Lifestyle Asia movie recommendations: from Tiffany’s to Seattle, five of the most romantic movies to binge watch on Netflix this Valentine’s Day.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
No list about romantic movies is every complete without Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which isn’t only the essential Valentine’s Day movie, but the essential Audrey Hepburn movie as well. The 1961 Blake Edwards-directed classic follows the tale of gold digger Holly Golightly (Hepburn in her finest performance) and her escapades around New York City. Holly longs to marry for a rich man, thinking that wealth and comfort is the only way out of a depressing life. Cue-in: George Peppard as Paul Varjak, Holly’s new neighbor, who is hopelessly in love with her (but happens to be poor). Paul has demons of his own. Despite judging Holly’s wild ways, he too has a wealthy older woman behind his back making sure that he’s living comfortably as a penniless writer. The 1960s never looked more beautiful with stunning movie stars, clothes designed by Hubert de Givenchy (we’ve obsessed about it over here once), and the haunting score of the great Henry Mancini.
Down with Love (2003)
Reminiscent of the raunchy Doris Day-Rock Hudson sex comedies of the 1950s and 60s, Down with Love is a forgotten romantic-comedy gem from 2003 that still holds up pretty well today. Renee Zellweger stars as Barbra Novak, a feminist writer who pens the international best-selling, women-empowering self-help book Down with Love. Along with her new found fame, comes a promise to never fall in love with a man. But what happens when a handsome, misogynistic editor from a men’s magazine decides that Barbra is his next target? Comedy gold! Ewan McGregor co-stars as Catcher Block, the debonair Hudson-esque modern man schooled by Zellweger’s anti-man-power-woman (I know it’s confusing, but the movie will do everything in its power to do that to you! And oh, what fun it is!). The clothes are as fabulous as they come, and the story is full of many, zany twist and turns that will have you laughing and enticed for a total of 101 minutes.
The End of the Affair (1999)
Julianne Moore’s stunning portrayal of a woman torn between her lover and her husband really makes The End of the Affair a sight to behold. Playing Sarah Miles, Moore gives an Oscar-worthy performance. But fair warning: the film is not for the depressed. After a viewing of the Neil Jordan-directed flick, we can’t promise that you won’t be in an emotional funk. Legendary character actor Ralph Fiennes co-stars as Maurice Bendrix, a writer who begins an affair with the married Sarah during World War II, London. When Sarah stops their transgressions for no reason, Maurice hires a private investigator to follow her. As the mystery unfolds, so does the emotion. It is a shocking roller-coaster of feelings to discover Sarah’s true reasons for ending their passionate affair. NOTE: the payoff of the ending is worth it. Don’t be intimated by the subject matter!
The Great Gatsby (2013)
Based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s iconic novel of the same name, The Great Gatsby isn’t only a great love story between two star-crossed lovers, but also a great love story for the Lost Generation of the 1920s. Miles better than the 1974 flick starring Robert Redford, Leonardo DiCaprio takes on the role of Jay Gatsby, a man hopelessly in love with a wealthy, married woman named Daisy Buchanan. Meeting at their youth, Gatsby dedicates his life to getting wealthy and throwing wild parties in hopes that Daisy will notice his existence. The story ends in a bitterly sad note, but viewers are left with the feeling that F. Scott Fitzgerald intended them to feel: hope. The tall tale of Gatsby is one for the ages, and director Baz Luhrmann brings it to the screen with such style that the visional imagery cannot be removed from the brain. Gorgeous music, including Lana Del Ray’s famous love ballad Young and Beautiful, populate the film’s soundtrack, leaving the heart yearning for more than a feeling, but a life as glamorous and tragic.
Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
Everybody knows that the film partnerships of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan are almost, always a class act. In their second collaboration, Sleepless in Seattle, viewers are treated to another romantic night out. Hanks plays widower Sam Baldwin, who gets caught up telling his romance with his deceased wife on a psychiatric radio show broadcasted all over America. One of the listeners: a reporter named Annie Reed, who is but weeks away from being married “the man of her dreams”. The idea of Sam’s love story continues to play for her head, and she becomes obsessed with the idea of meeting him on top of the Empire State Building on Valentine’s Day (similar to the equally romantic 1957 flick An Affair to Remember). The plot thickens when Sam’s young son Jonah (Ross Malinger), who longs for his dad to find love again, takes matters in his own hands.
By Chino R. Hernandez