Rome, Italy. 2006
Those that know me well enough know I never go gaga for Valentine’s day. Nor do I care about what you’re getting your partner on this particular day. Don’t get me wrong, I actually love gift giving. But it doesn’t need to be red themed and I cringe at the idea of a single long stemmed red rose on a date – no really I had a “fix your face” moment with this in the fall. It is the loveliest of gestures, but I simply don’t like it aesthetically.
I like fresh flowers in my apartment weekly, I find beautiful lingerie empowering, single or in a relationship; if you haven’t managed to send me a loving text or email in all of the time we’ve been together I’d find it pretty uncomfortable if Hallmark gave you the cojones (and if you do feel the impulse to give me a card, they better be dope like Cleo Wade’s for Harper’s Bazaar). I’m from a family where gifts are always given and withholding them until a certain day; Christmas eve is really for the kids, but you’re to celebrate the true meaning of the holiday. That being said, I am not the Grinch that stole Valentine’s day; I love love, just not cheap chocolates and roses with inflated prices. Much like shark week, live everyday like it’s Valentine’s. Say you love me with that smile, a plane ticket (or shoes…) — I got miles as a gift once and it brought tears to me eyes. Keeping that in mind, if you can’t get away and are cuddling up and watching a movie this weekend, here are my top (in no particular order except Casablanca as number one) love stories set around the world and a lot in the US, and France, because well, Hollywood…
- Casablanca. Casablanca, Morrocco. I really had a hard time staying away from a list of all French films making this list. So many of my favorite romances are French nouveau, and here, like Casablanca, even when it’s set in Africa, it’s about Paris! “We’ll always have Paris.”
- Paris, je t’aime. Paris, France. OK, maybe this really is my number two. I love these amazingly woven vignettes taking you through all of the arrondissements of Paris and all of the different types of love.
- 2 Days in Paris. Paris, France. Last French one I promise. In the spirit of ‘N A Perfect World and different cultures coming together. Sometimes you and your partner really clash! I equally love Adam Goldberg’s neurotic New Yorker as much as Julie Delpy’s embodiment of WTFness that most American’s have felt towards their French friends or lovers.
- William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Verona Beach, California? Let’s say Verona Beach is outside of LA. Baz Luhrmann’s brilliant take on this classic. A young Claire Danes and Leo Dicaprio, who could forget that aquarium scene?
- Titanic. Atlantic Ocean. When I really am honest with myself, Leo D is my favorite actor. I even liked The Beach. I must admit, I did have a brain fart moment while writing this and though, “where the hell were they going?”
- The Notebook. Seabrook Island, South Carolina. THAT kiss.
- Love Story. New England, US. Because who really knows what “Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” means.
- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. NYC & Montauk, New York. Who does the 90s 20something fucked up girl better than Kate Winslet’s Clementine?
- Like Crazy. Los Angeles, California & London, UK. Primed to be Hollywood’s next It Girl with The Theory of Everything. My favorite Skins alum, Felicity Jones does off-beat romance like no other. That cross Atlantic romance ok, but the LA to London commute is no joke.
- Bonnie and Clyde. Great Depression Era Dust Bowl Texas, USA. Some of Americana legend at it’s best. If nothing else, they gave us hours of inspiration for Jay-Z and Queen Bey. But Warren Beatty as Clyde Barrow. Wow.
- Ever After: A Cinderella Story. Renaissance Era, France. Who doesn’t love a fairytale now and then. One of my angst teen favorites, the real story of Cinderella. And a reminder to us all that sometimes your Prince Charming can be really quite a jerk. But he’s still your guy.
- Silver Linings Playbook. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When the world fell in love with J. Law. This movie reminds you, sometimes love is really really messy. Like, “have you taken your meds?” messy.
- Before Sunrise. Vienna, Austria. This is part of an awesome trilogy of sorts and I love them all equally. Before Sunset and Before Midnight. But this first one is the epitome of that who knows what’ll happen next foreign locale romance I live for.
- Gone With the Wind. Georgia, USA. Let’s hear it for the boys. Weirdly enough, this classic is one of the rare films that breaks norms. Scarlett O’Hara is no victim of heartbreak. She holds down Tara and leaves a trail in her wake.
- Brokeback Mountain. Wyoming, USA. Finally a mainstream champion for non-hetero love and it gave us that favorite, “I wish I knew how to quit you.”
- In The Mood for Love. Hong Kong. Definitely a cult hit, this movie is visual stunning. I love the costumes.
Honorable mention to new kid on the block, The Fault in Our Stars and that defining moment in Amsterdam, plus AAE is pretty cool.
Athens, Greece. 2006 (and how I feel about basic displays of affection)