We Love… St Valentine

We Love... St Valentine

Illustration by Adeline Pericart

Get a bottle of Blue Nun, splash yourself with them cheap Christmas smellies your Auntie got you for Christmas, slip on your Penny’s underwear and turn up the stereo with the sweet, sweet sound of Barry White. And hey, if you have a partner that’s an added bonus. Yes, it’s that time of year, when St. Valentine comes to town. So in his honour the film lovers here at Film Ireland present their favourite lurve-themed films.

Now let’s get it on…

 

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – Ciara O’Brien

Annie Hall – Sarah Griffin

500 Days of Summer – Rory Cashin

Wall-E – Geoff McEvoy

Pretty Woman – Gemma Creagh

Jerry Maguire – Peter White

Harold and Maude – Steven Galvin

The Notebook – Órla Walshe

Gone With the Wind – Charlene Lydon

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We Love… St Valentine: ‘Gone With the Wind’

st-valentin9

Illustration by Adeline Pericart

Get a bottle of Blue Nun, splash yourself with them cheap Christmas smellies your Auntie got you for Christmas, slip on your Penny’s underwear and turn up the stereo with the sweet, sweet sound of Barry White. And hey, if you have a partner that’s an added bonus. Yes, it’s that time of year, when St. Valentine comes to town. So in his honour the film lovers here at Film Ireland present their favourite lurve-themed films.

We’ll be adding to the list in the run-up to the 14th – check it out here. As always, feel free to add your own favourites. If you’d like to include your own review, contact steven@filmbase.ie

Now let’s get it on…

Gone With the Wind

Charlene Lydon

Gone With the Wind is a film that divides people of our generation. In some ways its enduring fame has worked to its detriment. It is emblematic of the Golden Age of Hollywood and stands up as one of the most successful blockbusters of all time (apparently if inflation is taken into account its still the highest grossing film of all time). However, because it is so widely known and much-parodied everybody feels like they have seen it. But how many people under 30 really have? Or, should I ask, how many people have given it the attention it deserves? We’re all guilty of claiming to have seen a film when in reality it played in the background on the telly while we were engaged in conversation, or doing a bit of cleaning. I think that Gone With the Wind is a film that has suffered a lot from this. Nobody forgets its feisty heroine, its lush visuals or its beautiful score but maybe people are forgetting what a truly beautiful romance is at the heart of it. With its daunting running time and the fact that you probably feel like you’ve already seen it, why give over nearly four hours of your life to this antique? Well, this Valentine’s Day perhaps you should make it your business to spend your afternoon in the company of the fieriest, most frustrating, most engaging cinematic couple of all time.

What is it about Rhett Butler? Gone With the Wind has been around for seventy years and still the very utterance of his name stands for what masculinity should truly be. The enduring popularity of this character says a lot about what women want in a man. Someone who will love them unconditionally but isn’t afraid to call them out when they’re acting like a child; someone who will fawn over their offspring; someone who is outrageously handsome and it helps that he has a stubborn integrity that will not be wavered. Here is a man who stands up for what he believes in, despite ruffling feathers to do so. Rhett Butler, if Carlsberg made romantic heroes…

It is difficult to summarise Gone With the Wind, and in summary it lacks much of the punch that the story holds in actuality. The sense of frustration audiences feel at this couple who obviously love each other but cannot be happy together still resonates today, despite the films ripe old age. There has been a recent resurgence in “doomed couples” films like 500 Days of Summer, Revolutionary Road and Blue Valentine. The appeal of films such as these is the grand tragedy of the fact that these couples just couldn’t make it work, despite loving each other deeply and genuinely. There are few tragedies more simple and relatable than that. Rhett and Scarlett’s relationship was a prime example of this dynamic. They love each other; it’s complicated in many ways but simple at its core. These are two people who understand each other and respect each others’ inherent flaws but whose sense of pride and individuality, not to mention stubbornness leads to their demise.

