- Romantic movies
- 10. Once (Ireland)
- 9. Blue Valentine – impossible love (USA)
- 8. Brokeback Mountain (USA, Romantic Drama) – 9.3 – The humanity of love
- 7. Guzaarish (India, Romantic drama) – 9.5 – the gift of love, “love is no sacrifice but a gift
- 6. Casablanca (USA, Romantic drama)
- 5. Jodhaa Akbar (India, historical drama)
- 4. Kimi No Na Wa (Your Name – Japan, Anime) – The transcendence of love – Japan
- 3. Ruby Sparks (USA, Romantic Comedy/Drama) – The freedom to be, in love – USA
- 2. Heaven Official’s Blessing – (China, Donghua) – The transcendence of love
- 1. Pride and Prejudice (UK, Period drama) – The power / surrender to love
i’m going to tear your hearts because 10 means that we must have rejection rules. Some romantic movies are magical because of particular scenes like Ghost which n top of it is not strictly about the romance. There are those that can never be forgotten because of the eloquence of a character like the unrequited love narrated by Kate Winslet in The holiday or its beautiful people (aren’t Cameron Diaz and Jude Law at their most beautiful?!). The other secret or its subtle optimisation is in the use of the magic of Christmas (not on the nose as it would in typical American romcoms set in the period). But there is more to a romantic movie than magical contexts or scenes, there is a feeling left beyond. So unfortunately, not all the greatest romantic movie couples make it and neither do any of the great romantic movie queens or kings.These include Meg Ryan on her own or with Tom Hanks (Sleepless in Seattle…). Films like Pretty Woman also are missing as the magic is really more in the selling cast not as much in the script when you decorticate it.
Neither Disney nor Grimm appears onn my list. I am not sure that marrying off 15-16 year-old girls with the first man they encounter under the pretenses of love at first sight is my idea of romance. There is beauty to be found in those tales but not such that can be akeen to romantic or at least to make my top 10. I did think of having a top 12 or top 20. Movies like Funny Girl with Barbara Streisand, When Harry met Sally, Ghost are among romantic movies with a worthwhile twist and view. While I can’t think of them all and I will forget some, other movies will be omited on purpose, La La Land and Titanic being fine examples. Films like Blue is the Warmest Color lose out more in the perspective of the representation.
10. Once (Ireland)
9. Blue Valentine – impossible love (USA)
As previously stated, it is not an obligation for the kings and queens of romantic movies to appear on this list. However, in Blue Valentine, an exceptional Ryan Gosling pairs up with an amazing Michelle Williams in one of the most gripping and heartbreaking renditions of a marriage breaking down. The sript does not cower from addressing the petals and thorns of its protagonists’ marriage.
8. Brokeback Mountain (USA, Romantic Drama) – 9.3 – The humanity of love
Objectively, it is hard to know what had more of an impact. Was it the impeccable script that knew how to use even silences? Was it the two finest actors of their generation? Was it the whole thing that was able to tell a story that is relatable even as we are not the protagonist or are not facing their exact challenge?
This neo-Western romantic drama stars the late Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal. Ang Lee reminds us of his cinematographic and artistic sensibility in the direction of this monumental movie. Seriously, there are no parts of my throat, heart and lungs that weren’t gripped.
7. Guzaarish (India, Romantic drama) – 9.5 – the gift of love, “love is no sacrifice but a gift
Guzaarish is a 2010 Indian romantic movie. Sanjay Leela Bhansali wrote, composed and directed the romantic drama. Actors Hrithik Roshan (as Ethan Mascarenhas) and Aishwarya Rai (Sofia D’Souza) lead the cast. Those two are just spellbinding, bringing Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s screenplay to paradoxically gripping life.
The film tells the story of a magician (Ethan Mascarenhas) who a serious accident turns quadriplegic. Now a radio DJ, he enjoys bringing light, hope and entertainment to his audience while paradoxically seeking the court’s permission to end his own life. The plot centers around him, his request (literal translation of Guzaarish), and the reaction of the people around him. One of this his entourage is his nurse Sofia D’Souza. Bhansali manages to suspend your disbelief all the while, despite the romance surrounding this drama.
