Saturday 13 February 2010


I’ve been meaning to put up such a list for quite some time now. Unfortunately I really believe I’ll forget if I don’t put it up now-in the disgustingly auspicious occasion of Valentine’s Day- proof that man has finally put a price on love. 

I have always aspired to be film critic, though now I prefer the profession of a filmmaker. Nevertheless, being raised up in a purely Bollywood environment, the most impactful genre in my life has been that of romance. Love makes the world go round, films seem more magical and Valentine’s Days more painful.

This is my list of the best romance films ever (in no particular order as I am incapable of choosing a best movie):

     ©     Titanic- Lets start with the obvious. The Epic Movie. I refuse to find Avatar better than this. To find love in one of the greatest tragedies that the world has known is incredible. This film covers the star-crossed lovers theme and brings to us two absolutely unforgettable performances- Kate Winslet is divine as Rose, the rich girl who hates her life, and of course, one of the greatest male characters of all time the gorgeous, protective, artistic and just sublimely human in every way-Jack Dawson played to perfection by Leonardo Di Caprio. This film was the biggest rage ever. The flying scene, the “I’m the king of the world”, the old Rose, the ship, the effects, the emotions, the sinking scene, the villain, all the characters, the ambiguous ending and of course Celine Dion’s ballad My Heart Will Go On cannot be but remembered forever. Jack and Rose’s love is one which will be remembered forever.

 ©     Wicker Park- True I watched this in my Josh Hartnett obsession period, but it has ended up becoming one of my favourites. This movie is more of an obsession-based movie than a love-based one, but in view of my obsession with love, I do not wish to differ. This is the story of a man whose greatest love in life leaves him without telling him anything. But two years, down the line, he sees her again and seeks to find an answer and their love again, despite being on the brink of an engagement to another woman. Josh Hartnett is simply superb in this film. One can feel his obsession, his love, his loss, his anguish and his happiness as one’s own. Diane Kruger is like a mystical creature in the movie, with whom one cannot help but fall in love with. Matthew Lillard is absolutely adorable as Josh’s best friend and the only unfortunate character in the movie. And obviously Rose Byrne is excellent as the obsessed, envious and desperate tragic villain, a character I strongly suspect I’m going to resemble later on in life. The music is amazing and the ending unforgettable.

©     Moulin Rouge- “To believe in Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and above all things, Love.” Need I say more? As I said earlier, I am incapable of choosing a favourite movie but if my life depended on it, Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge would be my answer. In the future I might be like Rose Byrne, but if I lived in the 19th century, and was a man, who could sing- I would have been Ewan McGregor’s character Christian. I, the penniless, hopeless romantic who had to fall for the most beautiful woman in the world- Satine. Nicole Kidman’s Oscar-nominated role as a Parisian courtesan is the ephemeral object of every man’s desire. The diabolical Duke is your everyday villain who sings Just Like A Virgin. Add a whole lot of crazy, eccentric characters and popular 20th century songs and viola, you get Moulin Rouge. Seems easy to describe but it really isn’t. Even after watching it for like 50 times. Everything, and I mean everything in this movie moves me to such an extent. The idea, the setting, the songs, the characters, the filming style- everything. This film made the world a simpler and more beautiful place for me as I truly understood what it meant to be a Romantic. After all,
           “The Greatest Thing you’ll Ever Learn, is Just to Love and Be Loved in Return.”

©     Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind- The name is from the poem, as posted earlier, Eloisa to Abelard in which Eloisa prays to God to remove the memories of her lost love Abelard from her heart. In the movie however, Clementine removes the memories of her love-hate relationship with her present boyfriend Joel from her brain using a new technology on an impulse. The shocked and heartbroken Joel decides to do the same with her. Easy and scientific one might say. Except matters of the heart cannot be removed by destroying certain brain cells. This is an absolutely spectacular movie about love, hate, memories and the labyrinth that is life. Clementine is the brilliant Kate Winslet again- a blue/orange haired impulsive woman. Joel is played by funny man Jim Carrey who embraces the very different role of lovelorn and confused Joel. Their love is tumulous, cute and so weird and different, just like the movie, that it is completely believable. The cinematography is ground-breaking and the ending is one of the best and most realistic ever.

©     Edward Scissorhands- Tim Burton + Johnny Depp + Winona Ryder + Scissorhands = Pure Movie Magic. This absolutely incredible tale of a robotic social outcast with scissors for hands, who finds home and love in a colour-coordinated little sunny town because of a makeup sales-woman, is one of the best ever. This film made huge careers for Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. My personal favourite Depp character, Edward Scissorhands is an incredible man whose innocence, talent and love for the beautiful Kim moves one and all. One of my favourite moments in the film is when he makes the snow figure for her and how she dances in the snow. I also love the way Winona Ryder narrates in the end, “Sometimes you can still catch me dancing in the snow.” I just love this film for all that it is- dark, magical and lovely.

©     Forrest Gump- Though most people do not consider it a romantic movie, I seriously consider this Robert Zemeckis-Tom Hanks classic one. The narration, the brilliant cultural references, the storyline, everything is just to help progress the simple story of lifelong love. Forrest loved his Jenny and did everything for her. Though he has mental defects and doesn’t see life the way most of us do, but his devotion to the most important and necessary thing in life is extraordinary- love. His simplicity in absurd conditions and situations is the supposed idea, but it is only through his true love for Jenny and later their son Forrest, which makes us see that he understood all and felt all. I love Tom Hanks in this role and I love Robin Wright Penn as Jenny. This is an extraordinary film about love and thus I consider it as one of my favourites.