The breakdown of a marriage is a messy business and here it is displayed in beautiful Technicolour and explored in quite a profound way, disguised by a lush veneer of glamour and artifice. Give it a chance, you might just find yourself feeling profoundly moved.

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We Love… St Valentine: ‘The Notebook’

We Love… St Valentine

Illustration by Adeline Pericart

Get a bottle of Blue Nun, splash yourself with them cheap Christmas smellies your Auntie got you for Christmas, slip on your Penny’s underwear and turn up the stereo with the sweet, sweet sound of Barry White. And hey, if you have a partner that’s an added bonus. Yes, it’s that time of year, when St. Valentine comes to town. So in his honour the film lovers here at Film Ireland present their favourite lurve-themed films.

We’ll be adding to the list in the run-up to the 14th – check it out here. As always, feel free to add your own favourites. If you’d like to include your own review, contact steven@filmbase.ie

Now let’s get it on…

The Notebook

Órla Walshe

When it comes to romantic movies, The Notebook released in 2004 is a modern classic, you can’t argue with that. The Notebook is compiled in my opinion of some of the most authentic romantic scenes of all time. It is unusual for a film adaptation to be as equally successful as the book it was based on; however this is true of The Notebook, with eleven awards and seven nominations. The novel The Notebook made a highly significant mark in romantic fiction as it moved millions around the world and it was written by a MAN.

Casting was going to be critical for this film. They needed two actors who had sizzling chemistry on screen and could depict both young love and lovers later on in life aswell as actors to depict the elderly Noah and Allie. The love story could only be powerfully depicted if the main actors were relatively unknown. Ryan Gosling was cast first for being divergent from the usual Hollywood male yet with strong presense and talent. Ryan Gosling had said that they knew when Rachel McAdams was in the middle of her audition that she was perfect, a strong, passionate feminine beauty. McAdams depicts an Allie that is struggling to become her own woman, passionate, talented and fiercely devoted.

Gosling’s Noah Calhoun at nineteen is played with tender simplicity, with a gentle charm that is rare in depictions of men his age in film. His sensitivity makes you connect with him immediately as he experiences love at first sight when he witnesses Allie at the carnival. Noah Calhoun is the guy that most females yearn for. Personally I do not think any other male character can measure up to Noah as embodying everything you want in a man. He oozes masculinity yet retains a gentle sensitivity. He is pragmatic yet a hopeless romantic. And yet he is not perfect, he is flawed but he strives to be the best man he can be, to be worthy of Allie. The brillant James Garner is the narrator of the film, playing the devoted elderly man that Noah has become in the present, reading to his elderly beloved wife Allie played by Gena Rowlands who is now badly suffering with Alzheimers disease, about their love story. They share some heartbreaking moments as the film transitions seamlessly throughout between the present day, Allie and Noah in the nursing home and the tale of how they realised after overcoming many obstacles that they were meant to be together forever, depicted by Gosling and McAdams. It is wonderfully constructed.

Everyone dreams of growing old together with the one they love and the emotive depiction of the persistence of true love gives The Notebook its beauty. I read the book after I had seen the film, and Nick Cassavetes captures on screen the passionate love story of Noah and Allie that Nicolas Sparks created with the respect and detail it deserves.

The film illustrates how love can be blooming and then life happens. But if the love is true it can survive in the end.

My favourite quote of the movie is from Noah towards the end of the film: ‘So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s gonna be really hard. We’re gonna have to work at this every day, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, for ever, you and me, every day. Will you do something for me, please? Just picture your life for me? 30 years from now, 40 years from now? What’s it look like? If it’s with him, go. Go! I lost you once; I think I can do it again. If I thought that’s what you really wanted. But don’t you take the easy way out.’

Forget the extravagant commercial cheese of the Valentine’s Day that the shops and media push and equally cheezy rom-coms and enjoy the warm fuzzy feeling of seeing an old couple holding hands in the park and cuddle up with your lover or loved ones and become absorbed in The Notebook.

