The Big Dance
(Best Movie Romances)
Love stories are the timeless one, right? Many film eras are remembered for their screen trysts: Bogart and Bergman, Grant and Hepburn, Jack and Rose. Even Edward and Bella. If 2015 is going to leave a dent, we need to consider the candidates who might stand together as our cinematic symbols of everlasting affection.
5. Adonis/Bianca (Creed): Creed is full of tie-in throwbacks to the best of the original Rocky series, but one you might have missed was the way that, after his fight, without a care for the decision, Adonis (Ryan Coogler) immediately sought his lover, and she the same, just as Rocky and Adrian had done in the original. It was perfectly sweet then and it’s perfectly sweet now. (Directed by Ryan Coogler. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Warner Bros. Pictures)
4. Poe/Fin (The Force Awakens): Yeah, it’s a tired meme by now, but it’s none-the-less true. Fin gave some pretty adoring looks at Rey, sure, but Rey don’t need no man (clearly). That shoulder shake from a suited-up Poe (Oscar Isaac) as he passes Fin (John Boyega)? That’s some darling shit, right there. Let’s get that turned up to 11. (Directed by J. J. Abrams. Walt Disney Studios Pictures)
3. Evan/Louise (Spring): Of all the films on the list, none get to the philosophical core of love as directly as Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead’s… creature feature? Because of his opening act bro-ness and her pension for growing tentacles, Louise (Nadia Hilker) and Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) might not seem like the perfect pair, but together, they establish an amorous connection that leaves viewers absolutely floored and, in the most unexpected way, inspired. (FilmBuff/Drafthouse Films)
2. Capable/Nux (Mad Max: Fury Road): George Miller pulled off countless screen and narrative miracles in Fury Road, and not the least of which was his complete reversal of the character Nux (Nicholas Hoult), the warboy who goes from pesky villain to self-sacrificing hero. His salvation is earned, in part, by the trust and affection of the Capable (Riley Keough). It is insane how many compete character arcs are illustrated just off-center and to the background of the central narrative in this film and so it should surprise no one that one of the year’s best film romances blossomed between characters who lesser films (and that’s pretty much all films) would throw away. (Warner Bros.)
1. Arthur/Samantha (Bone Tomahawk): I’ve had it argued that Bone Tomahawk isn’t a romance, which is an easy mistake to make, because, much like Fury Road, the elements of this film are so craftfully woven that it’s easy to overlook some of these clean threads. But, when you break it down, Bone Tomahawk is a romance first and foremost, a film in which one person’s love for another is the only reason any of the characters survive. Love literally conquers all here. As Samantha (Lili ) helps Aruther (Patrick Wilson) hobble along the path home, here’s a certain True Romance element to the final sequence, which might explain my affection for the screen romance in this gritty, violent film.
Grade: I had to bend some genres to get this list, so as much as I love all of these movies… C+