Going Out: Romantic movies in theaters on Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to hit the movie theatres in search of a bit of romance and magic. This year’s romantic offerings include two remakes of classic films – both of them set in Chicago or the Chicago suburbs – and a few original wildcards. Film geeks shouldn’t go to the theater expecting Oscar-winning fare however – the light and bubbly nature of these romantic films won’t win any awards, but just might win your heart.
About Last Night
Based on the classic romantic comedy of 1986, which itself was based on the 1974 David Mamet play “Sexual Perversity in Chicago,” the 2014 film brings a modern outlook to this timeless story. In this version, starring Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, Joy Bryant, Christopher McDonald and Paula Patton, the audience follows two new couples who journey from the bar to the bedroom and encounter the real world in between. This movie promises to be a perfect fluffy offering for the modern romantic this Valentine’s Day.
Love Is In The Air
Three years after a messy break-up with jet-setting womanizer Antoine (Nicolas Bedos), pregnant Julie (Ludivine Sagnier) is engaged to be married when she boards a plane bound for Paris, and realizes she has been seated right next the man who shattered her heart into a million pieces. Over the course of the seven-hour flight, Julie and Antione reflect on their whirlwind romance and debate over exactly where it all went wrong. Like many French romantic comedies, this film promises to be bubbly and charming with a dose of whimsy thrown in. If you don’t mind reading subtitles, this might be the right movie for you.
In this adaptation of the 1979 novel by Scott Spencer and a remake of the 1981 film starring Brooke Shields, passion yields to tragedy when the parents of a privileged girl (Gabriella Wilde) attempt to thwart her heated romance with a handsome valet (Alex Pettyfer). While this is a romantic movie, be prepared for some tragedy; the 1981 version did not have a happy ending, and it’s a safe bet to say this one won’t either. Even so, moviegoers will be able to experience the first throes of obsessive teenage love all over again.
Staying In: Classic and heartwarming romantic films
We've all seen what feels like hundreds of romantic comedies over the years. Some films are instant classics, while others are a bit overplayed. Here is a fresh look at some overlooked films perfect for a night snuggling on the couch this Valentine's Day.
That Touch of Mink (1962): Starring Cary Grant and Doris Day, That Touch of Mink follows Cathy, a New York City career woman as she meets wealthy Philip, who wants to have an affair with her. Cathy, however, is holding out for marriage, and in her efforts to avoid an affair ends up getting drunk, getting a rash, falling out of a balcony, and other antics. This film with a heartwarming ending turns the tables on the suave Philip by the end.
Down With Love (2003): Although this is a modern "chick flick," it's a wonderfully styled homage to the sex comedies of the 1960s. Small-town author Barbara Novak (Renee Zellweger) finds herself an overnight sensation with her hit book, a how-to guide for women to rid themselves of men's influence. Lothario Catcher Block (Ewan McGregor), jetsetting magazine reporter, vows to get revenge on the woman who upended the dynamics between the sexes. Screwball misunderstandings and near-misses abound as Catcher and Barbara circle toward each other amid spectacular costume changes. And stay tuned during the credits for a surprise musical number from these two multi-talented performers.
A Lot Like Love (2005): When Oliver (Ashton Kutcher) travels to New York City to visit his brother, he meets recently broken hearted Emily (Amanda Peet) on the way. The two Californians spend the day running into each other all over the city. Over drinks, Oliver bets Emily $50 that he will have his “ducks in a row” within seven years. He gives Emily his number, and she promises to call him in seven years. Her call comes a little sooner than expected when she’s left broken hearted and without a date on New Year’s a couple years later. Olive comes to the rescue as her last minute date, but then has to move the next day from LA to San Francisco to start his own business. The two live separate lives, but fate always seems to bring them back together in a way only a movie script can.
Kate and Leopold (2001): Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman star in this love story that incorporates modern problems and old-fashioned manners in a timeless love story. Kate is a modern career woman, about to become a major executive of the corporate world, when suddenly her neighbor leaves Leopold, a mysterious stranger for her to look after. It soon becomes clear that Leopold is an unwitting time traveler from the New York of 1876, and he must return to his own time, or the world will be in danger. Despite this, Kate and Leopold fall in love, leaving Kate with the biggest choice of her life—whether or not to take that literal leap of faith.
Return to Me (2000): David Duchovny plays Bob, a Chicago architect, whose wife passes away in a tragic accident. Grace (Minnie Driver) is the lucky recipient of a heart transplant as a result of that accident. They later meet and are attracted to one another, but when Bob finds out about the transplant coincidence, he must decide if he should be loyal to his wife, or his new love. Carrol O'Connor plays Grace's loving but spunky grandfather in his final film role.
The Importance of Being Earnest (2002): Featuring an extraordinarily talented cast, this sleeper romantic movie is based on the classic Oscar Wilde play of misunderstandings, switcharoos, and ultimately romance. The story revolves around two men in Victorian England, John "Jack" Worthing (Colin Firth) and Algernon "Algy" Moncrieff (Rupert Everett). Whenever Jack travels to London from his Hertfordshire estate, he says he is going to see his (fictitious) wayward brother, Ernest. Once in London, he keeps his privacy by calling himself Ernest. This tactic is especially important as his beloved, Gwendolen (Frances O'Connor), declares that she could love only a man named Ernest. Her cousin, Algy, is the one person who knows Jack's secret and one day he travels down to the estate, announcing himself to Jack's attractive ward, Cecily (Reese Witherspoon), as the infamous Ernest. Cecily is enamoured of him and his name, but upon Jack's return home and Gwendolen's unexpected arrival, it becomes clear there are both too many and too few Ernests.