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Posted on Wednesday 16/05/2012 May, 2012 by Francesca Rudkin
Wednesday evenings through to the end of June on Rialto Channel are all about love. New series ‘Affairs of the Heart’ aims to have us laughing, crying and empathising with the rollercoaster of relationships and love. It’s a diverse mix, from the gorgeously whacky French rom-com Heartbreaker (Wednesday 23rd May, 8.30pm) to the lush costumes of the Tennessee Williams adaptation Loss of a Teardrop Diamond (Wednesday 16th May, 8.30pm).

Wednesday evenings through to the end of June on Rialto Channel are all about love. New series ‘Affairs of the Heart’ aims to have us laughing, crying and empathising with the rollercoaster of relationships and love. It’s a diverse mix, from the gorgeously whacky French rom-com Heartbreaker (Wednesday 23rd May, 8.30pm) to the lush costumes of the Tennessee Williams adaptation Loss of a Teardrop Diamond (Wednesday 16th May, 8.30pm).

The romance genre, especially the romantic comedy, often gets a tough time. And it’s easy to see why - there have been a slew of Nicholas Sparks adaptations (I mean really - seen one, seen them all surely?), there is the constant rehashing of predictable and formulaic Hollywood rom-coms, and more recently it seems to be all about falling in love with vampires. I have a BUT though, for despite all this the romance genre has produced plenty of romance films that are genuinely moving, and which are genuinely fantastic movies.

So, to celebrate filmmakers who have brought something a little different to the genre here are some of my favourite screen romances. If you’re already making your own list - When Harry Met Sally, Casablanca, Breakfast at Tiffany’s etc. - I’ve narrowed down the selection to films released this century.  

In chronological order:

1. Amelie (La Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain) (2001) - Audrey Tautou (Amelie) makes you want to go all whimsical and then get a bob haircut, preferably in Paris, as she brings joy and justice to those around her in her own unique way. From director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children), Amelie is warm, charming and perfect escapism.

2.  Lost in Translation (2003) - An unconsummated romance of sorts, Sofia Coppola’s second feature film is a melancholic and subtle study of loneliness and friendship found in the most unexpected places.

3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) - If only Jim Carrey was like this all the time! Human Nature co-writers Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman team up for this mind-bending and imaginative comedy, directed by Gondry about a couple (Kate Winslet and Carrey) who undergo an experimental procedure to remove their relationship from their memories.

4. The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005) - My favourite Judd Apatow film to date. It’s a surprisingly tender film with likeable characters full of heart, and, obviously, it’s filled with hilarious crass irreverent humour. It also stars indie darling Catherine Keener.

5. Once (2006) - If there was one musical to hit this list it would have to be the budget Irish charmer Once. With naturalistic performances from its non-professional lead actors, an award winning soundtrack, and a touching and amusing storyline, its no surprise Once was a firm favourite on many critic’s ‘Best Of’ lists for 2007.

6. Atonement (2007) - Films often struggle to be “as good as the book” (that’s another list) but Joe Wright’s adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel easily gets there. Beautifully shot, deftly directed and well acted, Atonement also makes the list for its five and a half minute single tracking shot down France's Dunkirk beach.

7. Juno (2007) - A smart and riotously funny comedy by Jason Reitman about a teenage girl called Juno (Ellen Page) and her unplanned pregnancy. A stretch for a “romance” list I know, but this comedy is filled with smart, honest and vulnerable characters and their relationships. It’s a much more realistic and palatable approach to teen sex than say The Twilight Saga.

8. Lars and the Real Girl (2007) - Ryan Gosling takes the inflatable doll from frat-house film to serious indie entertainment in this delightful and slightly unhinged comedy about an introverted man finding the ability to love.

9. Bright Star (2009) - New Zealand director Jane Campion and actress Abbie Cornish are at their best in this devastatingly tear-jerker that tells the story of the three-year romance between 19th century poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne (Cornish).

10. Blue Valentine (2010) - No one said marriage was easy, and in this emotionally charged and depressing drama Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling showcase just how hard and miserable it can be.

Special mentions include:

Before Sunset (2004) - OK, not as good as Before Sunrise but due to the ‘this century’ rule this is the best way of sneaking Richard Linklater’s 1995 groundbreaking one-night romance into the list.

Waitress (2007) - A small but smart and whimsical romantic comedy about a small town waitress (Keri Russell) trying to escape her abusive husband while dealing with an unwanted pregnancy.

Midnight in Paris (2011) - Makes you want to pack your bags and move to Paris, and read up on the possibility of time travel. A return to form for Woody Allen.

500 Days of Summer (2009) - Music video director Marc Webb gave the romantic comedy genre a much needed burst of fresh air with this debut feature. An unconventional and truthful love story which is as much about breaking up as falling in love.

And a few afterthoughts:

The Good Girl

Away From Her

Lovely, Still

Vicki Cristina Barcelona

Brokeback Mountain

And the list goes on..Go on, let me know what you think?


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# joe
Thursday, 17 May 2012 10:20 a.m.
Midnight In Paris and Lovely Still

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