After watching the film for the first time, I was compelled to ask my grandmothers who I am lucky enough to still have alive about how they met and fell in love with my grandfathers. Listening to their riveting accounts, my grandmothers became wide-eyed and youthful again. Both my grandmothers like Allie were and are passionate women. I can remember many times in the past, observing my quiet gentle grandfathers, content and filled with pride watching my grandmothers talk vibrantly about some topic. My grandparents have had many ups and downs just like everybody else but their love has endured because they were prepared to work hard at their relationship everyday as they could not imagine spending their life with anybody else.

Just like with people no relationship is perfect. The Notebook may be an epic romance but it is also a realistic one. It portrays the potential obstacles and barriers that life can throw but as the beautiful final scene shows, the power of love can transcend all barriers if faith is put in it… Happy Valentines!

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We Love… St Valentine: ‘Harold and Maude’

We Love...St Valentine

Illustration by Adeline Pericart

Get a bottle of Blue Nun, splash yourself with them cheap Christmas smellies your Auntie got you for Christmas, slip on your Penny’s underwear and turn up the stereo with the sweet, sweet sound of Barry White. And hey, if you have a partner that’s an added bonus. Yes, it’s that time of year, when St. Valentine comes to town. So in his honour the film lovers here at Film Ireland present their favourite lurve-themed films.

We’ll be adding to the list in the run-up to the 14th – check it out here. As always, feel free to add your own favourites. If you’d like to include your own review, contact steven@filmbase.ie

Now let’s get it on…

Harold and Maude

Steven Galvin

Love – that many-splendoured thing rears its head in different shapes and forms. In Harold and Maud it is the glue that bonds a relationship between a free-spirited 79-year-old woman and a suicide-obsessed, hearse-driving 21-year-old adolescent. That old chestnut…

Hal Ashby’s 1971 wonderfully eccentric rom-com introduces us to Harold (Bud Cort), a wealthy young nihilist who struggles in the shadow of his pompous overbearing mother and deals with what he perceives to be her (and the world’s) idiocy through a preoccupation with death and suicide, which is conveyed through staged suicide attempts and cemetery visits – as his psychiatrist discovers when he asks Harold what he does for fun: ‘I go to funerals’. It is at one of these funerals where he encounters Maude (Ruth Gordon), who, despite her age, is full of zeal, exhibiting a tremendous lust for life, which she conveys through her wisdom, her fondness for stealing cars, erratic driving and optimistic outlook on life.

Their lives become intertwined – picnicking on demolition sites, outrunning the law and the like – and Harold’s sense of alienation finds a cure in her buoyant enthusiasm for life. The love they share transcends love itself and has the ultimate effect of imparting life from Maude to Harold as he is transformed from his melancholic, bleak state (‘I decided then I enjoyed being dead’) into an energized, alive young man. Swept up by Maud’s joy in living (‘I like to watch things grow’), Harold learns how to make the most of life, and becomes infused through Maud’s sense of purpose as she teaches him that ‘A lot of people enjoy being dead. But they are not dead really. They’re just backing away from life’.

Ashby’s film deploys extravagant exaggeration throughout the film that are never to be taken literally and the film plays out its staged comic scenes with a quirky, deliciously black sense of humour – nowhere more so than in Harold’s staged deaths as he displays proficient pyromaniac tendencies, skilled self-mutilation abilities, learned limb-hacking skills, dextrous drowning techniques and savvy samurai-style disembowelment know-how.

The film chugs along to a soundtrack by Cat Stevens, whose meditative folky music provides an apt backdrop to Ashby’s existential treatise. So, if you’re looking for love this Valentine’s, you won’t do much better than this seductive gem of a film. A film about the power of love (cue ’80s power ballad). Yet ultimately, in Harold and Maude, it’s not about the people you love but rather it is about the loving of life itself.

