I know the “u” is unnecessary, but I like to pretend I’m British. I’m home sick, so I’ve been watching a lot of films. People might tell you it’s a bad idea after a break-up to watch lovey-dovey movies when you’re already spending too much time refreshing your OKCupid profile and double-fisting wine and ice cream in your bathrobe…but movies have always been a form of therapy for me, and I’ve found even the most contrived Nicholas Sparksians to be a beacon of hope.
I think this is because there are many forms of love. Parent/child, sibling, human/animal, friends, any kind of “family” you can make has an ability to show us great love, and great hope.
Here are a few of my faves:
When Shadow makes it over the hill at the end of Homeward Bound. If you haven’t watched this movie as an adult, omgee find a child to introduce it to and do so now. It is a great story of friendship, has lots of laugh out loud moments, and convinced me that most dogs have the voice of Michael J. Fox in their inner monologue. But the BEST part of this movie is at the end, when the humans are reunited with their animals that loved them so much they traveled across the country for me, braving all sorts of the outdoors. The older dog doesn’t show up for a while, and his owner has accepted that he was probably too old to make it, but then…I just gave myself goosebumps. Where’s the kleenex? If you don’t cry to this, you’re dead inside.
The opening sequence to Up. Do I really need to talk about this? No? You got it? Okay, good.
Will Ferrell playing guitar in Stranger Than Fiction. This is a quirky little gem of a film, and although a little unbelievable that someone as young and beautiful as Maggie is gonna go for Will, his rendition of “Whole Wide World” is so endearing that how can you not?! Unconventional love story, for the win.
Seth and Evan’s bromance in Superbad. This movie is hilarious, and in the end, a story about guys trying to get with girls, but the heart of the story is the friendship between Seth and Evan, who spend every waking moment together. The most romantic part is when Seth carries Evan away from the scene of the crime and they drunkenly love each other with words.
Seth: I just wanna go to the rooftops and scream, “I love my best friend, Evan.”
Evan: Let’s… go on my roof.
Seth: [whispers] For sure.
The entire film Finding Neverland. In this seriously underrated movie, Johnny Depp plays James Barrie, who finds inspiration for writing Peter Pan in the little boys who belong to the character played by Kate Winslet, who is dying of something. The rest of London society thinks they are having an affair, or that something untoward is going on between he and the children, but really he is helping them deal with their pain by creating a beautiful imaginary world. The last fifteen minutes or so are just pure love – the love of orphans, of siblings, of a mother for her sons, and platonic love for friends. It’s incredibly beautiful.
When Emma Thompsen’s character finds out her husband is cheating in Love Actually. I read this pretty great article about how even though we tend to idolize this film as the pinnacle of romance, it’s actually kind of terrible. (Heads up – not for those offended by…anything. It’s on Jezebel. You’ve been warned.) For me, the most heart-breaking scene is Emma, Queen of the world, acts the hell out of the scene in her bedroom after opening her Christmas present and realizing it was not the necklace that she’d probably been secretly smiling about for a few days. She’s thinking about her whole life, built with this man, the children they have, all they have shared, and wondering if it means anything anymore. She straightens the bed covers. And probably wants to curl into a ball. But she sucks it up and goes to the play, and then slays her husband afterward, then turns around is amazing mom again! THATS love. Loving your kids so much you don’t ruin their big night, loving yourself enough that you don’t let more than a few hours go by before you gut your husband.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – this is my go-to when I need a good cry and a good dose of hope. It’s a love story about a love so much that the characters try to fall out of it, but they’re so made for each other, life brings them back together again. The flashbacks to their relationship, the side characters, Jim Carrey at his finest and Kate Winslet at her quirkiest.
Terms of Endearment – This is such a good love story. Love in different forms. Love that goes bad. A mother and her daughter and all their crazy. And then the final scene between the mom and her sons. Pulls your heart out through your throat and stomps on it.
But hands down, my favorite love scene of all time is Elinor discovering Edward isn’t married at the end of Sense and Sensibility. This gives me chills, every time, despite having watched the movie at least 100 times. The way Emma Thompson’s chin quivers and she starts to shake involuntarily at the news that he isn’t married, how her sisters and mothers stand together and leave the room, how baby Hugh Grant tries to talk to her over the sounds of her sobbing into her apron, and then the beautiful look of pure joy she slowly raises to him. It’s overwhelming. She’s resigned herself to this life, thinking she will forever be parted by the one man she has ever loved, that she will always be a poor spinster trying to reign in her free-spirited mother and sisters. But then life gives her a gift. It’s magical.