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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Romantic Movies
by Betty Jo Tucker

In honor of Valentineís Day, Iíve made a list of some favorite romantic films reviewed here on ReelTalk Movie Reviews. Many of these flicks are available on DVD -- and all of them worked their magic on me. To access the complete review for any film listed below, just click on the movie title.     

Alex and Emma. Although reviewer Jeffrey Chen expected something better from Rob Reiner, director of When Harry Met Sally, I found Kate Hudson and Luke Wilson delightful as an author and stenographer who fall in love while working on a novel together.  

Baran. How love can change a person for the better has never been filmed more beautifully than in this riveting Iranian film.  

Beyond Borders. Iím a sucker for epic love stories like Gone with the Wind and Dr. Zhivago, so I was fascinated watching Angelina Jolie and Clive Owen try to carry on a romance over many years amid tumultuous international events.   

Christmas in the CloudsHere's a little gem that harkens back to those great screwball comedies of the 1930s and 1940s as it charms viewers with a delightful tale of romance, mistaken identities -- and bingo. Set primarily on a ski resort owned by a Native American tribe, this amusing film features appealing co-stars, quirky supporting characters, and a story that warms your heart. And, just like the screwball pitch this genre is named after, the movie goes in unexpected directions  

Down with Love. While sending up those old Doris Day/Rock Hudson flicks of the sixties, Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor show off their comedy talents with great style and enthusiasm. Reviewer Jeffrey Chen observed, ďItís almost too much fun.Ē   

Fever Pitch. No doubt many women will identify with the theme of this insightful romantic comedy co-starring Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon. A manís obsession with sports can sometimes drive his wife or girlfriend crazy. The lesson here involves learning to keep love alive despite different interests.      

Hitch. Will Smith and Kevin James are hilarious here as a self-professed "love doctor" and his difficult client, respectively. It's great fun watching the tables get turned on Smith's character when he has serious trouble of his own in the romance department.    

Just Like Heaven. Guess how I can tall that a romantic comedy is really working? It's when my husband laughs most of the time while watching it instead of falling asleep. As the end credits rolled for Just Like Heaven, he turned to me and whispered, "I sure did enjoy this movie!" Ditto. Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo shine together as two befuddled strangers trying to help each other in the midst of an incredibly weird situation.   

I Capture the Castle. In reviewing this entertaining romantic film, Diana Saenger called it a ďcharming tale of first love and growing up in 1930s England.Ē I saw it on video recently and was definitely charmed. Itís the type of quality film one might see and enjoy on Masterpiece Theatre.    

Intolerable Cruelty. Leave it to the Coen Brothers to remind us that bad people need love, too. George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones excel here playing ďa man who wins in court and a woman who courts to win.Ē These two unscrupulous (but amusing) characters deserve each other!

Kate and Leopold. A perky Meg Ryan and an elegant Hugh Jackman play lovers who break the time barrier in this very unusual romantic comedy. Itís one of my all-time favorites.    

Love Actually. I absolutely adore this fast-paced movie about the agony and ecstasy of love -- as experienced by several colorful characters during the five weeks before Christmas. Lots of laughs, tears and heartwarming moments earned it a place on my list of the Ten Best Movies of 2003.  

Moulin Rouge! My pick for the best movie of 200l, this Baz Luhrmann musical about two doomed lovers who meet in a decadent Paris nightclub during the late 1800s, is sheer cinematic artistry. Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor sing their hearts out in a lengthy sequence featuring great love songs like ďAll You Need Is LoveĒ and ďI Will Always Love You.Ē 

Must Love Dogs. This engaging romantic comedy highlights the obstacles that must be overcome to find a soul mate these days. Diane Lane turns in a terrific performance as a recently divorced woman searching for love in an increasingly frantic world. And her co-star, John Cusack, ably captures the essence of the lonely man he portrays. I desperately want these two walking wounded to find happiness together!

Original Sin. In this intriguing romantic thriller, Antonio Banderas and Angelina Jolie sizzle on screen as a man obsessed and the femme fatale he desires. Despite the filmís implausible story, I was spellbound by the intense performances of its charismatic co-stars.     

Pride & Prejudice. Jane Austenís most popular Victorian romance novel has never graced the screen with such cinematic flair. Although I also enjoyed the 1940 movie with Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier as well as the 1995 BBC miniseries co-starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, this new film version emerges as the most entertaining by far.

Return to Me. This enchanting movie, directed by TVís Bonnie Hunt, co-stars David Duchovny as a grieving widower and Minnie Driver as the woman who receives his dead wifeís heart. Donít worry. Itís not a tearjerker Ė just touching, funny and one of the best romantic comedies ever filmed.       

Serendipity.  I admit being an incurable romantic who needs a ďsoul matesĒ film-fix every once in a while, so this movie worked for me. John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale, playing two people who are kept apart by a series of missed connections, won me over completely. Do they finally get together? You know I canít tell you.

Under the Tuscan Sun. Playing a jilted woman who learns how to rebuild her life, lovely Diane Lane owns the screen in this gorgeous film directed with sensitivity by Audrey Wells. Hereís a movie thatís not only enjoyable but also excellent cinematherapy for viewers  trying to heal a broken heart. I applaud the filmís upbeat message of hope: if you stop looking for love, love will find you.  

Happy Valentineís Day!

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