Romance

[8.0] A bunch of British people fall in love, out of love, and do lovey-dovey things in the month leading up to Christmas. Now, if you’re like me, that’s a description that will keep you from ever wanting to watch Love Actually. But since a hundred different people have insisted I watch it over the last fifteen years since it was released, I finally gave …

[7.5] A curmudgeonly obsessive-compulsive (Jack Nicholson) falls for a charming waitress (Helen Hunt) and strikes up an unlikely friendship with a gay neighbor (Greg Kinnear) in As Good as It Gets, another comedy/drama hybrid from the sometimes brilliant mind of James L. Brooks (Terms of Endearment, Broadcast News). In lesser hands, this one could have turned out a tonal mess, but Brooks and the cast …

[5.0] Kris Kristofferson and Cheryl Ladd star in this sci-fi yarn about people from the future who travel into the past to kidnap the passengers of doomed plane crashes right before they die. When Kristofferson, a plane crash investigator, discovers future technology among the wreckage of a recent flight, the future sends a woman (Ladd) to intervene… and the two fall in love. Millennium is …

[6.0] Carey Mulligan gives an outstanding performance in this adaptation of Lynn Barber’s memoir. Mulligan plays a sixteen-year-old in 1960s London, pushed by her father to study hard so she can get into Oxford. When she falls in love with a charming man nearly twice her age, she decides to let her education slide. But Prince Charming isn’t all he’s cracked up to be and …

[5.5] Janet Gaynor and Fredric March star in a love story so good, they’ve made it four times now — most recently with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper in the roles. Gaynor plays a small-town girl with dreams of becoming a Hollywood actress. With encouragement from her grandmother, she arrives in Tinseltown bright-eyed and bushy-tailed only to discover what everyone discovers — that opportunity is …

[4.5] About two minutes into Punch-Drunk Love, an absurdist romance from Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, Magnolia), you learn the movie doesn’t really take place in the real world and none of the characters are real, either. It’s all… some other version of reality. A version where Adam Sandler sells toilet plungers out of a warehouse, collects pudding to cash in on sweepstakes, has seven …

[7.5] A young German man (an award-worthy David Kross) has an affair with an older woman (Kate Winslet), only to discover many years after the affair ends that she was a guard at the Auschwitz concentration camp. After she is found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison, the man (later played by Ralph Fiennes) still can’t get her out of his mind. …

[7.5] Director/co-star Bradley Cooper decided it was time for a fourth version of A Star is Born (previous versions were released in 1937, 1954, and 1976). I haven’t yet seen any of those versions, so I’m coming into this one without the burden of comparison. I was expecting a romance movie with a lot of singing. So I was expecting to hate the movie, honestly. …

[8.5] Of the nine films which paired Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn, Adam’s Rib is often considered the best. Writers Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin were friends of the famous couple and wrote the film specifically for them. Kate insisted the film be directed by her favorite screen director, George Cukor, who services the brilliant writing and on-screen chemistry with his trademark elegant staging and …

[8.5] Nick Robinson (Jurassic World, Kings of Summer) stars as a closeted high school student who carries on an anonymous email relationship with another closeted student, all while trying to gather the courage to ‘come out’ to his family and friends. There have been many ‘coming out’ stories in independent cinema, but they’re usually sad, dreary affairs. Love, Simon, directed by Greg Berlanti (TV’s Everwood and The …

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