Happy Valentine’s…

 

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We Love… St Valentine: ‘Jerry Maguire’

We Love... St Valentine

Illustration by Adeline Pericart

Get a bottle of Blue Nun, splash yourself with them cheap Christmas smellies your Auntie got you for Christmas, slip on your Penny’s underwear and turn up the stereo with the sweet, sweet sound of Barry White. And hey, if you have a partner that’s an added bonus. Yes, it’s that time of year, when St. Valentine comes to town. So in his honour the film lovers here at Film Ireland present their favourite lurve-themed films.

We’ll be adding to the list in the run-up to the 14th – check it out here. As always, feel free to add your own favourites. If you’d like to include your own review, contact steven@filmbase.ie

Now let’s get it on…

Jerry Maguire

Peter White

Hello, I’m going to share with you my pick o’ the bunch to accompany you at this most romantic of seasons. ‘Tis the season to reacquaint yourself with Jerry Maguire. Not only is it Valentine’s Day, but it’s also Super Bowl time to boot. Of all the films to enjoy right about now, this is the most worthy of a punt.

Celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, Jerry Maguire is from a strikingly different time. Golden boy Tom Cruise is in fine form as the titular sports agent while Renée Zellweger is still unknown and utterly adorable as single mother Dorothy. Following his abrupt sacking from a highly successful agency, Jerry and Dorothy go out on their own to try establishing themselves as an independent sports agent with fewer clients, less money and more attention given. Jerry sets out with his sole remaining client, Rod Tidwell, played by Cuba Gooding Jr. who had a very bright future ahead following his Oscar winning charismatic portrayal. Through all of this change, Jerry is struggling with his own inability to be alone and wondering if his feelings for Dorothy are related to this or perhaps something deeper. While the world may have kept turning on these careers, it’s a joy to sit down and immerse yourself in the timeless perfection of Jerry Maguire.

As far as crowd pleasers go, Jerry Maguire is right up there in the big leagues. The guise of a sports film is enough to hold the attention of your average man while there is ample romance for the ladies as well as the cutest darn kid bursting with useful facts to please everyone. Appropriately, Jerry Maguire boasts how he was sent into living rooms to win over families as a sports agent and the film is equally successful in this department. You can’t help but fall for Cameron Crowe’s charming script which bolsters the natural charisma of the actors and the whole package is lovingly wrapped in a suitably scintillating soundtrack.

Jerry Maguire is one of those rare films in which each person involved is at the top of their game and – bricks posing as mobile phones aside – how well the film has held up over the intervening fifteen years is testament to this fact. For Valentine’s Day when there are so many romantic films vying for your attention it can be difficult to separate the roses from the thorns but I would heartily endorse a date with Jerry Maguire. Or if you’ve already seen it, I’m sure I had you at ‘hello’.

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We Love… St Valentine: ‘Pretty Woman’

We Love... St Valentine

Illustration by Adeline Pericart

Get a bottle of Blue Nun, splash yourself with them cheap Christmas smellies your Auntie got you for Christmas, slip on your Penny’s underwear and turn up the stereo with the sweet, sweet sound of Barry White. And hey, if you have a partner that’s an added bonus. Yes, it’s that time of year, when St. Valentine comes to town. So in his honour the film lovers here at Film Ireland present their favourite lurve-themed films.

We’ll be adding to the list in the run-up to the 14th – check it out here. As always, feel free to add your own favourites. If you’d like to include your own review, contact steven@filmbase.ie

Now let’s get it on…

Pretty Woman

Gemma Creagh

Nothing says romance more than hookers and champagne.

Valentine’s Day is a day for lovers – even the professional ones. Pretty Woman is the perfect movie for a his-and-hers romantic compromise; sweet, touching, great story, a very handsome Richard Gere and Julia Robert’s boobs.

This touching 1990 romantic comedy is the ultimate Cinderella story: an LA call-girl, Vivian’s (Roberts) life changes one night while she’s out working the streets with her drug-addicted friend. On Hollywood Boulevard she has a chance meeting with Edward, (Gere) a focused businessman, which ends with him hiring her services for a week. Over their time spent together; he wines her, dines her and finds out they have more in common than they originally thought.

