Though many years have passed since their release, we all remember the hype around Titanic back in 1997 and the more humorous Notting Hill in 1999. Romance will forever attract a wide audience, making women dreamy-eyed and giving couples something soppy to watch together.
I present to you a list of romantic titles as diverse as it can get. It will take you from the stiff mannerisms of Jane Austen’s time to the present day, and our new perception of what is and isn’t acceptable or permissive. Also, we’ll be heading to the trenches of France for a look at how war affects our idea of love and our emotional issues, as well as Edwardian society with its lack of tolerance for kinds of love different to the norm:
Sense and Sensibility (1995) – A Taiwanese director (Ang Lee), some deviations from the novel, a main actress – Emma Thompson – well beyond the age of her literary counterpart and Hugh Grant’s easy charm turned this film into a classic, which is talked about as much as Jane Austen’s original story! Add a young Kate Winslet in a passionate role and Alan Rickman as a gallant but uptight hero, and you have a romance that transcends time and space.
What’s Your Number? (2011) – A sweet and light, but also predictable romantic comedy. Ally, played by Anna Faris, is looking to turn a new leaf and find her one true love. Against all odds, or numbers in her case, she finds herself accidentally falling for the one character she regards unworthy… The very often shirtless Colin, portrayed by Chris Evans, whose charming and disarming nature will have you smiling and rooting for him throughout.
Image: What’s your number? (2011)
Birdsong (2012) – Starring a then little known Eddie Redmayne (Oscar winner for Best Male Actor 2015), this two-part BBC mini-series is as romantic as it gets. Complete with steamy scenes between Redmayne as a young Englishman in France and Clémence Poésy as the married Isabelle Azaire, this production presents the ultimate love story, which flicks between a pre-war romance and life and death in the trenches. This film is based on the book of the same name by author Sebastian Faulks.
Maurice (1987) – From Merchant Ivory Productions and starring three male leads – James Wilby, Rupert Graves and Hugh Grant – it is a heart-wrenching portrayal of a society in which gay love was not just frowned upon but punished. With a secret relationship gone sour, a love across the social classes and an ending both happy and sad, this is based on the novel by E.M. Forster, which for obvious reasons, was only published after the author’s death. Wilby and Grant both won the Best Actor award at the Venice Film Festival for their part in this film.
Image: Maurice (1987)