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The Talon’s Top 5 Romance Movies to Celebrate Valentine’s Week in Style

February is, without a doubt, a month fully dedicated to lots of hugs, kisses, chocolate, love for your friends and families, and especially for good ole romance movies. There have been tons of exceedingly noteworthy romance movies that have captured the feeling of the holidays throughout the year..  

We at the Talon put together the top five romance films that are perfect for watching while bundled up next to your special someone.  

The Notebook  

The Notebook is a 2004 American romantic drama film directed by Nick Cassavetes, with a screenplay by Jeremy Leven and Jan Sardi. It is based on the 1996 novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks. 

The movie stars well-known actors Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as a young couple who fall in love in the 1940s. Their story is read from a notebook in the present day by an elderly man (played by James Garner), telling the tale to a fellow nursing home resident (played by Gena Rowlands, the director Cassavetes’ mother).  

Even though The Notebook initially received mixed reviews, it slowly but surely became an iconic go-to romance film. The plot itself is exceptionally touching and tends to be a real tear-jerker, which only adds to the beauty of the epic and very genuine romance between the two young lovers. 

The Notebook, filmed and set in South Carolina, does not hesitate to deliver visually stunning backdrops to the already beautiful love story. Noah and Ally’s love story truly has withstood the test of time and will continue to be a classic that romance lovers will swoon and cry over for decades.

Titanic  

Titanic is a 1997 American epic romantic film directed, written, produced, and co-edited by James Cameron. Incorporating historical and fictionalized aspects, it is based on accounts of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. It stars Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio as members of different social classes who fall in love aboard the ship during its ill-fated maiden voyage.

 Yet another classic romance movie, nobody can deny that Titanic will never be forgotten — not only because of the unfortunate incident that took place in the North Atlantic Ocean on April 15th, 1912, but also because of the very moving and sentimental movie based on the incident. 

This film does an impressive job of describing the events of the actual Titanic incident, while also showing its emotional impact on its passengers.

 In other words, this love story interspersed with human loss conveys the emotional impact of the disaster incredibly, and Winslet and DiCaprio’s performances did not hesitate to portray this. In addition, this film excels in its visual effects, showing the ship’s grandeur accompanied by a stunning musical score.

Before Sunrise  

Before Sunrise, a romantic drama directed by Richard Linklater and co-written by him and Kim Krizan was the first film of an illustrious trilogy. 

It follows the beginnings of Jesse, played by Ethan Hawke, and Céline, played by Julie Delpy, as they strike up a conversation on a train, Jesse on his way to Vienna to catch a flight back to the United States and Céline on her way to Paris for university. 

When they reach Vienna, Jesse proposes that Céline get off the train with him and roam around Vienna with him before his flight the following day. 

The film could be considered minimalistic due to it being about 100 minutes of lengthy conversations and monologues that the two characters have throughout the rest of that evening before sunrise the next day. The two explore topics such as time, life, death, and self-discovery, among other ideas. 

This is the perfect movie for the people watchers of the world and those who adore the idea of finding “your person.” 

Both characters feel authentic, whether because of Jesse’s bumbling awkwardness, which contrasts Céline’s natural grace, or the meaningless conversation intertwined with the borderline philosophical discussions between them. Not only is their conversation genuine and raw but so is their chemistry. 

The movie can sometimes seem slow, but every interaction and experience Jesse and Céline encounter does nothing but add to the film and the natural beauty of this once-in-a-lifetime “click” that Jesse and Céline have. Contrary to what it seems, the movie is not entirely improv but was meticulously scripted, which is undoubtedly a brilliant display of the actors’ and writers’ talent. 

West Side Story  

West Side Story is a musical conceived by Jerome Robbins with music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and a book by Arthur Laurents. Inspired by William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, the story is set in the mid-1950s in the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City, then a multiracial, blue-collar neighborhood. 

The musical explores the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds. 

The Sharks, who are recent migrants from Puerto Rico, and the Jets, who are white, vie for dominance of the neighborhood as the police try to keep order. The young protagonist, Tony, a former member of the Jets and best friend of the gang’s leader, Riff, falls in love with Maria, the sister of Bernardo, the leader of the Sharks. 

The dark theme, sophisticated music, extended dance scenes, tragic love stories, and focus on social problems marked a turning point in musical theatre.  

If there is one romance plot that will never die out, it’s this one. Based on the classic tragedy known as Romeo and Juliet, the film West Side Story takes on the plotline of two young lovers that are madly in love with each other but must, unfortunately, suffer the consequences of each of their family’s hatred towards each other. 

Similar to most adaptations of the Shakespearean classic, this movie does a truly fantastic job. Like most others on this list, the film is visually stunning, but its musical value really sets West Side Story apart. 

The musical was only recently retired from Broadway in 2020 after 59 years, but soon after made into yet another movie-musical just a year later, genuinely showing that if any romance musical is going to withstand the test of time, it will be West Side Story.

Grease  

Grease is a 1978 American musical romantic comedy film based on the 1971 musical of the same name by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. 

Written by Bronte Woodard (adaptation by Allan Carr) and directed by Randal Kleiser in his theatrical feature film debut, the film depicts the lives of greaser Danny Zuko and Australian transfer student Sandy Olsson, who develop an attraction for each other during a summer romance. The film stars John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John as Danny and Sandy.  

Grease, yet another well-known classic, is undoubtedly a rom-com for musical lovers. Coupled with a summer vibe that will make you miss the summer in cold February weather, the movie is a must-watch musical. 

The film also has a delightful soundtrack with karaoke classics like “You’re The One That I Want” and “Beauty School Dropout,” which, quite frankly, makes the film even better. Although like most films of the time and before, it has instances of problematic behavior that are not okay, Grease will always be among some of the classics regarding musicals and romances.

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