©     Pride and Prejudice- I strongly refer to the 2005 one with Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet and Matthew Macfadyen as Fitzwilliam Darcy. True there are other adaptations of the best-known Jane Austen novel, but nothing comes as close to the wonderful text as this one. The historic battle for pride, prejudice, and love has been read and re-read for ages. Keira Knightley’s Lizzy is sweet, caring, unconventional, and full of personal pride. Mr. Darcy is rich, cold, and handsome yet loving. This is the only truly brilliant Austen novel and watching t played out on screen is just brilliant!

©     Casablanca- For many, this will be considered as saving the best for last. Lets face it- this movie is just AWESOME! Forget Jack and Rose and Clementine and Joel and Christian and Satine and Forrest and Jenny- it was always Rick and Ilsa, i.e. Bogart and Bergman. This is the classic of all classics. Even as time goes by, we will never forget this film. The true origin of love lost and found comes from here. Set in Casablanca, Morocco, with the backdrop of the Second World War, we are instantly drawn to the aloof and charming owner of Rick’s Americano played by the legend Humphrey Bogart. While we are in awe of our hero, we are mesmerized by the introduction of the heroine- the goddess, Ingrid Bergman. Their love is legendary. This film is EPIC! And the line “Here’s looking at you kid” blows Gone With The Wind out of the friggin universe.

With that quite informal summary, I have come to an end of my list. Other notable mentions would be Memoirs of a Geisha, Unfaithful, and Vicky Christina Barcelona. One may notice that most of the movies, 5 out of 8 to be exact don’t have a conventional happy ending. Well, I love my tragic endings because for me, they make the movie so much more real.  

Friday 12 February 2010


"I would walk 500 miles
   And I would walk 500 more
   Just to be the man who walks a thousand miles
   To fall down at your door"

This is the chorus from I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers, which is played during the opening credits of the movie Benny and Joon. At the end of the credits, we are shown a long-haired-top-hat-wearing-Buster-Keaton-reading Johnny Depp. Instant satisfaction.

Benny, played by Aidan Quinn is car mechanic with an artistic schizophrenic sister Joon, played by Mary Stuart Masterson. He takes care of her and thus has no life. But Joon still doesn't show any mental improvement and so he starts considering sending her to a special home.

Enter Sam, played by Johnny Depp- a clown of a man. Joon loses a game of poker and has to keep Sam, much to Benny’s annoyance. But Sam proves to be useful the house. He makes bread-rolls tap dance, he makes his toasts using the steam iron, he climbs trees and does Chaplin-like performances just to make Benny and Joon happy. Needless to say, Joon falls for him and he for her. Poor Benny can’t hit it off with pretty Ruthy played by Julianne Moore.

When Sam and Joon declare their love to Benny, he gets angry with Sam and throws him out. While he is out to buy tapioca to make Joon feel better, she and Sam run away. But Joon has a breakdown in the bus and is taken away to a hospital.

Joon’s doctor doesn’t let her see anyone. Both sad and depressed by Joon’s absence, Sam and Benny decide to join forces and get Joon out of the hospital. While Sam distracts the ward boys, Benny tries to talk to Joon. He tells her he wants her to have an apartment of her own and now likes Sam but she doesn’t believe him. She thinks that she has scared him away, and as Benny is explaining that that’s not the case, her doctor comes.

Meanwhile, Sam is told about the window to Joon’s room by Benny’s friend who worked in the hospital. Benny and Joon’s doctor inside are telling her to decide what she wants. As they are talking, Sam climb’s up the walls (in a non-Spiderman style), takes a hanging swing-kind-of-thing and at Joon’s final deciding moment swings by her window. It’s pure magic!

Then what, Joon tells the nosy doctor good bye and starts living in Ruthy’s apartment with Sam. The last scene of the film shows us Benny leaving a bunch of roses by their door as Sam teaches Joon how to steam iron toasts.

Narrating Benny and Joon isn’t remotely as impactful as watching it. Especially because the genius of Johnny Depp is indescribable in words; it can only be seen and felt and worshipped. I honestly believe that Tim Burton must have decided then and there itself that he is going to play the Mad Hatter in the oh so very eagerly anticipated Alice In Wonderland. Sam is one of Johnny Depp’s best role to date, despite the fact that which one isn’t. It is absolutely amazing to watch him and all his eccentricities. Sam is such a dream man, after all which girl doesn’t want a guy who can clean the house, make her laugh, wears suspenders and a top hat, and looks like that.

This movie is as sweet as possible. The subject matter is in reality so complex and delicate but with all the added charm, it is one of the best romcoms of the past century. It’s magical in so many ways- Sam in himself is somewhat a Prince Charming. Mary Stuart is also quite convincing in her role. Joon is soft and caring and weird and quirky. She and Sam fit together.

Aidan Quinn was kind of a bore and the only downside to this movie. Even the nosy doctor and Sam’s evil cousin are more interesting. Julianne Moore looks spectacularly pretty and well that’s about it. This was a complete Johnny Depp film and should be watched by all the lovers of him, romance, and life in general.