Love in the movies has a way of sweeping you off your feet and giving you hope that your lover is just around the corner. They could be coming to your house as a prospective match, or moving in next door to you. You could be sitting behind them in a classroom, or my favourite – checking out the same books as you in a library or bookstore.
The ninety minute runtime makes you believe that your 20-year-old life will also have that love, if it doesn't already. That's what makes these romantic movies my favourite ones. They don't necessarily have happy endings, but they make you believe in love.
Childhood love is at its finest in this movie. From the awkward first meeting of a shy Bryce and a girl with her heart on her sleeve to a teenager feeling ashamed of his love because of societal norms but in the end realising, that she loved him all along, and so did he. The movie weaves through the shy, awkward years of young love to the self-conscious teenage years with its changing narratives. Girl next door might be an old formula, but the changing point of view between Bryce and Juli gives it freshness and explores how understanding and realising love might be a bit tougher than we think.
Beneath the superb acting, set design, and music of the movie lies the love story of Jay Gatsby. For every romantic, Gatsby's outstretched hand in the foggy night, reaching out for that green light across the water, is the symbol of the love that was never fulfilled. Gatsby builds everything for Daisy – the mansion, parties, clothes. You realise that he already knew where she was all this time, and he still waited. That's Jay Gatsby's love. Patient, all-engulfing, and tragically one-sided.
There is chemistry, and then there is Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore's chemistry. 50 First Dates is the perfect romcom for a movie date. It's funny, it's thought-provoking, and it's about love conquering all. As Henry (Adam Sandler) tries to persevere through Lucy's (Drew Barrymore) short-term memory loss to make her fall in love every day and through different means, you can't help but root for them to end up together. And that's the simple and powerful tool of any love story. It makes you root for an ending that is improbable and too good to be true. There is always Adam Sandler's legendary comic timing to make you find humor in intense moments.
"You had me at hello," has to be one of the best dialogues in a romantic movie. The love story between Jerry (Tom Cruise) and Dorothy (Renee Zellweger) has no opposition, and they seem to like each other. Even Ray, Dorothy's son, likes Jerry. So what makes the dialogue hit so hard when it comes in the climax? It is because the hurdles in their love story are not external, but arising from Jerry's internal turmoil. It's about him, finding himself, and what happiness means for him. It's Dorothy waiting for him to come around because she knows she loves him.
Could Rose have given Jack space on the door, is the question that everyone asks, and my answer to them is, does it matter? Titanic it is the classic rich girl meets poor boy, they go on adventures as the rich girl finds herself story. The trope has been done many times over, but Titanic with its tragic ending, the performances, and James Cameron's vision makes you live the love story. You are on the deck of Titanic when Jack saves her; you are dancing with them into the night; you are with them in the cold water waiting. It's not love at first sight, but a love that happens over time. Both of them save each other's lives, and in the end, one dies for the other. And the heart goes on.