On the international day of love, not everyone — whether in a relationship or not — has a date or feels like joining the masses as they submerge themselves in a binge of roses and chocolates.
For that lot, I’ve rounded up my favourite untraditional Valentine’s Day flicks to replace the teddy bears and teddies. And, keeping in mind that whether we care to admit it or not, our mood can be affected by Cupid’s holiday, I have chosen a variety of films to help soothe the mood of everyone from the blissful to the forlorn. Whatever your state of mind may be, I recommend a bottle of wine to pair with your evening screening. Who says it takes two to toast?
These films make no sense and are hard for anyone to relate back to their own life — hence the charm when trying to get your [love] life off the mind. If you’re down about rocking a lone wolf status, now is not the time to pop in a Bridget Jones DVD. To truly escape the Valentine’s Day spectacle and remove romance from all your thoughts, indulge in some slapstick comedy from across the pond. (Think a knight that has lost his arms and legs in a battle, but doesn’t know he’s beat.) John Cleese can put a smile on nearly everyone’s face…at least more so than playing “Total Eclipse of the Heart” on repeat could ever do.
This ’80s drama starring Melanie Griffith, Sigourney Weaver and Harrison Ford is a favourite amongst the staff in the office. Any woman currently in a state of flux about her career and her personal relationships can appreciate how the film tackles change — across all platforms — through its witty (almost too good to be true) characters. It’ll entertain and maybe even spark a little gumption. Topped off with a soundtrack by Carly Simon, this retro gem is sure to help you find that inspiration you suspect might have been misplaced as of late.
Warning: Do not watch this film if a nuptial awaits you in the not-so-distant future. This 3-part series, which includes Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight, tracks the finding, losing and reclaiming of love between two Gen-Xers, played by Ethan Hawke and Julie Deply, that have a chance meeting on a railcar in Europe, which evolves into a cuttingly realistic romance spanned over a tide of years. This series — especially Before Sunset — will remind you that things can change in one night, and that true love is not something that should ever feel like you’re stuck in. A heady romance that can easily spur yearning for what might have been or what could be “if only, ” be prepared for emotion to wash over you one film at a time…be warned!
German film director Tom Tykwer has a thing for fate. From Run Lola Run to this modern fairytale about the triumph of love, Tykwer knows how to inspire a girl to trust in that thing called destiny and her power to sway it. Starring the beautiful Franka Potente (known for American films including The Bourne Conspiracy), the whimsy of the storyline transports the viewer to places enveloped in the romantic imagination. Beautifully directed, the film is a perfect moment of inspiration to start off your quest for love, where you —the damsel and not the knight in shining armour — is the story’s hero.
A Japanese anime directed by Goro Miyazaki, the delightful plot of From Up on Poppy Hill weaves through ’60s Japan, following a budding romance that develops as the hero and heroine of the story join forces to save their high school’s ramshackle clubhouse from being counted as part of the demolitions “necessary” to prepare for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. A simple tale of what is lasting and true in life, this animation is just the right amount of innocent sweet sentiment to satiate targets of Cupid’s arrow.
For the silent stone-faced criers our there, All the Real Girls is just up your alley. Directed by David Gordon Green and starring Zooey Deschanel and Paul Schneider (alongside funnyman Danny McBride in his first feature film role), this flick has all the ingredients for the perfect indie-romance. Innocence and naivety are put up for debate as the plot unravels the relationship between the art-school girl-next-door and the playboy from the wrong side of the tracks. If that perfect past love is on your mind, this film might just remind you that nothing and no one is every that perfect, but that you (and the-one-that-got-away) can still love what’s flawed.Published February 14, 2014