Amidst the synthy eighties ballads, the coolots, and the eerie sweeping shots of the Twin Towers, there’s a brilliant warts-and-all love story. Two extremely diverse and flawed characters from two conflicting worlds meet only to change each other’s lives forever. Yes, it sounds so cheesy on paper but Pretty Woman is such a well-written and brilliantly acted film that it oozes sincerity – the one thing that’s missing from 99 out of 100 rom-coms that grace our cinemas at the minute(I’m pointing a finger at YOU Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher).

But what a different film Pretty Woman could have been… According to highly reliable online sources, the first incarnation of the script was not the adorable feature that we all know and love today; it was actually a dark drama about prostitution in LA. Originally titled $3,000 this very different version saw the lovable Vivian character addicted to drugs – and her deal with Edward was staying off cocaine for the week. Instead of the [Spoiler Alert] uplifting fairytale ending; the previous incarnation’s finale saw Vivian and her prostitute buddy on a bus to Disneyland. More heart-breaking than warming.

Also before they settled on the dashing Richard Gere, the execs had a few alternates lined-up for the part of Edward. Al Pacino, Christopher Reeve and apparently SYLVESTER STALLONE all turned down the chance of playing the iconic male lead – and what a depressing disaster that could have been.

Luckily for us, Pretty Woman made it through the wringer at the Hollywood factory and came out the other end shinier than ever. A romantic classic and an enjoyable film, Pretty Woman will be the source of many heartfelt smiles long after the botox has inhibited these in both its leads.

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We Love… St Valentine: ‘Wall-E’

We Love... St Valentine

Illustration by Adeline Pericart

Get a bottle of Blue Nun, splash yourself with them cheap Christmas smellies your Auntie got you for Christmas, slip on your Penny’s underwear and turn up the stereo with the sweet, sweet sound of Barry White. And hey, if you have a partner that’s an added bonus. Yes, it’s that time of year, when St. Valentine comes to town. So in his honour the film lovers here at Film Ireland present their favourite lurve-themed films.

We’ll be adding to the list in the run-up to the 14th – check it out here. As always, feel free to add your own favourites. If you’d like to include your own review, contact steven@filmbase.ie

Now let’s get it on…

 

Wall-E

Geoff McEvoy

Watching Wall-E again I got a bit carried away with myself and wondered if the whole movie could be seen as a metaphor for romance – something about the various stages of a relationship being reflected in the adventures of two little robots, as if the movie were some piece of interpretive dance or something. But happily I came to my senses and realised what a waste of time that would be. Firstly, because I doubt the metaphor is there to be found and secondly, because the secret behind the film’s success as a love story is much simpler than that. In fact I think there are really just two reasons for it.

The first is that there is practically no dialogue between Wall-E and Eve. It’s a remarkable achievement to tell a moving love story with barely a recognisable word passing between the two protagonists. No one is being completed by someone else, or regretting things for an unspecified number of days. Of course, Wall-E and Eve are going through all these familiar things they just aren’t spelling it out for us. What the characters might lose in depth they gain in charm and sincerity. Wall-E is the perfect hero for a love story. His needs are simple and he expresses them purely and without artifice. While Eve’s trying to save the day – or rather her ‘directive’ – he still just wants to hold her hand.

The other reason is a slight twist in the way that a traditional cinematic love story is told. Normally two people fall in love and a series of obstacles (internal or external) is thrown between them and their overcoming of these obstacles then forms the narrative. But in this movie Wall-E and Eve’s love is the primary motivator for everything that happens. Wall-E’s arrival on the ship, the subsequent chaos and mutiny, and the ultimate return of the human race to planet Earth all result from Wall-E’s pursuit of Eve, his attempts to impress her and to please her, and finally her attempt to rescue him. In short it’s all a by-product of their love story.

