Casablanca (PG). I adore this film—its story, its nostalgic black and white, the buried-goodness of the characters and the ache of sacrifice and doing right. Plus, you just can’t get much better than Humphrey Bogart. With its explorations of sacrifice, what it means to love and character transformations it even elicits God-talk. For another Bogart romance, try To Have or Have Not.
(Image: Warner Bros via Wikipedia)
50 First Dates (PG13). This is one of my favorite films of all time. If you can look past the moments of frat-boy humor that crop up every so often (the edited-for-TV version chops this down a bit), you’ll find a very beautiful love story—one that gets down to the power of love to transform and free and bring forth new life. Read my review here. Reviews. (Image: Columbia/Sony; Wikipedia)
Always (PG). One of my favorite tearjerkers, this romantic dramedy boasts a great cast (Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter, John Goodman and Audrey Hepburn—in her final role). Its theology is oh-so-wacky, but its story is all about learning that love isn’t selfish but all about the other. For another loving-from-the-beyond, try Ghost, another of my favorites. Reviews.
(Image: Universal Pictures/United Artists via Wikipedia)
Out of Africa (PG). This drama is based very loosely on author Karen Blixon’s (who wrote a story from which was adapted Babette’s Feast, an incredible film) years in Africa. As a younger woman, I was drawn in by the ill-fated love shared between Karen and Denys Finch Hatton. But these days I’m struck by the love exhibited by Farah, who worked for Blixon, and the love she gradually came to feel for a land and its people. In the end, I think Karen is more transformed by that love than the one she shared with Finch Hatton. Reviews.
(Image: Universal via Wikipedia)
Open Range (R). Robert Duvall once said that Westerns are America’s Shakespeare; I think he’s got a point. This Western might seem an unusual choice for a romance movie list but after my husband and I just watched it again this week (an edited-for-TV version), I was reminded of how powerfully love plays through this film—love between friends and love between a man and woman. It has some great moments that make this one to bring God-talk into open spaces: forgiveness, sacrifice, how to deal with one’s sin, violence’s effect on those who choose to wield it, etc. Reviews here and here. Word of caution: This film has one of the best choreographed gun-fights in the history of filmmaking and it doesn’t shy away from violence. The edited-for-TV version is definitely less so.
(Image: Buena Vista Pictures via Wikipedia)
Cat on a Hot tin Roof (NR, but probably PG). The love story in this narrative focuses a husband and wife who have reached a point of crisis—but its still a love story. Based on Tennessee William’s play, the film centers on a Southern family as it gathers to mark its patriarch’s 65th birthday. I loved this tale, a wonderful, painful and healing story of redemption and confession and reconciliation--all worthy of God-talk.
(Image: MGM via Wikipedia)
Jerry Maquire (R). This film holds a wonderful romance with depth and personal transformation. A friend of mine, who’s a Christian, says it’s one of the most pro-marriage and pro-family films he’s ever seen. And with its themes exploring where the pursuit professional success should fall in relation to relationships, it easily brings God-talk into open spaces. The edited-for-TV version I’ve seen cuts out some of the sexual and other potentially offensive material. Reviews.
(Image: Tristar Pictures via Wikipedia)
Room with a View (NR, but probably PG). This Merchant-Ivory film “tells the story of a woman struggling with her individuality in the face of the restrictive Edwardian culture of turn-of-the century England and her love for a free-spirited young man” (Wikipedia). It is funny, thoughtful, quirky and delightful. I love the scene where George, finally getting that life is indeed good, shouts at the top of his lungs on an Italian hillside, heh. Reviews.
(Image: Cinecom via Wikipedia)
Pride & Prejudice and Bride & Prejudice (both PG). These films are very different treatments of Jane Austen’s novel, but both are wonderful. The first the 2005 UK version and the second is a musical from Bollywood. For my reviews and more info about the films, go here.
(Image: Working Title Films and Focus Films)
A Walk in the Clouds (PG-13). This film “is set in 1945, when Paul Sutton, a World War II veteran returns and occasionally meets Victoria Aragon, a Stanford student who belongs to a Mexican-descent family which owns a vineyard in Napa Valley, California. As she is pregnant by her professor, Paul offers to introduce himself to the very traditionalist family—especially her raging father Alberto—and leave the day after. Instead, he stays one day more – supposedly for the grape harvest—and more, until they eventually fall in love” (Wikipedia). Critics didn't react all that favorably to the film, but for some reason I did, heh. Reviews.
(Image: 20th Century Fox via Wikipedia)
As always, look into a film before you see it. Some of these films contain sexual and violent content. While several of these films actually center on romances without pre-marital sexual involvement, there may be other content in the films you find offensive. Spend some time reading reviews and seeking the advice of those you trust. Enjoy!