In my previous article I took Hollywood’s creativity to the whipping post. But I would like to clarify the fact that just because the big budget summer blockbuster films have lacked as of late, that doesn’t mean ALL originality is nonexistent. When it comes to matters of the heart, screenwriters have done some pretty wonderful work. In this post I am to set out to list my top 5 favorite love stories of the last 20 years. These are, of course, much more avant guard love stories. There are many others that I love, but takes a much more traditional path. These definitely do not go down that path. I don’t want to use the phrase Warning: Spoilers but things will be revealed if you don’t know them, but there are no flat out plot giveaways.
5. Good Will Hunting
This comes in at number 5 only because it resembles the more traditional romance movie. But it also deserves to be on this list because the romantic angle isn’t the main focus of the film. In fact, it isn’t even the main relationship in the film. The relationship between Will and Skylar ranks as the third most important relationship in the film, behind Will and Chuckie and obviously behind Will and Sean. But it is Will’s new understanding of the other two relationships and the fact he has learned things in a way he never knew existed or was possible that make the relationship between him and Skylar so special.
While the outcome of what happens between Will and Skylar is left to our own imagination, it is the line Will gives Sean at the end (which is Sean’s original line) that makes the love seem possible and works. I got to go see about a girl.
4. Midnight In Paris
A list about non traditional love stories would be incomplete without a contribution from, who is quite possibly our greatest living film writer and director, Woody Allen. Despite being a personal all time favorite. An all time list of this topic would be consumed by Allen’s work. None the less we are at a top 5 list of the last 20 years (which Allen still has a crap load of films in that period) I felt this was his best under this category.
The fantasy story of a writer fascinated with the past and the times and work of the roaring 20’s is mysteriously transported to that time, meets all his heroes and attempts to be a part of their world. As he begins falling for a woman in this time he discovers that those he admires are as unsatisfied with their times as he is with his. When transported to what they consider the most brilliant and romantic time, he realizes, the past is always more romantic. He makes it his goal to make HIS times more romantic and to do them justice.
He loses a relationship over his adventures with the thought that he had found everything that he wanted in friends and women in the past only to find that isn’t the case.
3. Up In The Air
A perfect storm of actors and a writer/director ALL at one of the peaks of their careers. Jason Reitman was without a doubt one of the directors who was skyrocketing to the top at the time this came out. He was coming off two highly acclaimed films in, Thanks For Smoking and Juno. Up In The Air brought him to the fore and everyone took notice. While all this happened, the film kept George Clooney’s brilliant streak going and made instant stars out of Anna Kendrick and Vera Farmiga. With 6 major Oscar nominations, including all three main principle actors and Jason Reitman for writing and another for directing, the movie was a serious force.
The greatness of the film is its reality and common ground with its audience. Set in the world of corporate America during a serious economic downturn as well as those that will live on the road and commit everything to their work as well as those who will do the same for what they think is the perfect relationship. When things don’t go as planned, it forces everyone to step back and analyze their lives and view of love.
The newest film on the list is the work of such an underrated and even overlooked writer and director in Spike Jonze. The way Spike’s career has evolved is a wonderful story in itself. On Oscar night he got his just due with two nominations and a win for writing this film.
A slightly futuristic and even maybe a Sci fi film, it tells the story of the tract of human society and our dependence on technology and information. It asks two questions. The first question is, as technology develops, is it possible to find what we desire when it comes to matters of the heart in that world? The other question is, is it possible to love someone the right way on a purely mental capacity?
With brilliant performances from Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams and even from JUST the sultry voice of Scarlett Johansson. The emotions shown, discussed and felt throughout the experience of this film are as original as when the world was first given Romeo and Juliet. It is beautiful, inspiring and deeply heartbreaking all over the place.
1. Lost In Translation
Despite what his legions of fans already knew, this was the film that showed EVERYONE that Bill Murray can act and is possibly the greats cultural icon we have right now. He is almost larger than life, until you see him interact with everyday people, be it fans or not.
When Sofia Coppola decided to step behind the camera, she without a doubt was going to have a shadow cast over her that belongs to her iconic father, Francis Ford Coppola. With much acclaim and respect before this film, she garnered all that she would need and more with this film.
On the surface, the story of an actor passed middle aged forming a relationship with a young newlywed, sounds preposterous. But that is where the brilliance of every aspect of this film comes into play. The blatant sex, romance or anything like that is what gives it truth. The two, never use the word love when referring to each other. You can’t help but feel the way they understand, not only each other, but their situation. The film being set anywhere else but a place where they feel like the only two outsiders is another major factors that give the film credence.
The final scene is where everything you feel comes together and yet the understanding of everything is known. It leaves you with a mystery that makes you feel like the depth of their relationship is completely possible.