In recognition of the romance of the holiday season, and the fact that I’ve recently been ensconced in romantic holiday movies on ABC Family and the Hallmark Channel, I’ve been thinking about a few of my favorite, random movie scenes lately… and thought I’d share them with you. What do ya think?
[SPOILER ALERT: Read no further if you have not yet seen any of these movies and would eventually like to do so.]
These are in no particular order:
1) Although I much prefer the 1995 Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle BBC production, the 2005 movie version of Pride & Prejudice, starring Kiera Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen, has beautiful imagery and cinematography. Not to mention… there’s this scene near the end where (oh, my gosh!) Mr. Darcy is walking across a field toward Elizabeth with the sun rising behind him. He starts off far in the distance, striding ever nearer, relentlessly, with hope (but not great confidence) in his heart, determination and expectation. I love how the camera watches him coming ever nearer and gives him time to do it. Can you imagine watching the man you were desperately in love with crossing a field for you at sun up, all because he couldn’t wait to see you and tell you he loved you and see if you loved him, too? I’m just sayin’… that scene made my heart flutter, and it wasn’t even happening to me! Watch a clip.
2) Speaking of Kiera Knightley… there’s a scene in Love Actually that hones in on one of the stickier points of love. I’m not talking about the scene where she runs out into the street to kiss Mark (Andrew Lincoln); I’m not even talking about the one where Mark is on her doorstep telling her to be quiet so her husband won’t know it’s him telling her he loves her. The scene that I really love is when she goes to Mark’s apartment to see the video footage he took of her at her wedding. Midway through watching it, she realizes he is secretly in love with her — he doesn’t hate her after all! Oh, the joy, embarrassment and torture of being mere inches away from someone you’re secretly in love and whom you will never have. And now they know. GREAT. (Not.) Watch a clip.
3) While we’re talking about rocky relationships, how about Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr in An Affair to Remember? That last scene gets me every time. Not only because Nickie finally sees the image he painted of Terry hanging right there in her boudoir… but because of something that happens slightly earlier than that. It’s the part where Nickie is about to leave her apartment and he touches Terry’s hand one final time to say good-bye — the same hand he had pressed a kiss into when they disembarked their cruise ship months ago. That time, though, he was kissing her hand as a way of saying, “I love you and I promise I’ll be there for you.” Now, at the end of the movie, he’s holding her hand and all but drops it, almost carelessly… her fingers wiggle a moment, as if still reaching for him, but then give up, resigned to their unmoved place on the sofa — Terry wants so much more for Nickie than she can provide. Sigh. Merry Christmas. Watch a clip… from “Sleepless in Seattle”. 😉
4) Moving right along to… Before Sunrise. Can’t even tell you how much I love this movie. Oddly, it came out in the same year as the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice. (Such a romantic year. — ha) So… one of my favorite scenes from this movie is sad and silent and musical and glowing and dark all at once. It’s morning and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) must go home today. All night long he and Celine (Julie Delpy) have wandered around Vienna getting to know each other. Now, as they await the time they must part from one another, the camera moves us (without them) back through the city to re-experience the places we visited with them. Places that are now empty and still and simple and virtually meaningless, yet hold the entire moment-by-moment, profound experiences of their evening together. It’s like we’re visiting a historic site where some huge event happened, but there’s nothing left to show for it. They are nobody special, except to each other (and us), and no one in that city (other than us and them) will ever remember that they passed through it. And so it ends…. But… watch this scene from “Before Sunset”.
Extra Romantic Scene #1: They’ve just met and hopped on a bus; Jesse reaches out, but then immediately retracts his hand to keep from brushing the stray hair back from Celine’s face. (<<I’m certain this was just an instinctive Ethan thing to do… but I love this kind of natural nuance.)
Extra Ultra-Romantic Scene #2: They’re standing together in the listening booth at the record shop glancing awkwardly back and forth at each other, just missing each other’s glances, as Kath Bloom sings “Come Here”.
(Watch the trailer for Before Midnight — the third part of the story.)
5) Speaking of skipping around town… let’s hop across the Atlantic again, this time to Ireland, where Anna (Amy Adams) is taking a leap of romantic faith in Leap Year. Besides the gorgeous setting of this movie, I am also enamored with the scene where Anna returns to face Declan (Matthew Goode) and let him know she’d like to not make any plans with him. And then he leaves. And, granted, you pretty much already know why he leaves, but… still, he leaves you hanging… and you can’t wait for him to tell you/her why. (PS: I love her dress in this scene… so adorable.) Watch a clip.
6) Next, you’ve got Serendipity, where — for some crazy reason (known as Fate and the stupidity of youth) — Jonathan (John Cusack) and Sara (Kate Beckinsale) meet, connect with each other, and then never exchange their contact information with each other. Years later, they are both regretting that decision and longing for something more in their romantic lives. (There’s a slight tinge of Before Sunrise in there, in case ya didn’t notice.) Cue the magic and allure of New York City, a sky full of stars, a scattering of snow flurries, a pair of black gloves and Nick Drake singing in the background and you’ve finally got this pair back together again. Watch a clip.
7) Definitely, Maybe. Yeah, so how much more obvious does April (Isla Fisher) have to be for Will (Ryan Reynolds) to get a clue? Thank goodness all things work out for the best in their own time. My favorite scene is when Will finds April’s book (Jane Eyre) and — years later — begrudgingly, but honestly, explains himself to her. (There’s an inkling of Serendipity in there, in case ya didn’t notice.) “The human heart has hidden treasures, in secret kept, in silence sealed.” Watch a clip.
Well, there are others, of course, but that’s it for now. (See 5 more.)
Happy romantic movie watching this holiday season!