I haven’t watched a lot of the classic V-day movies. Haven’t seen The Notebook. Or Sleepless in Seattle (I saw Meep-less in Seattle, the Phineas and Ferb episode though). So I can’t review those. But if you’re feeling like branching out in the romance-movie section, I can help you out.
Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015)
Whenever I describe this movie, I often have to follow up with just hear me out. Because when I explain it, I get weird looks.
Diary of a Teenage Girl is about a teenage girl who has an affair with her mother’s boyfriend.
Hear me out.
This isn’t a rom-com. It’s a coming of age story about a young girl exploring her sexuality with an enthusiasm that Hollywood doesn’t want to see in women.
It’s amazing! Minnie is so brass, so curious, and so insanely horny. Girls like sex, dummies! Deal with it.
And even though the film centers around a socially unacceptable relationship, its portrayal is handled in a very respectable manner. The key here is, the audience is rooting for Minnie, not her relationship. This film is about her personal growth, and while her forbidden relationship with Monroe plays an important part, she ultimately outgrows him.
Best line: “I am overwhelmed with my all-consuming thoughts about sex and men.”
It’s a world just like ours, except everyone has a timer that counts down to the moment when they will meet their quote-on-quote soulmate. Well, everyone except Oona, apparently. For some reason, her timer never started counting down. Maybe it’s broken, maybe her “one” hasn’t gotten a timer yet, or maybe she doesn’t have a “one.”
If you seen Buffy you’ll know why Emma Caulfield was perfect for Oona. She has the same endearing neurotic ticks as Anya, except instead of being a demon who doesn’t really understand love, Oona is stir-crazy waiting for it. She’s the kind of woman who keeps her shit in order. She’s not a fan of wasted time or rash decisions. She’s not sure who she wants her soulmate to be, but he is definitely not the guy from the grocery checkout line.
I love the concept of this film. It does a great job of poking holes in the idea of “meant to be” and “one true love.” The romance was pretty darn adorable, but more than that, Oona’s relationship with her sister makes the film for me.
Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with his computer. That’s a bad way to pitch it, but the romance is actually really sweet, and it’s only weird if you don’t believe Samantha is alive. I love watching Samantha grapple with the question is she really alive while navigating her new feelings for Theodore.
Also, the movie is visually stunning and I appreciate the clever details that distinguish this reality from ours. I mean, Joaquin Phoenix works at a company that electronically replicates handwritten letters. What a fascinating job that tells us so much about him and this world all at once.
And if I remember correctly, it won Best Screenplay a few years back, so if you don’t believe me, it’s Academy-approved.
Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind (2004)
I think whoever thought of this movie went through a bad break-up and immediately went on an acid trip. This film is so weird, and at times has my head spinning, but the concept is so fascinating. The beginning’s slow, but if you make it to where Joel visits Howard’s office, you’re in for a crazy ride. I won’t say more than that, because I think it’s best to go into this movie totally unprepared.
Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet are so perfectly dysfunctional. They’re not going to end up together, no way, they aren’t stable enough for that. But there’s something about their love that reels me in. It’s a little rough around the edges, but in a weirdly endearing way.
This movie isn’t for everyone. It’s weird. It’s hard to follow if you don’t pay attention. If you like weird indie shit like me, this one’s probably for you.