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What are your five favorite movies with romance or romantic elements?
I’d have to say Love Actually, Emma, The Notebook, Braveheart, and Pride and Prejudice.
Love Actually: I adored all the characters in this movie, but especially liked Jamie (Colin Firth) and Aurelia (Lucia Moniz.) So many sweet, funny scenes as they attempted to communicate, getting it wrong but still unable to deny the growing attraction to each other. My favorite scene is when he leaves the awkward family Christmas and instead flies back to her, making his declaration in the restaurant in broken Portuguese. SO romantic! And then it turns out she took English lessons ‘Just in cases’. Swoon. Love conquers all – even the language barrier.
Emma: Ohhhh, Mr. Knightley (Jeremy Northam.) Both stuffy and sweet, a real gentleman’s gentleman Regency hero. It is equal parts annoying and sniffle-worthy as he drops subtle, awkward hints about his feelings for Emma that she keeps missing. But then comes the last scene in the movie with one of the truly great romantic lines: ‘Marry me, my wonderful, darling friend.’
The Notebook: What a perfectly cast movie. Noah (Ryan Gosling) and Allie (Rachel McAdams) were just brilliant together as the working class man and his society princess trying to break free. Although there are SO many fabulous scenes, a random one sticks out for me. Again, near the end, when Allie has to choose between her fiancé Lon and Noah. She pulls up outside Noah’s house in her car, hops out with her suitcases, and gives him the big shrug. Not a word is said but it captures one of the key essences of love – the heart wants what it wants, even if on paper it seems like absolutely the wrong choice.
Braveheart: Before the patriotism and raging bloody battles, there was an incredibly sweet romance between William Wallace (Mel Gibson) and Murron MacClannough (Catherine McCormack) childhood friends reunited as adults. Their courtship is just delicious, tender yet full of wonderful crisp banter that says their minds are in accord as much as their hearts. The scene when they sit together on the rock and he offers to teach her to read is gorgeous enough, but when they arrive back at her home and he presents her with the thistle she gave him as a child at his father and brother’s funeral…oh my.
Pride and Prejudice: I love the dynamics between Lizzie Bennett (Keira Knightley) and Mr. Darcy (Mathew McFadyen). She is so smart and witty and outspoken. He is stuffy and rigid and honorable. They shouldn’t work as a couple, but they do—and it’s because both learn to look below the surface, and trust their hearts when circumstances around them make them doubt what they feel. The scene at the end where he strides toward her in the dewy grass, now slightly unbuttoned and purposeful, and she knows he has done her and her family the greatest of favors and is open to seeing the kind heart beneath his crisp exterior…SWOON.
I’d say I thought about all these movies a bit while writing The Devil’s Submission. Devil is kind of a raunchy hybrid Knightley/Darcy, in that he is rigid and reserved, a bookish man whose submissive need for pain with his pleasure weighs heavily on his heart. He is in desperate need of a strong, sassy lady to lure him out of his shell and show him the way to happiness. Eliza, his estranged wife has one heck of a battle on her hands. Luckily she is more than bold and brave enough for the task. I also love the fact that when their walls come down, they can really talk. I like my scorching hot lust with a large side of friendship, I think that is what ices the happily ever after cake. The knowledge that they like as well as want each other, which is a pretty strong foundation for lasting love.