To me, there’s just something about the holiday season that screams, “Romance!”
Granted, by February my penchant for flip flops and beach-combing has me cursing Winter’s frost with a teeth-chattering “damn you!” vehemence.
But, in December…
There is magic to be had.
Specifically, yuletide movie magic. The heart-swelling, tummy-tumbling, butterfly-inducing variety.
Between the elaborate sets, twinkling lights, pirouetting snowflakes, hearthside snuggles, hot cocoa mustaches, trees trimmed to ooh-aah perfection, and the lip locking powers of mistletoe, I am in holiday hog heaven.
And if spending the twelve days of Christmas perched in front my DVR is wrong, then I don’t wanna be right.
So, with that in mind, here are my picks for the…
Top Six Holiday Flicks: The Romance Edition
(warning: may cause intense swooning)
6. Bridget Jones’s Diary
Swoon-worthy quote: “I like you very much just as you are.”
One word… Colin Firth. No wait, that’s two words. One name? No, that’s not right either. Oh, never mind. My brain is mush.
See? This is what Colin does to me. As soon as he graces the silver screen (or any screen for that matter), I am a puddle of goo on the spot. He’s got the brooding, respectable, good-guy routine down to a tantalizing T.
Oh, right. There are other people in the movie too. Renée Zellweger and Hugh Grant round out a well-crafted cast.
This film is a clever, hilarious, modern-day take on Pride and Prejudice. Does it resort to outrageous, cringe-worthy silliness at times? Yes. Is it terribly realistic? Not exactly. Yet, somehow, it all works with a certain je ne sais quoi, to the point where I’ve practically worn out my DVD from repeat viewings.
5. The Holiday
Swoon-worthy quote: “I suppose I think about love more than anyone really should. I am constantly amazed by its sheer power to alter and define our lives.”
As far as movie roles go, Kate Winslet sure knows how to pick ’em. I honestly can’t think of a single film she’s appeared in that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed.
(Hums the score to Titanic)
Anywho, The Holiday is so undeniably charming that even my husband likes it (and he usually rolls his eyes while simultaneously blowing raspberries during “chick flicks”). It stars (along with Winslet) Cameron Diaz, Jude Law (those eyes!), and Jack Black—who is, to my pleasant surprise, utterly sweet and appealing here.
In a nutshell, the story follows two women in the thick of guy-problem suffrage, who swap homes (and countries) in order to clear their heads and, with a little luck, embark on journeys to healing.
From the get-go, you pretty much know how the story is going to end. But, trust me, you wouldn’t want it any other way.
Swoon-worthy quote: “Maybe we’re lying here because you don’t wanna be standing somewhere else.”
Fate. Does it really have the power to guide us toward the people we’re meant to be with? I believe it does. As a matter of fact, I know it does.
John Cusack (whom I’ve fawned over since The Sure Thing) and Kate Beckinsale (how adorable is she?) play Jonathan and Sara, who, despite obstacles of time and space, are unable to quell a mutual longing forged from a single, magnetic, chance encounter.
These would-be lovebirds are so wholesome and endearing that you can’t help but teeter on the edge of your seat, rooting for them every step of the way.
Passion vs. predictability. Which would you choose?
If you’re keen on uplifting, enchanting, seasonal whimsy, then this movie is right up your alley.
3. Love Actually
Swoon-worthy quote: “To me, you are perfect.”
Though touted by many as being the most romantic movie in the history of lovey-dovey cinema, I was initially skeptical. Not typically a fan of ensemble-cast, multiple storyline theatricals, I almost skipped this production altogether. But, then I remembered…
Colin Firth is in it.
Need I say more?
So I gave it a go and, holy swoonmuffins, was I ever glad I did!
This is holiday escapism at its finest, not to mention a prime example of movie-casting gold. Liam Neeson, Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson (love her!), the-man-can-do-no-wrong Firth, Laura Linney, Alan Rickman (RIP), Keira Knightly (on whom I have a slight girl crush), Rowan Atkinson, Bill Nightly, Martine McCutcheon, January Jones, Elisha Cuthbert, Billy Bob Thornton, Denise Richards, and Rodrigo Santoro all lend their acting chops, resulting in a cinematic experience for the ages.
If you are a hopeless romantic like me, you will love this movie with every fiber of your being. Prepare to run the full gamut of giggles, tears, full-bodied smiles, accelerated heartbeats, and dreamy sighs.
2. White Christmas
Swoon-worthy quote: “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas.”
When a film features a show-stopping number called The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing, you pay attention. Then you follow it up with a resounding, “Ain’t that the truth.”
Then you watch it again. And again. And again. And…
Well, you get the point.
Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney. Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen. Does it really get much better?
Crosby and Kaye play ex-GIs who fall head-over-heels for two captivating sisters. An abundance of harmonious, foot-tapping, sentimental, warm-fuzzy vibes ensues.
Even if musicals aren’t your thing, give this film a chance for the sheer poetry-in-motion that is Vera-Ellen. If your jaw doesn’t drop in awe and appreciation of her immense talent, then you can call me crazy.
This classic audio-visual gem has been a holiday staple in my family for as long as I can remember. Even after watching it at least a million times, it never gets old. Simply put, they just don’t make movies like this anymore.
And the ending?
1. It’s a Wonderful Life
Swoon-worthy quote: “What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon, Mary.”
Sigh. I love this movie so much.
When it comes to unforgettable, cinematic-romantic chemistry, Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed are in a class all their own.
Each time Jimmy appears on-screen as George Bailey, you feel his words and the breaths that propel them. You join him on his quest for the American dream, through all the highs and lows—joy, hope, despondence, and desperation.
I seriously cannot watch this movie enough, or without getting a lump in my throat. Maybe it’s because I’ve been where George has been. Maybe we all have.
But there is redemption.
She is his rock, his safe haven, his home … though he doesn’t always realize it.
Yet her love for him never wavers.
And when George finally alights upon an angel-guided epiphany…
Well, I don’t know a person alive who doesn’t feel compelled to reevaluate their own existence and count their blessings as a result.
So there you have it. Do you agree with my list?
Honorable mentions go out to Miracle on 34th Street, Scrooged, While You Were Sleeping, and Happy Christmas.
With so many wonderful romantic holiday flicks to choose from, I’m sure you have your own favorites.
If you’re someone who prefers knee-slapping over swooning, check out my Top Six Holiday Flicks: The Comedy Edition.
So nuke up some popcorn, hunker down for a yuletide movie marathon, and enjoy. 🙂
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