August 14, 2013

Love, and/or Circumstances Make for the Greatest Flawed Romance Movie Adaptations, EVER!

Salve Omni!

At last, Dear Reader...a new post!  Last week was crazy hectic, and the weekend was filled with lots of birthday fun (and craziness and lack of sleep), but now things are crawling at-a-snail's-pace towards normalcy again...well, I hope!

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about love (awww!) and relationships and the elements that attract and connect people to one another.  What makes a person willing to declare that they would do anything for the other, or would do anything to be with the other person?  I have seen countless romantic films and read countless novels where characters, despite enduring hardships, separation (often intentional by the other party), and plenty of emotional abuse and low self worth, will often risk everything to make their love known because they feel so certain that their happiness is completely dependent on being with the other individual.  Are they wrong to think so?  No.  Because many times, it ends in joy. 

So many stories, novels, and films, have been written and produced, that deal with the very subject of romance.  Many become the go-to staples for womankind...many become the ideal of what love should be like.  What bugs me with many romantic films is the fact that reality has been far removed to create a fairy tale of sorts.  We get these cutesy films, in which everyone is most always smiling, and it always ends in happily ever after.  I immediately think of a few romantic Disney classics, such as, Cinderella, the Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and many other sweet and hopeful romantic stories and films and fairy tales with happy endings forever and ever and ever.  I'll admit...I love these films and grew up watching them; planning to one day meet a prince of my own (yes, I was dead serious), who would sweep me off of my feet, and whisk me away to his kingdom.  And I would never have to worry about anything ever again; because we would be the perfect couple.  And we would have singing pets who also were handy around the castle during chore time.

But where does the reality begin?  You know me...I like my love stories flawed and full of human emotion, struggle...imperfect and a true reflection of human nature.  As a married woman, I can truly speak from my own experiences when I say that every relationship requires work, complete trust, understanding, patience, equal compromise, and most of all, love.  Yes, love!  I am a hopeless romantic...been guilty of that for years and years.  In the past especially, I was apt to follow my heart rather than to think clearly and rationally...because I was a romantic, and love is all there is, and as long as you have that, everything will be perfect.  I am a bit wiser now than my teenage version, and have come to the understanding that no relationship is perfect.  When two individuals enter into a romantic relationship, you can guarantee there will be times when they are going to clash regarding opinions and the manner of going about specific things, etc.  Then, there are the unfortunate, tortured souls in tragic romances, where one or both must suffer terribly through unrequited love, or emotional drama, before they get to their happy endings; if there is one.
Troubled characters, unforeseen circumstances, a plethora of hardships, brooding (I do love this word), and longing - lots of longing, in my opinion, have more realistic qualities than the fairy tales and meet-cute concoctions that are so darn happy; leaving us with false hopes and damn-near impossible ideals.  I'm not saying that this is true for everyone in every relationship, but I find the unpredictability and imperfectness of everyday life more convincing and believable than a romantic relationship with no problems and rainbows and sunshine every single minute of every day.

Now I do like my meet-cutes and I do admit, every now and then I love when the happy ending in a film is easily attainable, but then, I do love my flawed romance stories just as much.  I thought I would share a list of some of my personal favorite flawed romance movies.  These are truly great films, with very strong characters, who often find their voice through hardships and seek to overcome obstacles (sometimes tragically), in order find true love and happiness.  And, here they are:

v Now, Voyager - This 1942 film stars Bette Davis as a spinster who, through therapy, finds her voice, blossoms and finds impossible romance.

v Like Water for Chocolate - This foreign film, set in Mexico in 1910, is about a girl who is forbidden to marry, despite falling in love, and must instead be the caretaker of her aging mother. 

v Jane Eyre - I highly recommend the 1996 version, directed by Franco Zeffirelli, starring Charlotte Gainsbourg and William Hurt.  With a very young Anna Paquin as the young Jane Eyre. 

o   I also recommend the 2011 version starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender.

v Sense and Sensibility - Okay, a little more light-hearted than the above listed, but it also fits the description.

v Romeo and Juliet - As a huge fan and avid reader of the works of William Shakespeare, of course, I will highly-recommend the 1968 version directed by Franco Zeffirelli, and starring Olivia Hussey as Juliet.

o   I also recommend the 1996 version directed by Baz Luhrmann, and starring Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio.  Despite the modern-day setting, the original dialogue is still used.

v Wuthering Heights - You must see the 1939 version.

v Atonement - Starring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy. 

v The Ghost and Mrs. Muir - Stars Rex Harrison of My Fair Lady fame, as the ghost of a sea captain who begins a strange relationship with a young widow who moves into his home.

v Rebecca - One of Alfred Hitchcock's best!  You must see this film!

v Much Ado About Nothing - Another great work of William Shakespeare, this is a comedy that deals with darker themes such as deception shame, infidelity and honor...and with very witty dialogue.  I do recommend the 1993 version! 

v Orlando - One of my favorites!  Based on the novel by Virginia Woolf, this film begins with Queen Elizabeth I commanding the nobleman Orlando to stay young forever.  And young he stays, right up to the 1990s, barely aging a day.  The film follows the young nobleman through British history, as he forms relationships, deals with love, and lives several different lives - even changing his gender at one point!  A must see!

There you have it...a few of my absolute favorite flawed romance films.  Not exactly all hearts and rainbows and castles, but great stories full of emotion that are definitely worth watching. 

What are some of your favorite romantic films?  Don't be shy...send me a comment...I'd love to hear from you!