6. Casablanca (USA, Romantic drama)
Casablanca is a classic black and white American romantic drama from 1942. It stars Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. The chemistry of the iconic screen couple combined with the love triangle, and the tension of the plot and its World War II settings play with your heartstrings all throughout the movie. The screenplay is well acted and even, dare I say inspirational in multiple aspects. There is almost an understanding of different types of love and of what they mean: unselfishness, care, and giving. And there is growth, beauty and honesty in the middle of, and in spite of the chaos that wants to engulf it all, love and other beauties.
5. Jodhaa Akbar (India, historical drama)
Religion establishes one of the most powerful borders between humans on earth. To watch a movie that finds some balance and harmony between two people of different beliefs and cultures is refreshing. Put an arranged marriage and the sense of duty brushing pride, prejudice and ego, and you have the ingredients for something that needs the utmost care when handling. Thankfully though, the subject was approached with enough sensitivity and sensibility, beauty and tact, maintaining its realism and the audience’s attention. There is more lesson than judgement, opening against fear and another evidence that love is the way for the world to hold each other’s hands.
Of course, the fact that my favourite Indian screen couple (who would have thought seeing that they are now featured twice together on this list) is starring and giving as ever their best performance does help. It brings realism, poignancy, relevance, and of course beauty to a historical tale that might have lost a lot of viewership without it. The settings, the photography, the costumes, the fights are epic.
4. Kimi No Na Wa (Your Name – Japan, Anime) – The transcendence of love – Japan
This movie is already one of my favourte anime movies of all time. In this beautifully drawn and plotted anime, a city boy and a country girl transcend time and space in an oneirically supernatural twist of fate. For a period, they get to dream and even live as the other. We follow their separate journeys, each in their own universe, as they work to get closer, in spite of the boundaries erected by time, fate and human capacities and witness the transcendence of love in this epic anime romance. Nothing can stop such a love, not memories and their scientific boundaries, fate and its supernatural constraints, or the mind with its logical borders.
3. Ruby Sparks (USA, Romantic Comedy/Drama) – The freedom to be, in love – USA
To be or not to be, that is the question.
I have paired up more celebrities for being the leads in the same industry than I care to remember. I have dreamed that Elton John , Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston would end up together, and country and being linked to each other by my love for their work (as if they knew me!) than I can imagine. While none of my wished pairs ever made it together to the altar, Aishwarya Rai and Hritik Roshan at least managed to give me some closure by appearing together in at least 3 movies. But this next couple did one better. They married and played a couple in one of the most insightful romcoms ever written.
The previous movies feature the biggest antagonists, those that we cannot fight but must be content with surrendering to. They showcase the limits of our knowledge and power and how love lives beyond them. Love does not care for space, bigotry and prejudice, death . But love truly shines when you cannot hide behind others, excuses and loopholes. When you must assume your responsibilities, because no matter how hard it is, you are in control of your problem, this is where your do you, in the name of
The film also particularly shines for me because the actors and the scenes look extremely real. This does not feel like a fictionalisation or dramatisation of life, it feels true, which considering its premises is saying something.
2. Heaven Official’s Blessing – (China, Donghua) – The transcendence of love
I think I watched the first season 6 times in a row. The otherwordliness of the illustrations matches the context of the anime. There is something utterly magnetic about the characters and their designs. Even as the first minutes are a little confusing, the viewer is charmed by the settings, the attention to detail, the aura that seems to float around the scenes themselves.
There are so many ways in which love transcends in this animation. The donghua stumps on the borders that upholds traditional duality with grace, beauty, substance and elegance. From evil versus good to male versus female, from heaven to earth, mortality and immortality, we are taken into the story of the real power of love: that of being able to see and live and love harmoniously beyond the boundaries that human knowledge has erected around our freedom.
1. Pride and Prejudice (UK, Period drama) – The power / surrender to love
We live in a world made of pride and prejudice. To have a book and several movies acknowledge that in their own context is enough of a recognition in itself. But to have them make these two oppressors surrender in the face of love is adding magic to the reality. The magic is written in the most plausible way. It has been (re-en)acted by our most eminent thespians worldwide in over 17 screen adaptations. From Aishwarya Rai Bachnan (Bride and Prejudice) to Jennifer Ehle via Keira Knightley, Lizzie’s performance has been blessed. Colin Firth has gone down in history as the most infamous Mr Darcy but Matthew MacFadyen is one of the many others who upheld his legacy.