Romance

[5.0] Gwyneth Paltrow stars as the title character in this adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma. Emma Woodhouse takes it upon herself to be a matchmaker for all her friends and neighbors. While her interference tends to do more harm than good, Emma fails to notice that her own opportunity for courtship may be just under her nose. Director Douglas McGrath (Nicholas Nickleby) abides by Miramax …

[7.5] Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams star as young lovers from different social backgrounds whose relationship is torn apart by interfering parents and World War II. When they reunite many years later, she’s engaged to another (James Marsden), but their feelings for one another remain. The Notebook, based on the book by Nicholas Sparks, essentially boils down to, “Which boy will she choose?” But it …

[5.5] In 18th century Italy, an orphan boy comes of age with the help of nuns and a kindly mentor, falls in love, gets embroiled in the slave trade, and fights for his inheritance in this adaptation of Hervey Allen’s sprawling novel. Anthony Adverse looks and sounds great, with immense sets, period costumes, and a rich score by Erich Wolfgang Korngold. Some of the supporting …

[6.5] Jennifer Jones and William Holden star as a widowed Eurasian doctor and a married American news correspondent who fall in love despite cultural differences and wartime separations during China’s communist revolution. Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing is one of the quintessential ’50s romance movies. It’s about strangers falling in love in an exotic land, aided as these lovers often are by sandy beaches and …

[7.0] Marlon Brando stars in Sydney Lumet’s adaptation of Tennessee Williams Orpheus Descending. (Williams co-wrote the screenplay with Meade Roberts.) Brando plays a young man trying to shed his criminal background and start a new life in a new town. But the new town has three women in it who all find Brando alluring. Joanne Woodward plays the reckless party animal, Maureen Stapleton plays the …

[7.0] Nancy Carroll stars as a young bank worker who loses her job and becomes the subject of gossip after she spends a night with a rich womanizer, played by Cary Grant. Even though Carroll never did anything improper, the town saw her arrive at a big party with one man (Edward Woods), and leave with another. Yet a third man (Randolph Scott) visits town …

[6.5] Helen Hayes and Gary Cooper co-star in director Frank Borzage’s adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms. Cooper plays an American ambulance driver who falls in love with Hayes’ British nurse in Italy during the first World War. They are secretly married and have to keep their relationship hidden from their superiors. Eventually, they are separated and their letters to each other are …

[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 …

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