50 Favorite Romances: 11 - 15

Also check out 1 - 5 and 6 - 10.

11. The Remains of the Day (1993)

I don't believe a man can consider himself fully content until he has done all he can to be of service to his employer.
Is this an outright romance? No, I guess not, considering that there's hardly a word spoken to that end in the film--just glances, body proximity, and looks of regret. And anyway, it's as close of a romance as Anthony Hopkins' Mr. Stevens would ever get with Emma Thompson's Miss Kenton considering his allegiance to his job as a butler over all else. It's to the lead actors' credit that the relationship comes off as powerful as it does given the subtlety of the whole film.

12. Penelope (2006)

All Halloween I've been running into someone I used to know.
Y'all, James McAvoy could have chemistry with a hairdryer, he's just that good and generous of an actor. As a gambling addict/faux-blue blood, he adds a little sex to this sweet fairytale of a young woman cursed with a pig nose (Christina Ricci). He helps give her a push to the outside world where she finds a life of her own, away from her overbearing mother (Catherine O'Hara), pushover father (Richard E. Grant), and the pressures of marriage. And seriously, just embrace your inner 13-year-old girl when the final kiss is planted--it's magical.

13. A Man and a Woman (1966)

It's crazy to refuse happiness.
This is a simple film that acknowledges its cliches but also its originality outright. Two single parents (Anouk Aimee and Jean-Louis Trintignant) meet one weekend after meeting up with their children at boarding school, the woman needing a ride back to Paris having missed the train. We watch their first encounters play out in color, black and white, and sepia tones, and see their past lives play out in flashbacks as they swap stories. There's a genuineness to keeping the film's conflict mostly about the awkwardness of moving on to a new relationship. With the addition of a jazz/samba soundtrack, it oozes mid-century humor and class.

14. Mostly Martha (2001)

I'm not compulsive, I'm precise.
Emotionally cold and determined German chef + her niece whose mother just died + the new fun loving Italian chef at the restaurant she works at = heartwarming hijinks. Beyond this unbeatable formula, what makes the film work is the strong undercurrent of sadness that contrasts and highlights the humorous moments in the film. Plus, there's enough food porn to motivate you to try to cook something and feed it to someone sensually to French/English language jazz.

15. A Walk in the Clouds (1995)

She's like the air to me.
Am I kind of embarrassed for myself for adding this film to the list? A little bit. But let's get real: it's a beautiful film even if it's cheesy as hell. Already married Paul Sutton (Keanu "surprisingly appropriate stilted delivery" Reeves) pretends to be Victoria Aragon's (Aitana Sanchez-Gijon) husband to make an excuse for her recent pregnancy. Grape harvesting, cliched lines from an overbearing father, WWII PTSD, and humorous grandfather moments ensue, as does the couple's affection for each other. Mostly, if you've ever wanted to see pretty people dappled in golden light fall in love for an hour and a half, this is the film for you.

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