Frankly, we could submit this entire movie for consideration as Best Movie Date, being as it is a feature-length meet cute between Céline (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke), two strangers on a train who gradually fall in love over the course of a long Vienna night. But it’s during this gorgeous little scene where the seeds of romance first start to blossom: browsing vinyl in a record shop, the pair squeeze into an intimate listening booth, and as Ruth Bloom’s Come Home warbles in the background, Céline and Jesse exchange a nervous smile here, an awkward glance there. The chemistry, made so much more powerful by what is left unsaid, fizzles like a Viennese spritzer. If only real-life dates were like this.
“Eeeeeve-aaaah.” Just when everyone’s favourite trash compactor gets the white bot to take notice of him, he gets stuck with the silent treatment. But never has a Pixar character been more chivalrous than Wall-E, putting the inanimate Eve’s safety before his own. Our favourite bit? The improvisational gondola ride through mucky waters. This series of dates may end up a little one-sided for Wall-E, but we all know it pays off in the end. Patience, as they say, is a virtue.
Woody Allen’s peerless, timeless romantic comedy features plenty of dates – of varying success – between Allen’s Alvy and Diane Keaton’s Annie. (A fanciful encounter in a cinema queue is notably great.) But this balcony scene sticks out for its perfect incisiveness. Early in their relationship, as they sip drinks on a Manhattan rooftop, Alvy waffles pseudo-intellectualism and Annie responds self-deprecatingly; on-screen subtitles convey their real thoughts (“I wonder what she would look like naked?”). The foibles and insecurities of dating, on both sides of the table, have never been presented more honestly, or more wittily.
After initially rejecting Jacob’s (Ryan Gosling) advances at a local bar, Hannah (Emma Stone) soon finds herself back at the handsome stranger’s pad. Fascinated by the man who never struggles to take a woman home, Hannah sets out to deconstruct Jacob’s winning formula, only to discover that his secret weapon is Patrick Swayze. Though Baby Goose’s tried and tested method is made to sound borderline ridiculous by Hannah, it’s the way she stands up to him that makes this the perfect date. Why? Because, although she may give in to the Dirty Dancing lift, Hannah has shown Jacob a woman who will actually require him to think.
Not many dates end in a fistfight which sees one of the combatants explode into a cloud of a thousand coins, but not many films are likeScott Pilgrim Vs. The World. What starts out as a chilled date in the park (“chilled as in cold!”, quips Michael Cera’s dorkish hero) ends with Scott battling Lucas Lee (Chris Evans) and his team of leather-jacketed stunt men. The course of true love never ran smoothly, sure, but rarely do such courses involve a fight to the death.
The entirety of John Carney’s 2007 Oscar winner is essentially one long date. The guy and girl at its heart just never admit it. Their first proper musical encounter in a Dublin music shop is where we first fall in love with the unnamed pair, and where we’re pretty sure they start to fall in love with each other, too. For us, it’s a joy to see these two musicians at work. For them, they realise they’ve just found musical solace from their rather broken lives. (Just look at Glen Hansard’s face when Markéta Irglová starts harmonising with him…)
“Why don’t you take a little time for yourself? Live dangerously. Take the whole day!” When Gregory Peck makes you an offer like that, it’s hard to refuse. And when Audrey Hepburn says, “I’d like to walk in the rain… maybe some excitement…”, it is similarly very hard to flatly ignore the chance at some excitement with an icon like Hepburn. William Wyler’s Roman romcom is a star-cross’d sort of affair between a lofty princess and a lowly journalist, but the Eternal City effortlessly engenders an eternal entanglement. Bellissimo!
We’ve all been there. Wandering around IKEA, pretending to live in the various sections. Quirky duo Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Summer (Zooey Deschanel) do just that in this movie date – though Tom is soon brought crashing back down to Earth when the lady of his dreams reminds him she’s not after anything serious. Way to crush his flatpack dreams, Summer. But let’s forget that for now, instead pretending we’re eating bald eagle in one of our two kitchens, just like this ultimately mismatched couple.