My Favorite Romantic Movies

If it weren't already obvious, I'm a book girl. When I want to experience love and romance of the fictional variety, my first instinct is to reach for a book. I'm generally not a big movie fan, especially of romance or romantic comedies. Every now and then though, my icy heart melts, and I want to see a great love story on the screen. To celebrate Valentine's Day in the only way I really do, I decided to share a list of some of my favorite romantic movies. These are just a small selection of movies I love, and I already have a list going for next year! If you are looking for a love story to watch, I personally don't think you will go wrong with any of these. These are in no particular order:

Casablanca

If I ever had to pick a favorite movie, this would likely be my choice. It takes a place in Morocco during World War II and is a beautiful love story, with elements of a war thriller and a bit of comedy thrown in. In a word, it's perfection. I don't want to say too much about this movie in case there are people that haven't seen it, but there is a reason that this one is considered a classic and is often at the top of most romantic movie lists. 

Almost Famous

I fell deeply in love with this movie the first time I saw it. On the surface, it's a coming of age story about a teenage boy that goes on tour with an up and coming band to write an article for Rolling Stone in the 1970's. To me, it's really a love letter to music and music lover's. You not only see it, but can also feel the way these people love the music, you can see how their love for music moves them and drives their actions. As someone who loves music passionately, this movie has always resonated with me in a pure and beautiful way. It also has a lot of kick ass music and a radiant Kate Hudson in her breakthrough role.

About Time

Some of you may know this, but I am not a crier. I often think that I am unable to cry, but then I come across a movie like this that literally makes me sob like a baby, and it reassures me that I am, in fact, capable of shedding tears. This sweetly charming romantic comedy is about a man who discovers he has the ability to time travel. It's funny, the characters are quirky and lovable, and the love story is sweet and oddly realistic for a movie like this. What really gets me though, is the relationship between the man and his father. Parent-child relationships seem to be my kryptonite, and this movie gets me every time.

Dangerous Beauty

Another confession: I love history. Always have. I love it so much, that I actually got my degree in Renaissance Studies, my favorite time period. With that said, it's probably no surprise, then, that one of my favorite romance movies is a historical one taking place in Renaissance Venice. Dangerous Beauty is the story of the most famous courtesan of her time and the man she is in love with. It's beautiful and intriguing. It's also based on a true story (though obviously some events have been altered for cinematic purposes), which I loved. I saw this movie for the first time when I was in high school, and it's been a favorite ever since.

Penelope

This modern fairy tale is about a young woman cursed with some of the physical features of a pig. A search for a way to break the curse also becomes a path to self-acceptance. The story and message are sweet, it's quite funny, and Christina Ricci and James McAvoy have a great chemistry that jumps off the screen. When I want a movie that is going to make me feel good and smile, this is often the one I go to. It's beautiful, with a magical quality and feeling. It looks like what I think a fairy tale steeped in reality would. As the movie progresses, you get so wrapped up in Penelope's journey that you begin to care less and less if she ever breaks the curse.

Wall-E

I avoided watching this movie for a while. I am not a big animated movie fan, and what little I had heard about this movie just wasn't a draw for me. Then my brother convinced me to just give it a try, I did, and about five minutes in I was mesmerized and sold. This movie is not only one of the best movies I have ever seen, it is one of the best love stories I have ever seen. Two robots fall in love. It sounds so ridiculous and silly, but in reality, it is so heart-wrenching and touching. Don't let the fact that there is almost no dialogue in the first hour of the movie. It doesn't need it, and you won't miss it. Weird related fact: My husband and I love and related to this movie so much that he actually got a scene from the end credits tattooed on his arm.

Crazy, Stupid, Love

A sweet and hilarious romantic comedy about love in different points of life. You have the young boy experiencing his first love with his babysitter (who doesn't even know he exists in that way), the married couple finding themselves at what seems to be the end of their marriage, and a young woman not really sure what she wants when it comes to love. I found myself laughing and rooting for all of the main characters, and relating to them all on different levels. For me, it brought up all the sad, magical, and happy feelings that love at its different stages engender. Oh, and did I mention Ryan Gosling without his shirt on?

Pillow Talk

This is possibly my favorite romantic comedy. Of all time. Doris Day is perfection as an independent woman embroiled in a feud with composer Rock Hudson over his constant use of their shared telephone line. Once Hudson's Brad sees Day's Jan, he is smitten, and creates an alter ego to attempt to seduce her. Hilarity ensues. This is by far the best of the Day and Hudson pairings, and you can just tell by their on-screen chemistry why two more films with them as romantic leads were made. While it's fairly obvious where this will all lead, I couldn't help but find myself wanting to see it all go down and see how it would all be tied up. Spoiler alert: it ends with laughs, of course. 

Splendor in the Grass

Natalie Wood. Warren Beatty. Need I say more? Ok, I do? Here it is: Love and sexual repression in 1920's Kansas. Wood and Beatty play young lover's crumbling under the pressure of their families expectations and the sexual repression of the time. It's angsty, passionate, and sad. It is also beautiful and compelling. It stayed with me long after I watched it for the first time, and I loved it.

Secretary

This is probably the least traditional of the movies on this list. When I first watched this, I had no idea what to expect, and I remember thinking that I had never seen a love story like this. It is raw and real. This was probably the first time I had really experienced BDSM in any capacity, and while new to me (I was all of 20 when I saw this for the first time), I couldn't help but notice how normal the relationship is. While it could have be portrayed as an oddity or something other or strange, it is obvious that this is what comes natural to these characters, and it is indeed romantic and dare I say, sweet. And oh so fucking sexy. On top of the relationship that emerges between the two main characters, I absolutely adore how Maggie Gyllenhaal's Lee comes into her own as a person.