Love is not easy. Love is not simple. Love is not long walks on the beach and deep, soul kissing in the rain. Though that may be an aspect of love, it is a minor aspect. No, despite everything Hollywood has taught you, love is hard work. Love is holding someone’s hair back when they are retching. Love is dealing with someone’s insane family like they were your own. Love is an uphill climb, on all fours, and the last thing it is is easy. At its very best, love will make you feel immortal. But at its worse, love is like a punch to the stomach, causing you to double over and lose all your breath (and sometimes sanity). But the last thing love is is that perfect dream you had painted for you by most romantic films you saw growing up. But thankfully, there are some films that just seem to get it. Seem to understand that love can be as much a kick to the dick as it can be a cuddle. And above all else, these movies know and convey that love is usually hard work, and if you have a love that is worth having, it will never be easy, but in the end, will be worth it. Usually.
Silver Linings Playbook
Look how happy they are I picked their movie for this list.
Okay, so maybe the end is a little overly idealistic, but up to that point in the movie, these two falling for each other while having to work through their own major issues was anything but easy. This was not a love that just fell into their lap. This was two wounded people (the two wounded people thing being a running theme of this list), steeped with issues, finding comfort in a soul that was so similar to theirs.
But you see, there were many, many factors that stood in the way of this being a story book romance. Bradley Cooper’s character was bipolar and had some serious anger he needed to learn to control. Jennifer Lawrence’s character was a widow who had SERIOUS intimacy issues (can we do a prequel where we get to see her “sex addict” days? I would see the shit out of that movie) and really, neither made it very easy on the other to fall in love. Yet they did.
Although, I bet you if there was a sequel that took place a decade down the road, it would open with Bradley Cooper smothering her with a pillow. Dude was REALLY manic. Just saying.
500 Days of Summer
If I saw these two in the park, I would hiss at them.
Ah, this one had most of you fooled, which us why I loved it so much.
On the surface, it just seemed like a cute love story about a perfect boy who meets the perfect girl, and they fall in perfect love, and everything is f*cking perfect. But all you need to do is sit through the entirety of this movie to know that is NOT the story that plays out. Instead, a far more realistic story plays out where two people meet, hit it off and enjoy each other’s company, but one of the people is FAR MORE MADLY in love than the other is, and the end result is, well, a broken heart. Remember kids, and learn this young, the person you love the most and the person who loves you the most are never one and the same.
And as much as the end of the movie tries to leave you with hope that JGL may just find love afterall, the reality is, the end is the EXACT same way he meets Zooey in the beginning, hinting that this is some horrible, broken love loop he just cannot get himself out of. You know, like all of us in real life?
Safety Not Guaranteed
And yes, I love Aubrey Plaza with the heat of a thousand suns.
Did I just kinda spoil this movie by putting it here, when some of you didn’t even know it ended up being a romantic movie? Good, I’m jaded, that’s what you get.
First off, and I need to stress this, the ad from this movie was a real ad, placed in a real paper, of someone seeking someone to time travel with. That is the FIRST thing about this movie that is awesome. The second thing about this movie that is awesome is just how odd and quirky the two people who fall in love in this film are. You get the dry delivery and flat affect of Aubrey Plaza, and you pair that with the scruffy, passionate delivery of Mark Duplass, and something magic happens.
The best thing about Safety Not Guaranteed is that it is a love story in disguise. While it may pretend to be a story about some journalists trying to out an insane man, you can clearly see and feel within the first half hour that the film will not go there, and rather, treads on a soft, delicate story of two wounded people looking to find a connection in a world that makes no f*cking sense to them. On top of that, it has time travel, so that is cool, too.
But really, just two wounded people finding each other amid the chaos and ugliness of life.
Wristcutters: A Love Story
Man, suicide was the BEST THING that ever happened to us!
I will start this off by saying, as much as I admitted love to the above actress, I REALLY love Shannyn Sossamon the most. That woman is made out of dreams stitched together with shooting stars. Okay, that out of the way, If I had to make a top ten most under appreciated movies of all time list, this movie would be in the top five. Wristcutters is about two people who find each other in the proverbial limbo they are stuck in after killing themselves. It is a movie that, on its surface, seems dark (because it is), but it is actually endearing, sweet, and hopeful,too. You just need to get past the suicide thing first.
And while the idea of being saved by love AFTER the fact is a little ham-fisted, this is a love story, disguised as a dark comedy, that is also secretly a fable. And it has one of my favorite scenes in all of cinema.
Bam, meaning of life. You’re welcome.
The final selling point for this movie is that it has Nick Offerman. If you do not like Nick Offerman, and don’t think he makes everything he is in about 1000 times better, we can’t be friends anymore. Sorry. Love is cruel like that.
He is about to spank the shit out of her, just not literally, thankfully.
What I REALLY about Secretary is that it is a f*cked up love story at its heart. It’s just some conservatives can’t seem to make it through because they can’t seem to make is past the heavy S&M themes. Here’s the thing, just because these people like to have a violent, sadomasochistic relationship, it is consensual and theirs to embrace any way they see fit as mature adults. How does that make their growing love any less valid than someone who needs candles and soft music to be seduced? It doesn’t. Love is love, no matter how ugly or off putting you may find it. And honestly, S&M is pretty f*cking awesome, and you shouldn’t knock it until you try it.
Kudos to Secretary for addressing an aspect of love, sex, and even romance, most would be too scared to even breach. Remember, just because it’s ugly to you, doesn’t mean it isn’t right or valid.
And for those curious enough to know HOW I got so jaded, I recommend you go read this right now. People have been telling me it’s been blowing their mind.