VALENTINE'S DAY MOVIE MARATHON FOR THE CYNICAL HOPELESS ROMANTICS
If you love love but you're too bitter about being single to enjoy it this holiday season, here's a few movies to help you get through it.
- •Atonement (2007)With lush and extravagant sets, costumes, and scenery the whole look of the film is romantic. Couple that with Keira Knightley and James McAvoy's blithe passion, and you've got one of the greatest love stories of the Aughts. But when the layer of fantasy peels back to reveal a disheartening, barren reality then all the hope and wishful thinking you poured into the first two acts all comes rushing back to you as a chilling awakening to the painful result of things left unsaid.
- •A Single Man (2009)With a camera lens that fetishizes almost every surface and color imaginable, Tom Ford's directorial debut captures the elegant and private life of a wealthy gay widower, played by Colin Firth. At one time happy with his lover, the rest of the movie is him leading on poor Julianne Moore, and feeling guilty when juicy little Nicholas Hoult bares his birthday suit in an attempt to jump his English bones. It could've easily taken a more romantic route, but instead peters out towards a bitter end.
- •I Love You Phillip Morris (2009)Based on the true story of con-man Steven Russell (Jim Carrey) & his love affair with Phillip Morris (a delightful Ewan McGregor), who meet in prison & fall in love. Their love story is both hilarious & sweet, & the hoops they jump through to be with each other in prison are darkly funny & adorable. But, Russell is a classic fuck-up and consistently drags Morris down with him. Testing their love with each new con (including faking his death from AIDS), Morris exhaustedly keeps falling for him.
- •Blue Valentine (2010)Half of this movie is a testament of young love and it's passionate belief in an everlasting bond, and the other half is a shattering of that notion, and the realization that there's no saving a broken marriage. Both Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling are fantastic, and their swooning, head-over-heels chemistry sets a romantic tone. But their even better, if not more challenging, antagonistic and bitter chemistry will leave you devastated. This movie will make you blush, then sob 5 minutes later
- •Like Crazy (2011)Long distance sucks, and this realistic, highly improvised portrait of the continental divide between two lovers is both enduringly romantic and achingly forlorn. Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones have wonderful chemistry, but they're also great at portraying their annoyance with each other when their relationship becomes a hassle. They keep coming together just to fall apart over and over. The end is beautifully tragic, and holds true as a reminder that true love can't solve all your problems.
- •Amour (2012)"Old couples make me think forever exists." Well, what happens when forever is up? And your partner gets a stroke and can't walk or speak or feed or bathe themselves? This French film is a mortifying examination of a decade-spanning marriage taking a turn for the worst. Old people are sweet, and it's nice to see them care for each other, but it's heart-wrenching to watch them see their partner suffer at the hands of the inescapable fate of age.
- •Gone Girl (2014)The movie that made everyone think, "How well do I know my spouse?" David Fincher presents the worst marriage in history, a man and woman stuck together in a vengeful, psychotic game of comeuppance. Rosamund Pike triumphs as Amy Dunne, a deliciously deranged, beyond moonstruck scorned-woman who frames her husband for a murder that never happened. Eventually their spiteful and torrid marriage caves in onto itself, and traps them in their own web of lies and deceit. What's more romantic than that?
- •The Lobster (2015)Yorgos Lanthimos' brilliant satire of the conventions of love and how it all too often revolves around our defining characteristics, the notion of compatibility, and the time-sensitivity of it all. Set in an outrageous world, patiently built all throughout the film, it manages to provide an effortlessly fascinating story, and poke fun at the conventions of love and commitment. It tests its characters with how far they are willing to go for love, and if it's even all worth it in the end?