For those of you fortunate enough to have someone to share Valentine’s Day with, you know how important it is to have made plans and have something worth while to do on what is essentially a national date night. In light of there being few romantic films of any quality out right now, I’d like to recommend a couple of films that you can watch at home, presumably after a nice dinner and maybe even some dancing. I cannot guarantee that any of these films will be to everyone’s taste, but hopefully they will offer a nice alternative to the Nora Ephron mainstays.
1-Vukovar, jedna prica (1994), dir. Boro Draskovic
This timely romance follows a mixed couple as they experience the break-up of Yugoslavia.
2-The Unbelievable Truth (1989), dir. Hal Hartley
Hartley’s debut feature is as much a portrait of suburban America as it is of it’s star crossed protagonists.
3-Grand Hotel (1932), dir. Edmund Goulding
With a tremendous all star cast including John & Lionel Barrymore, Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford, this film not only offers romance in the classic Hollywood tradition but is the first significant ensemble drama made in the age of sound.
4-The Rose Tattoo (1955), dir. Daniel Mann
Anna Magnani and Burt Lancaster may seem ill suited for this adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ stage play, but with Mann’s sly direction the film manages to be quite good and even features cinematography by the great James Wong Howe.
5-Reds (1981), dir. Warren Beatty
Beatty, Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson star in this epic romantic bio-pic about the life of journalist John Reed. Never sluggish, this film does suffer from the conventional clichés associated with its genre.
6-Minnie & Moskowitz (1971), dir. John Cassavetes
Cassavetes’ only romantic comedy never falters or falls into the typical narrative arc of the genre.
7-Magnificent Obsession (1954), dir. Douglas Sirk
Perhaps this is Sirk’s most melodramatic and otherworldly film, though it does manage to connect with its audience and get to the very heart of human emotions.