True Love at the Movies
February 14, 2013 13 Comments
There are so many movies out that claim to be romantic comedies – and that’s just what they are – romantic jokes. So on this Valentine’s Day, I want to pay tribute to those few movies that actually speak about true love. Never mind the endless list of movies where the couple met yesterday and are forced into some silly circumstance outside their comfort zones and now 90 minutes later they’re sharing that “long-awaited” kiss as the sun sets behind them. Here is a list of movies (and shows) that feature a more old-fashioned type of love. A love that is selfless and undying. A love that overcomes all odds to keep on living.
To some, this may just be a movie about a brilliant man with a psychological disorder. To others, this movie is a really fascinating biography. Either way, it’s a movie not to be missed by anyone for any reason, though it may be too intense for children under ten. But when I watch this movie, I see a love story at its finest. Watch it from the wife’s point of view. By the world’s standards, she had every reason to leave him, and few would have blamed her. But for a woman to choose to stay married to a man as impulsive and potentially dangerous as John Nash, simply out of love – that speaks volumes to me that Ron Howard and the makers of this film, not to mention the real life couple this movie portrays, really understand what true love can be.
Another Russell Crow film. James Braddock, a real-life boxer who was forced to survive the Great Depression while protecting and providing for his wife and three kids is a role model for every man everywhere. The way he lets his kids have the last bite of dinner. The way he gets himself beat bloody to provide extra change to pay the electric bill. The way he loves his wife through it all, through the absolute worst of times in the twentieth century on American soil. James Braddock is an incredible role model for us all. His message is that nothing – not poverty, brokenness, sickness – should ever come between you and the family you vowed to protect through sickness and in health.
This classic foreign film about the gradual oppression of the Jews during the rise of Hitler will make you laugh and cry at the same time. This film really does show that life really can be beautiful even in the midst of pure evil and ugliness all around. And the Beatles (for once) were right – that sometimes, all you need is love. The first part is classic Abbot-and-Costello-type comedy and the second half is pure tragedy. But through it all, it’s love that keeps this family alive and hopeful during one of the worst eras in our recent history.
This is the third saddest movie I have ever seen (just behind Toy Story 3 and My Dog Skip). Michael Keaton stars as a terminal cancer patient who only has a short amount of time to live. The catcher is that his wife is pregnant and according to the doctors, he won’t live to see his son be born. His wife’s dedication and love for him shouts volumes through this film as a call out to all wives to be that help-mate you were called to be when you stood under that alter with your groom. Though I don’t really care for the Chinese superstitious practices Keaton chooses to undergo as an alternative cure method, nor the New Age approach the film takes toward the end, but all-in-all, it’s a worthy movie to watch to make you feel closer to your loved ones.
This is the pinnacle of greatest shows ever made in the Toy household. (At least up to season 7 before Michael leaves.) But Jim and Pam have one of those relationships that you just can’t help but root for from the very beginning. They’re the kind of couple that just… work (no pun intended). You just don’t get much better romantic character connections than this.
Wha-?? Am I really recommending a Dreamworks movie? Shocker, I know! Well, after the absolute train wreck of the third installment of the Shrek franchise, I don’t know why or how I bothered to see this at all. The only explanation is that Sarabeth must have talked me into it, and since I love her (theme of today’s post), I gave in. And though it’s not as good as the second Shrek, this fourth installment actually surprised me in an unexpected way. The first good thing the filmmakers did was exterminate any potential tributes to its predecessor (Shrek 3) that they could. In a way, they started fresh, picking right up from the second movie and gave it a better conclusion by reaffirming Shrek and Fiona’s everlasting love for one another. It’s the story most men at some point wish to find themselves in – a chance to return to bachelorhood. Shrek the Fourth is a cautionary tale about why it’s best to appreciate what you have sitting around your dinner table. (Check out my book The Man in the Box for a similar theme).
And how could I overlook one of the most remarkably romantic couples to hit the big screen since…. well, ever? In ten minutes the filmmakers meticulously stitch together a romantic life worth living as Carl and Ellie fall in love, get married, plan a family, and grow old together through the mundane occurrences of everyday life – yet, they somehow make every day an adventure. Even in her passing, Carl can’t seem to let her go, so in love with her he was. If only everyone can find this kind of romance.
Have a safe and happy Valentine’s Day, everyone, and feel free to list your favorite true-love movies.