them by choosing one of Gosling's less appealing roles.  Perhaps, Only God Forgives or Blue Valentine (balding Gosling with a mustache, ouch). 

If you just recently broke up with someoneAnnie Hall. This classic Woody Allen movie follows the sweet, but mismatched relationship between Alvy Singer (Allen) and Annie Hall (Diane Keaton). 

Also recommendedHigh Fidelity, 500 Days of Summer.

If you are happily single: Bridget Jones Diary.  Seriously is there any harder decision than choosing between Colin Firth and Hugh Grant?  This movie is a super cute update on Pride and Prejudice.  And if you're single, pat yourself on the back, because you don't have to listen to your boyfriend whine throughout the entire movie!

Also recommended13 Going on 30.

If your girlfriend is a librarian:Nothing says romance to a librarian like a little Jane Austen, so I highly recommend the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice.  But pretty much any Austen will do.  My favorite is the Ang Lee classic Sense and Sensibility.  

If you are in an on-again, off-again relationship: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.  Joel Barish (Jim Carey) is heartbroken when his ex-girlfriend Clementine undergoes a procedure to erase their relationship from her memory.  Bitter, he decides to have him memories of her erased as well.  However, during the process of having his mind wiped, Joel realizes that he is still in love with Clementine and fights to keep her in his memories.

If you are unhappily in a relationship: Sleep Walk With Me.  On top of dealing with a struggling comedy career and a recently diagnosed sleepwalking disorder, Mike Pandamiglo (Mike Birbiglia) begins to have some doubts about his long-time girlfriend Abby (Lauren Ambrose).

If you're in a long distance relationship: Like Crazy.  Anna (Felcity Jones) is a British student who attended college in the United States.  While there, she fell for her T.A. Jacob (Anton Yelchin).  After graduation, Anna decides to spend the summer with Jacob, overstaying her visa.  After she returns home to England for a family engagement, Anna is shocked when she is denied reentry to the United States and deported to England.  The two lovers then try to keep their relationship together in spite of being an ocean apart. 

If you want wallow in misery, because you'll never find anyone ever:  Probably the best bet here is to play the Smiths on repeat and wash down your sorrows with some whiskey.  However, if you don't quite want to be THAT miserable on Valentine's Day, I recommend checking out a Michelango Antonioni film and watch really, really good looking people (or Jack Nicholson) suffer from loneliness and alienation in beautiful locales.  Check out his alienation trilogy: L'Avventura, L'Eclisse, and La Notte.

Also recommended:  Anything by Ingmar Bergman or any film adaptations of Kazuo Ishiguro novels.

If you're in love with a friend, but you don't know how to tell themTootsie.  Talk about awkward situations, Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) is in love with his beautiful coworker Julie Nichols (Jessica Lange).  However, she only knows him as his female alter-ego Dorothy Michaels.   This movie is probably my all time favorite romantic comedy and features my ultra crush, young Bill Murray, as Dustin Hoffman's roommate.

Also RecommendedMy Best Friend's Wedding, Pretty in Pink.

You are falling fast for someoneWeekend.  Russell (Tom Cullen) and Glen (Chris New), meet at club in Nottingham.  The two go home together and begin an intense relationship.  However, Glen is soon to be leaving the country for an art course in America.

Also recommended: Once, Lost in Translation, Out of Sight.