The world is getting another adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel whether it wants it or not. Safe Haven, starring Julianne Hough as a mysterious woman with a dark secret who falls for a widower (Josh Duhamel), hits theaters on Valentine’s Day. The film joins paranormal teen tale Beautiful Creatures as one of several other romantic films celebrating the Hallmark holiday. Feeling like the occasion was a bit too obvious for our liking, we ventured off the beaten path to collect ten of our favorite romantic movies that don’t involve a sinking ocean liner, Meg Ryan, teen vamps, or the other usual saccharine suspects. See what strikes your fancy on our list, and feel free to leave us a love note about your favorite films.
An early influence on the French New Nave and Italian Neorealism genres, director Jean Vigo created just one feature film during his lifetime and died months after its premiere at the age of 29. New York Times critic Andrew Johnston stated: “The ranks of the great film directors are short on Keatses and Shelleys, young artists cut off in their prime, leaving behind a handful of great works that suggest what might have been. But one who qualifies is Jean Vigo… ” L’Atalante’s blend of naturalism and poeticism is enchanting. Vigo tells the rocky story of a newly married couple, Jean and Juliette: a hard-nosed barge captain and a gregarious, impulsive village girl. Circumstances in Paris separate them. Vigo shows us the hopelessness, passion, and longing of romantic love through lyrical imagery — such as the unforgettable scene where Jean leaps into the river pining for his abandoned Juliette, and she appears before him like a siren from the depths.