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Unique love movies for Valentine’s Day

Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05

   Whether at home or at the theater, recently released movies or old-time favorites can be enjoyed with that special someone.

“Silver Linings Playbook”

This recent Academy Award-nominated drama/comedy excels thanks to its beautifully realized characters, sharp script and its treatment of the sensitive topic of mental illness. David O. Russel’s picture defies traditional romantic comedy conventions by having their leads Pat and Tiffany (Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence) be as brutally sincere with each other as possible. The film is a charming, well written and expertly performed crowd pleaser.    
“Moonrise Kingdom”

Wes Anderson’s colorful and playful drama/comedy finds a couple of kids falling in love during the 1960s amidst a group of troubled and flawed adults. Honest and with a sense of childhood discovery, the film explores themes of innocence, rebellion and love with a summer romance mentality that is infinitely relatable. Featuring Anderson’s quirky style and lush cinematography by Robert Yeoman, the film is not only delightfully well written, it is also well acted by a terrific cast of veteran actors (Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand, Bill Murray and Edward Norton).

“The Artist”

Michel Hazanavicius’ loving and passionate tribute to silent films is, at its core, a beautiful love story between a falling actor unwilling to accept the rise of the talkies (played by Jean Dujardin), and a rising sensation during 1920s Hollywood (Bérénice Bejo). Without any dialogue, Dujardin and Bejo are charming and completely believable as this couple, who go through this turbulent time for filmmakers together. Their performances, completely dependent on body and facial expressions, convey so well the characters’ feelings without a word.

“(500) Days of Summer”

Long before he gave Spider-Man a new look, director Marc Webb directed this acclaimed Sundance sensation that both audiences and critics wholeheartedly embraced. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel, this coming of age story is “not a love story” as the narration indicates, but rather a tale about love told by Tom (Levitt) about his relationship with Summer (Deschanel), including the ups and downs of it. Visually refreshing and featuring a fantastic non-linear narrative and believable characters, “(500) Days of Summer” is innovative, honest, smart and incredibly fun.   
“Slumdog Millionaire”

Danny Boyle’s riveting and emotionally powerful modern fairytale is not just a fantastic underdog, rags to riches tale but also an Academy Award Best Picture/Director winner that proved a transcendent cinematic experience. Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) competes on India’s version of “Who wants to be a millionaire” to find his one and only true love, Latika (Freida Pinto), who he’s known since childhood. Through the contest program, Boyle and screenwriter Simon Beaufoy explore Jamal’s past, its consequences and what led him to that moment. With gorgeous cinematography across Mumbai, courtesy of Anthony Dod Mantle, excellent performances, a great score by A.R. Rahman and energetic direction by Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire” is-simply put- a triumphant winner.

“Pride and Prejudice”

There have been many different adaptations of the landmark Jane Austen novel, but perhaps one of the most talked about is Joe Wright’s 2005 adaptation. Featuring performances from a top cast including Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen, Donald Sutherland, Judi Dench, Tom Hollander, Rosamund Pike and Judi Dench. The film tells the story of Elizabeth Bennet and her developing romance with Mr. Darcy as they deal with issues of marriage and ethics in 18th century England. The film was acclaimed and it earned Academy Award nominations for Best Actress, Art Direction, Score and praise was also given to Wright who would later go on to make more period dramas including “Atonement” and “Anna Karenina.”

“Harold and Maude”

This terrific cult classic, directed by Hal Ashby, written by Colin Higgins and starring Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort, manages to meld dark comedy with an honest portrayal of this quirky love story centered around outsiders—a young man fixated with death and a free-spirited older woman. The film beautifully captures the post counterculture period of the ‘70s, along with portraying the romance between these two very different souls that challenge the norm with their story. Ashby handles the very different tones of the story, from incredibly dark humor, heartwarming moments and raw sentiment incredibly well, and it doesn’t hurt that it has a fantastic Cat Stevens soundtrack.

All films are available to enjoy on home video and in theaters (“Silver Linings Playbook”).

Oscar Garza may be reached at

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