It might sound like a cliched choice for a date night, but the fact is movies are a tremendous activity at any stage of a relationship – whether you’ve recently connected via chat rooms or your partnership is longer-term. This might involve a trip to your local cinema, where you can relish the entertainment on a massive screen while sharing snacks, or even better, enjoying the latest Netflix release as you snuggle on a couch with the lights dimmed. The only question is a rather big one – out of the thousands of possible films, new or classic, which title do you choose? Here are five movies which will always tick the boxes when it comes to igniting the flames of romance.
Writer/director Richard Curtis gathers a stellar ensemble cast, including Kiera Knightley, Liam Nisson, Colin Firth, and Hugh Grant, enacting various comic/romantic scenarios in the run-up to the festive season. The entire spectacle is unashamedly saccharine and sentimental, but few viewers can resist being swept up by the various contrasting love stories. The final scene, containing actual footage of loved ones reuniting in an airport terminal to the strains of the Beach Boys’ ‘God Only Knows’ tugs at every heartstring.
The eternal question asked by Harry (Billy Crystal) in Rob Reiner’s film is “can friends who might, in other circumstances, be attracted to each other, stay friends?” This provokes a series of debates between Harry and his best friend, Sally (Megan Ryan.) The most iconic scene occurs in a New York diner, when Sally, eloquently and extremely vocally, demonstrates to a gobsmacked audience, not least Harry, how easy it is to ‘fake it.’ The sparkling exchanges of dialogue and the undeniable chemistry between the two leads make for a perfect romantic comedy.
A lengthy epic about a nautical disaster might not seem like ideal entertainment for a cozy night in. But the doomed love affair between Rose (Kate Winslet) and Jack (Leo DiCaprio), passengers on the ill-fated Titanic during its maiden voyage in 1912, is rendered even more tragic by the fact we all know the ship’s terrible fate. Their brief time together is all about overcoming odds, whether it’s the class divide that separates them, Rose’s vengeful fiance Cal (Billy Zane), or the impending shipwreck. James Cameron doesn’t allow the pace to slack for a moment, and these three hours will be well spent.
Allie (Rachel McAdams) falls for a passionate young man from the wrong side of the tracks, Noah (Ryan Gosling) in this poignant, bittersweet drama directed by Nick Cassavetes. The aching development at the film’s heart is when the two are reunited in their Autumn years, only Allie (played by Gena Rowlands) is now in a nursing home, suffering from dementia. Noah (James Garner) reads from journals in an attempt to spark her dormant memories. At times heartbreaking to watch, the core theme is a powerful love story – specifically this precious emotion’s ability to strive to conquer all.
Peter Segal’s comedy is also about love combatting memory loss, in this case, Lucy (Drew Barrymore), who is suffering from the short-term version. Henry (Adam Sandler) in a more nuanced performance than his trademark gurning, is a commitment-phobe who falls for her and must find ways around this dark hole in her mind. The good thing about this film is the chemistry between the two leads, and for all that Sandler’s films are often lambasted for crassness, here there is genuine pathos, and his charisma is undeniable. All these factors make for a great romantic movie.