Anyone that knows me will know that I am not a fan of chick flicks. I was never a fan of Bridget Jones’s Diary (the grammatical issues with the title are enough to annoy me alone), and I haven’t seen Love Actually, nor do I really intend to. But I do adore a good love story, and these can come within any genre of film. In that regard, I have put together my top 10 favourite love stories. Let me state, for the record, I had a very difficult time deciding on the order.
10. The Fountain (2006)
Directed by Darren Aronofsky, The Fountain depicts a love story that transcends time. Three interwoven narratives tell a tale of Tommy, Tomas and Tom the Astronaut (Hugh Jackman) fighting for their loved one, Izzi (Rachel Weisz). When Tommy fails to save her, he comes to learn an acceptance of his own mortality and the mortality of others. With a beautiful score by Clint Mansell and stunning visual effects, this complex and tragic story will leave you in awe.
9. Natural Born Killers (1994)
Not only an interesting take on a country and media obsessed by violence, Natural Born Killers, directed by Oliver Stone and written by Quentin Tarantino, tells of a dark love story between Mickey (Woody Harrelson) and Mallory (Juliette Lewis). Fleeing together from their abusive pasts towards a tyranny of mass murder and fame, once separated by the law, Mickey will go to any lengths to be reunited with his soul mate.
8. Seven Pounds (2008)
Gabriele Muccino directs Seven Pounds, a poignant film detailing an incredible journey of redemption. Unable to forgive himself for a tragic mistake, Ben (Will Smith) is willing to give everything to make it right. This is a heart wrenching film of pure unselfish devotion and unconditional love.
7. Candy (2006)
Heath Ledger and Abbie Cornish give stunning performances as Dan and Candy, a couple caught in the downward spiral of heroin addiction. Neil Armfield brings a gritty realism to this breath-taking story about love, loss, despair and self-destruction.
6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Michel Gondry directs Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a surreal, disjointed but beautifully cinematic science fiction tale of Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet). On discovering that Clementine has erased him from her memory, Joel undergoes the same procedure. When realising his mistake, Joel and Clem flee from erasure within the confines of Joel’s mind.
5. Léon: The Professional (1994)
Luc Besson brings us an atypical love story between 12-year-old Mathilda (Natalie Portman) and shy and reserved hitman Léon (Jean Reno). When her family is murdered, Mathilda is taken in by Léon who teaches her the tools of his trade. As their unusual relationship develops Mathilda professes her love for Léon, which in return he provides a fatherly love, revenge and the ultimate sacrifice.
4. Blue Valentine (2010)
Directed by Derek Cianfrance, Blue Valentine depicts the downfall of marriage between Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams) contrasted by flashbacks to their early relationship and falling in love. Blue Valentine is a contemporary and bleak look at the ravages of time on what was once an intense and passionate romance.
3. True Romance (1993)
Directed by Tony Scott and written by Quentin Tarantino, True Romance’s romantic coupling are the epitome of love at first sight. Alabama (Patricia Arquette), a prostitute hired to sleep with Clarence (Christian Slater), falls hard and fast and very shortly after, they marry. When Clarence leaves to retrieve Alabama’s clothes from her pimp and returns with a bag of cocaine they seek hope in a better future together. A story of an unwavering love countering crime and violence.
2. Harold and Maude (1971)
A timeless and unconventional love story directed by Hal Ashby and starring Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon. Young Harold has some unorthodox hobbies and likes to keep to himself, eccentric Maude is in her later years and still has a passion for living. Together they make an unlikely couple. As Maude teaches Harold to share her love of life, together they develop a deep and reviving love for each other. “Harold and Maude” is quirky, charming, funny, thoughtful and a joy to watch.
1. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Based in 1963, Brokeback Mountain is a powerful story of two men’s forbidden love in a time and place where being homosexual was more than just frowned upon. Ranch hand Ennis (Heath Ledger) and rodeo cowboy Jack (Jake Gyllenhaal) meet when working a sheep-herding job. What transpires is a love affair fraught with shame, secrecy and yearning. Ang Lee’s moving film told a more honest side of the struggles of homosexual men in a hugely masculine environment, and the tragic outcomes therein. Breath-taking and heartrending, Brokeback Mountain is not easily forgotten.