As we approach Valentine’s Day (yes, it’s just a few weeks away) I think it’s only fitting that the topic of romance come into play in anticipation of the day meant to celebrate all things feelings. I’m not sure about you, but I have actually never celebrated Valentine’s Day with a loved one not related to me. Instead I spend the day (or week) loading up on conversational hearts, Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, and a collection of melodramas so depressing I become skeptical that love can actually end in anything but death. Regardless of my tendency to eat my feelings while crying over the tragic love found in Douglas Sirk films, I do enjoy happy love stories and tend to pair the sadder movies with some of my must-have romances. In honor of the big V-Day, I’d like to share my favorite 14 romantic scenes and also open it up the floor to hear your suggestions.
Today is my bottom seven romantic scenes, and next week we’ll post the remainder. I like to keep you all on tenterhooks.
14. Breakfast at Tiffany’s
I will be the first to admit that I am not the girliest of girls. I’ve never had a penchant for fluffy or flowy fabrics, I do not know how to fasten a ribbon to my hair, and it wasn’t until I went to a college that I grew to appreciate the color pink. But, like so many women I have an endearing love for Audrey Hepburn’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s character Holly Golightly. Holly is a glamorous yet lost woman, spending her days in New York daydreaming of a life beyond her means. She lives in a tiny, yet romantic walkup, which is just as charming as its owner. Her new neighbor, Paul (George Peppard), falls quickly for the intriguing young woman but her own neuroses seem to dip more into the troubling side of the pool over endearing.
Regardless, Paul loves her and wants nothing but to make the pretty young woman feel safe, comforted, and most importantly cherished. But Holly tests his strength and in the final moments of Breakfast at Tiffany’s Paul finally releases all the hurt and anger he’s felt by Holly’s flighty ways. He lets her know she isn’t capable of love, no matter how much she’s in love with the idea of love. Before he leaves the close quarters of their taxi, he throws an engagement ring at her, punctuating his disgust with the whole situation. But in this final, rainy scene Holly fingers the ring, flees the cab, and runs after Paul. She is ready to love someone other than herself and we fall in love right along with her.
13. Velvet Goldmine
Todd Haynes’ homage to Citizen Kane, Velvet Goldmine is not intrinsically a love story, however it has one of the sweetest love scenes between aging rocker Curt Wild (Ewan McGregor) and young glam fan Arthur (Christan Bale). Arthur spends the majority of the film recalling his own experiences with the glam kings Curt and Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), before revealing in the last few minutes his love affair with Curt. Paired with trippy shots of a space ship and grainy footage of the lovers cuddling in their own little world on a city roof, when we finally see that Curt and Arthur were truly and fantastically in love it makes it all the more tragic when they later cross paths many years later. The rest of the film may not have the happiest undertones, but these intimate shots of the couple at least leave the viewer feeling a little relief.
12. The Notebook
While many The Notebook fans might argue the reunion kiss between Noah (Ryan Gosling) and Allie (Rachel McAdams) is far more romantic than the death scene between older ailing Allie (Gena Rowlands) and her patient husband Noah (James Garner), I would have to disagree. The entire film is spent regaling us with their youthful love story, but by the time the ending occurs we have also fallen in love with the elder Noah. Noah’s eternal love for his wife allows him to day after day recount the same story in the hopes that she might, for even the smallest amount of time, remember their life together. Dying in each other’s arms is the ultimate romantic gesture (hey, worked for Romeo and Juliet), and in that moment the cursed couple can finally find peace.
The robot WALL-E in Pixar’s WALL-E was lost in a fantasy world inspired by movies—just like us. His self-sacrifice to save humanity (and art) from a terrible end left the sweet machine broken. His fancy lady friend, EVE, wouldn’t stand for that and quickly went to work fixing her robot love. Frantically she nudges him to remember his former self, but the repaired WALL-E is suffering from soap opera level amnesia. She tries everything to get him to remember, almost losing hope that he’ll come back to her. EVE reaches out for him, desperate for anything, and in this final tender attempt WALL-E grasps her hand, holding on to her while his eyes come into focus on all things EVE. If your heart doesn’t sigh after this scene then you’re clearly a zombie.