At least, that’s what it will always mean to me. Three years ago, our kids, ages 14 through 26, informed their dad and me that they had outgrown our perfectly perfect Valentine’s Day family tradition. They said they wanted to do their own thing as single people, and that we should do something romantic and couple-y without them. This year, I scheduled oral surgery.
The couple-y thing in this scenario is for my husband to drive me home, get me to bed and wipe the drool off my chin from time to time until I recover. The romantic thing is a movie. With the kids away, we can watch whatever we want. The last time we had the house to ourselves, we watched Aaah Zombies; but that doesn’t seem to fit this occasion.
Neither my husband nor I are real romance-type people, so we’re considering watching something from this list of our top ten favorite romantic–but-not-really-romance videos.
#10 The Philadelphia Story – Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart deliver fast-paced comedy in this story of a socialite and a tabloid newspaper reporter. It’s not rated, but it is suitable to watch with teens.
#9 Romeo and Juliet -You can’t talk about romantic-but-not-really-romance without Romeo and Juliet. The 1996 version starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes uses the words of Shakespeare with a modern setting to bring out the meaning of this classic. True to the play, there’s sex and violence, so this one’s for grown-ups only. Rated PG-13
#8 Rear Window – Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly star in this Hitchcock classic about a wheelchair-bound man who passes the time waiting for his broken leg to heal by spying on his neighbors–a mix of single, newly married and long-time married people. When he sees evidence of murder, things get dangerous. Suspenseful with a smattering of romance. Non-rated, but I suggest ages 10 and up.
#7 Shrek I know it’s a cartoon. I know it’s made for kids, but it’s hilarious for grownups. Truly. In order to keep his swamp, an ogre has to free a princess and bring her back to the castle. In order to break a witch’s spell, the princess must kiss her true love. And hilarity ensues. PG rated for potty humor.
#6 Joe Verses the Volcano – Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan–that should be enough right there. Comedy about a hypochondriac who is afraid to live until his unscrupulous doctor convinces him that he has a terminal condition and he can go out a hero by throwing himself into a volcano. Rated PG. Not for kids. It’s a comedy, but it’s based on the guy being willing to kill himself, and there’s also some smoking, drinking and cussing.
#5 Miss Potter – Renee Zellweger stars as Beatrix Potter, the author of the famous Peter Rabbit series of children’s books. Miss Potter lives in a time when she is considered a “spinster” for not having married young. She longs to create children’s books, but her mother disapproves of her association with those in the book trade. Nevertheless, romance blooms between Miss Potter and a tradesman as her books are published and gain popularity. Rated PG for portraying alcohol use, but it is mild, in my opinion. This is not made for children, but I think they’d be OK with it.
#4 Casablanca – This is my absolute favorite movie of all time. Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman star in this drama set in Casablanca, Morocco during World War 2. A hardened American expatriate faces decisions as the woman who broke his heart and her war-hero husband need his help. Not-rated, not for children, but I think most of the non-suitable parts (violence, gambling, references to war) would go over their heads.
#3 A Man Called Peter Richard Todd stars in this true story of Peter Marshall, a Scottish Bible teacher who travels to America and becomes chaplain to the U.S. Senate. It is written by his wife Catherine, and includes how the couple met, courted and married. Not rated, but suitable to watch with children.
#2 Snowbound: The Jim and Jennifer Stolpa Story – This true story stars Neil Patrick Harris and Kelli Williams as Jim and Jennifer Stolpa, a young married couple stranded in the snow with their baby, and fighting to keep one another alive. It’s an intense portrayal of true love. Not rated, but suitable to watch with children.
And my #1 pick for a romantic-but-not-really-romance movie is. . . Shadowlands Anthony Hopkins and Deborah Winger star in this true-life story of Christian professor C.S. Lewis (author of the Chronicles of Narnia series of books, among others) and how his friendship with Jewish atheist-turned-Christian Joy Gresham turned into true commitment and marriage. Rated PG, but I’d let children watch it.
How about you? What romantic-but-not-really-romance movies do you like? Or do you go all out mushy for Valentine’s day?