Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all! This week I thought I would give you some suggestions of romantic flicks for a Valentine’s date night or just to get in the spirit of things.
(Be sure to check out “View Content Advisory” on www.imdb.com if you want more information about what you’re about to see/hear. Also, www.fandango.com includes a breakdown by Common Sense Media for younger teens and kids.)
The selections below may seem like an odd collection (they are!), but that’s partly because it’s so hard to find romantic movies that are actually romantic and don’t simply involve people jumping into bed with each other (definitely not true love). Many rom-coms are neither romantic nor funny. And, seriously, how many times can you watch “A Walk To Remember”? I also tried to include movies guys would like.
The following are NOT chick flicks. I repeat, the following are NOT chick flicks.
Try discussing the “What to Look For” and “Why This Film is an Example of True Love” sections after viewing. So often we just watch movies and don’t intentionally discern what we’ve just ingested and whether it jives with our own Catholic worldview.
Take the time to ask: What’s negative about it? What’s positive? How can I grow from what I just witnessed/experienced in this film?
WARM BODIES (2013)
Caveats: Limited gross-out-ness and gore. But zombies do eat brains. Just sayin’. The name of our precious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ–the only Name by which we are to be saved–is taken in vain about three times.
Synopsis: This is a zom-rom-com (zombie romantic comedy). Even if you’re not part of the zombie craze, you’ll love this film.
What to Look For: How true male-female love is “the cure.”
Why This Film is an Example of True Love: Everything in this film.
TO SAVE A LIFE (2009)
Synopsis: This film starts off being about teen suicide, but works in many teen issues and themes organically, including a teen romance.
What to Look For: What “choices” do men have when it comes to abortion?
Why This Film is an Example of True Love: List ALL the different kinds of true love displayed.
GROUNDHOG DAY (1993)
Caveats: Having sex is implied once or twice. But at the end, sex is not the prize.
Synopsis: In this CLASSIC film (a MUST for all serious film buffs) Bill Murray’s character–an obnoxiously self-centered TV news reporter–is doomed to relive the same day over and over again. It just happens to be Groundhog Day. He falls in love with a woman (Andie MacDowell) who turns him down over and over again (because he’s so selfish).
What to Look For: Ned, the insurance salesman. The groundhog driving the pickup truck.
Why This Film is an Example of True Love: It’s only when we do things unselfishly (not worrying about outcomes) that we become truly loving and lovable. SPOILER ALERT: The filmmakers were questioning whether or not to have the main characters have sex at the end. The director turned to a costume intern and she said: “No. You’ll ruin the movie.” So they did what she said.
THE VOW (2012)
Caveats: Several scantily-clad scenes (also between unmarried people), male and female. A scene (shot from behind) where Tatum is naked.
Synopsis: Based on the true story of a Christian couple (but completely de-Christianized), “The Vow” is about a young married woman (Rachel McAdams) who gets in a car accident that results in amnesia. She does not recognize her husband (Channing Tatum) or remember that she is married. Together they try to piece their life back together, but it’s not easy. The Christian couple’s true story is available in book form!
What to Look For: “We don’t talk to each other like that.” Wow.
Why This Film is an Example of True Love: Although there is no mention of God, “The Vow” shows that marriage is a natural institution between a man and a woman involving public vows and deep love and commitment through thick and thin.
BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S (1961)
Rating: NR (not rated)
Caveats: Audrey Hepburn’s and George Peppard’s characters are elite female and male escorts. It is handled so discreetly that often people don’t even remember this fact about the film. Lots of smoking and alcohol use.
Synopsis: Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) is a restless gold digger. Her philosophy of life is to try to please herself in a vacuum: just live in a detached, disconnected way and you’ll never feel pain or get your heart broken. Money and luxuries can fill the hole where relationships are meant to be.
What to Look For: The taxi cab proposal scene. What is more appealing: commitment or hooking up?
Why This Film is an Example of True Love: By illustrating the truth by contrast and watching people go about life the wrong way first, we learn that true love is still possible for everyone. And the fashion in “Tiffany’s” is to die for.
Caveats: Some sex-talk and implied sexual encounters.
Synopsis: A matchmaker (Will Smith) doesn’t do so well in his own love life.
What to Look For: How does Will Smith’s character treat women?
Why This Film is an Example of True Love: Will Smith’s character shows us that true love takes time, patience, humility, perseverance. And it’s often awkward because it’s supposed to be awkward. Substance abuse combined with sex before marriage only sabotages relationships before they can start. True love bumbles around before it becomes more smooth.
BRIDE AND PREJUDICE (2004)
(A fun Bollywood version of “Pride & Prejudice”!)
Caveats: Some scantily-cladness (both sexes) including in the context of sunbathing and dancing.
Synopsis: The guy and gal in Jane Austen’s love story are fiercely attracted to each other, but are separated by class, and in the Bollywood version: culture. Verbal sparring ultimately brings out the best in each of them.
What to Look For: The hilarious “other” suitor.
Why This Film is an Example of True Love: Getting our values and beliefs together is essential to the blossoming and harmony of a relationship. Relationships need to be egalitarian, without one feeling/acting superior to another.