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  • Writer's pictureLucas Friesen

The 5 Best Romance Movies I've Ever Seen

If you and your person are staying in tonight and looking for a great movie to watch, one that you’ll actually finish and not so boring that it devolves into the “chill” part of “Netflix and chill” before the credits roll, then this list is for you. If you’re like me, and the only warm embrace you’ll feel tonight is from the television’s glowing screen, then this list is for you too – because who doesn’t love to feel lonely on Valentine’s Day?

5. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927), directed by F. W. Murnau

This silent-era masterpiece feels like it’s where it all started, when it comes to romance movies in Hollywood. It wasn’t the first, but it was the first all-time classic. Starring Janet Gaynor, Margaret Livingston and George O’Brien, it tells the story of a man caught in a love triangle between his doting wife and the exciting, new girl from the city. It is full of innovative shots, including animated dialogue cards, double exposures, and a synchronized score and sound effects (the first movie to ever do this). Being a silent movie, Sunrise is for the true cinephiles. Yet, despite being nearly 100 years old, it is still as entertaining as ever. As it is in the public domain, the entire movie can be watched for free on YouTube.

4. Sleepless in Seattle (1993), directed by Norah Ephron

Like contemporaries Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral, Sleepless in Seattle is a true Hollywood romance of the 1990s. It stars Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. It’s full of heart and gushing with romance. It may not be the greatest technical achievement or the most original story from start to finish, but it is undeniably charming and a complete joy to watch. By the time credits roll, everybody watching will have a smile on their face and warmth in their heart.

3. La La Land (2016), directed by Damien Chazelle

Coming off Whiplash, Chazelle went above and beyond with La La Land, making a 21st century musical that stands toe to toe with the 20th century’s classics like An American in Paris. La La Land is known and loved by modern audiences. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are undeniable. Their chemistry is unmatched in modern cinema. And that ending. My God. Cinema at its peak. And that’s not to mention all the other lovely bits. Like Sunrise, La La Land is also a song of two humans – two lovers that were tragically never meant to be. But, like Pico Iyer said, “The best love affairs never really end.”

2. Before Sunrise (1995), directed by Richard Linklater

Romance, like comedy, can sometimes benefit from not having a polished script and, instead, relying on the chemistry and improv of its actors to carry a movie. Although it did have a script, which was written in 11 days by Linklater and Kim Krizan, Before Sunrise also relied on the improvisation and character development done by its stars, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke. Another song of two humans, this beautiful movie, shot in Vienna, will make you yearn to travel and to fall in love with a stranger.

1. In the Mood for Love (2000), directed by Wong Kar-wai

If you ever wondered what a movie would look like if it was made purely on vibes, look no further than Kar-wai’s magnum opus, In the Mood for Love. Again, working with no coherent script, Kar-wai shot the movie in the moment and, as such, was able to tap into the inexplicable intricacies of a love affair that simply cannot be put into words. So much of love is conveyed in looks and what is not said. No movie better encapsulates this than In the Mood for Love. And, above all that, it is one of the most visually stunning movies ever. After watching In the Mood for Love, you’ll need a cigarette.

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