Valentine’s Day is upon us again, and for many couples that means going to see a romance movie. But if you’re like us, we’re not too sure about the romance of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and we also don’t want to sit through the filth of Deadpool. So with that in mind, here are five romance films that you might consider staying home and renting, as well as ones that we think exhibit in some way, shape, or form one or more of the Christian attributes of love.
This is an obvious one, granted, but a good one as well. Like other Sherwood films, its production value isn’t particularly high, and aside from Kirk Cameron, the actors are mostly amateur, which can make parts of it difficult to sit through. But unlike many romance films, it posits what is arguably the most overlooked attribute of love, that to love someone is to act that way toward them regardless of whether they act in a loving way toward you or not. That, and sometimes there isn’t just one guilty party when a relationship isn’t working well – which speaks volumes about working mostly on yourself, regardless of what the conflict is.
2. A Walk to Remember
The reader should not take this film’s inclusion in the list as evidence that this writer is any fan of Nicholas Sparks (read *vomiting noises*). In fact, I really think that The Notebook in particular is one of the most abhorrent “love stories” in modern cinema. You can pick up the stones any time now. But with that said, I believe that A Walk to Remember is the exception to the rule. While I wouldn’t recommend any preacher’s daughter to date the local ruffian, said local ruffian learns to love not for what he gets out of it, but for what he can give her. It’s certainly sad, and not for the faint of heart, but gets a much better picture of the Christian view of love than the vast majority of secular romantic films.
3. Beauty and the Beast
Lest you should be misled, this film is not here just for some sort of arbitrary diversity rule or “stretching the category” attention-grabber. I really do think that Beauty and the Beast is one of the best love stories in the past fifty years of cinema. Disney was firing on all cylinders in the early 90’s, and the film is one of the studio’s best simply in that regard: the music, the writing, and the animation are all stellar. But what really makes this film stick is its delicate balance of genuine character development in the beast, and how Belle loves someone in whom all of the typical romantic attributes are missing: he’s not a nice guy, he doesn’t treat her very well, and, most of all, he’s the ugliest sucker you ever did see. Like the previous two films in this list, it puts the focus of love on the other person, not what I get out of it. And it’s especially nice to see that it’s not just the Tom Cruise sorts that get the girl.
4. The Shop Around the Corner
If you’ve never seen Jimmy Stewart in anything but It’s a Wonderful Life, then this needs to jump to the top of your “must see” list. Based on a European play, the film features a man and a woman who both work in the same shop and hate each other’s guts – until they accidentally become anonymous pen pal lovers. This movie would later become the inspiration for Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan’s You’ve Got Mail, but the original is classier, much as I do enjoy the remake.
Another oldie, Marty is a romance film from the 1950’s that went on to win four Oscars, in what was essentially a sweep, grabbing Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Director, and Best Writing (Screenplay). Put simply, the film is about a middle-aged butcher and schoolteacher who fall in love, and that story combines with the classic flair of the ’50s for a film that is more than worth your time.
What movies did we leave out? Comment with your favorite romance film.