So yes, today we will focus on romance – it’s inevitable. One is fun and sweet, one is a proper drama, and the others are really, really sad. Eat Pray Love is not on this list, and I’m very proud of that. Honourable mentions would include Chocolat (2000), starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp as a gypsy, remember that one?? , and maybe Julie & Julia (2009), with Amy Adams and Meryl Streep, because it’s cute.
Movie Characters Making a New Start
04. Melanie Smooter, in Sweet Home Alabama (2002)
Let’s kick off this list with an old favourite I can’t even call a guilty pleasure because I love this clichéd, predictable, and kind of unimpressive romcom, with not one ounce of embarrassment. In Sweet Home Alabama, Reese Witherspoon is a fashion designer who made it big in New York and has a fancy fiancé (Patrick Dempsey). Problem is, she’s still married to her high school sweetheart (Josh Lucas), who lives in her small, southern hometown.
And so she goes back home, faces her past, is reminded of who she is and – spoiler! – falls back in love with her husband. Shocker. He has a dog and flies planes and is an artist. Cute southern drawl, nice tan… But wait this isn’t about the romance, okay so: I suppose in a way she gets a second fresh start, by going back to her old life? Yes, let’s roll with that.
03. Holly, in P.S. I Love You (2007)
Oh, the first heartbreaker. Yes, there’s a considerable amount of cheesiness, but at the heart of P.S. I Love You is a heartfelt story of loving and mourning. Holly (Hillary Swank), who of course is also a fashion designer – specifically, shoes – meets Gerry (Gerard Butler) in Ireland, who unfortunately dies. But he leaves a bunch of letters behind, with instructions to help her get through his death. So I guess he had some sort of disease thus knew he was going to die; I’m a little fuzzy on the details, sorry.
In the meantime, there’s this other guy played by Harry Connick Jr., but she quickly realises she doesn’t like him that way. So she goes back to Ireland, and meets another Irish guy – who is arguably hotter than Gerry – played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. You’d think this parade of suitors would be tacky, but it (kinda? not really) works. For two reasons: one, there’s A LOT more to Holly’s journey in this movie than her falling in love with some other guy; and two, a big part of moving on, of starting again after loosing Gerry, is opening up her heart, right? Aww.
Sadly I can’t recommend it, because most people seem to hate this film. So maybe watch the next one instead.
02. Matthew Morgan, in Mr. Morgan’s Last Love (2013)
Actually I forgot how much people hated Mr. Morgan’s Last Love, too! I can’t see why, I honestly adored this little known gem. Michael Caine plays a widower (Matthew) living in Paris, who meets Pauline, a young french woman played by Clémence Poésy. Now let me stop you right there because it’s not like that. Okay it may be a little like that, but all in good taste.
Matthew has been lonely and lost since his wife passed away, and Poésy’s vitality and freshness slowly breathes new life into him. His kids (Justin Kirk and Gillian Anderson) will not be so quick to embrace her, however. It’s a really sweet and moving film about seemingly simple, everyday life things, that is a bit offbeat. It is adapted from a french novel, but sadly it hasn’t been translated to english.
01. Eilis, in Brooklyn (2015)
This romance/drama is number one not because I love it more than my other picks, but because at this point I felt like this list needed at least ONE critically acclaimed movie. For your own sake. So here you go: a solid film starring Saoirse Ronan as a young Irish woman who immigrates to the US in the 50s. Can’t remember that much from it to be honest, but I know for a fact that Ronan was amazing in Brooklyn.