These two elements together make Wall-E one of the purest of love stories. And if you’re still looking for a metaphor how’s this one: Wall-E lived in a dull, grimy world until one shining thing came into his life.

 

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We Love… St Valentine: ‘500 Days Of Summer’

We Love... St Valentine

Illustration by Adeline Pericart

Get a bottle of Blue Nun, splash yourself with them cheap Christmas smellies your Auntie got you for Christmas, slip on your Penny’s underwear and turn up the stereo with the sweet, sweet sound of Barry White. And hey, if you have a partner that’s an added bonus. Yes, it’s that time of year, when St. Valentine comes to town. So in his honour the film lovers here at Film Ireland present their favourite lurve-themed films.

We’ll be adding to the list in the run-up to the 14th – check it out here. As always, feel free to add your own favourites. If you’d like to include your own review, contact steven@filmbase.ie

Now let’s get it on…

500 Days Of Summer

Rory Cashin

Valentine’s Day is supposed to be a day to celebrate love, but anyone who is single (or worse yet, recently single) will tell you, no other day on the calendar can inspire more hate. By extension, rom-coms are also the victim to this love/hate relationship. But as rom-coms go, 500 Days Of Summer is different. For one, before the title of the movie, we’re greeted with this disclaimer:

‘AUTHOR’S NOTE: The following is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

Especially you Jenny Beckman.

Bitch.’

500 Days Of Summer is the rom-com for those who hate rom-coms. It is a feel-good movie about not feeling all that great, actually. It is the most realistically portrayed relationship movie, yet it still contains a massive dance sequence and friendly animated birds.

From a plot standpoint, it’s standard issue; Boy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) meets Girl (Zooey Deschanel), boy falls in love with girl, girl doesn’t believe in love, boy tries to change her mind, yada yada yada. To complete the rom-com set, Boy even has two best friends to whine to, a friendly boss, and a wiser-than-her-years younger sister (played by Chloe Moretz, before she got Kick-Ass famous). However, the way the story is told is unique for the genre, going back and forth in a semi-Memento fashion, giving us glimpses of happy and sad time that seem initially to be at random, but eventually make sense as a satisfying whole.

Being filled with both quotable one-liners (‘Lars is some guy she met at the gym with Brad Pitt’s face and Jesus’ abs.’), some hard-truths (‘I need to know that you’re not gonna wake up in the morning and feel differently.’ ‘And I can’t give you that. Nobody can.’), and some astounding moments (the split screen Expectations vs Reality scene is pretty much perfect); it’s hard to believe this was written by newcomers and directed by first-timer Mark Webb, who got the new Spider-Man gig off the back of this alone.

By showing the highs and lows of this relationship, the movie caters to pretty much every type of person watching it. The hopeless romantic, the desperately in love, the hard nosed cynic and, yes, the recently single are all represented at some point by someone. It’s not a movie about just this one relationship; it’s a movie about all relationships, and their effects on all of us. Love is great, and love hurts. And when that love is gone, we move on and hopefully find our next love.

 

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We Love … St Valentine: ‘Annie Hall’

We Love... St Valentine

Illustration by Adeline Pericart

Get a bottle of Blue Nun, splash yourself with them cheap Christmas smellies your Auntie got you for Christmas, slip on your Penny’s underwear and turn up the stereo with the sweet, sweet sound of Barry White. And hey, if you have a partner that’s an added bonus. Yes, it’s that time of year, when St. Valentine comes to town. So in his honour the film lovers here at Film Ireland present their favourite lurve-themed films.

We’ll be adding to the list in the run-up to the 14th check it out here. As always, feel free to add your own favourites. If you’d like to include your own review, contact steven@filmbase.ie

Now let’s get it on…

Annie Hall

Sarah Griffin

Alvy Singer… the most likeable of unlikeable movie characters! Oscillating between pessimism and suffering, he stumbles through the darkness of life, occasionally finding hope in the arms of a succession of Gentile women serving as foil to his giant, Jewish brain. Bookended by the ultimate in relationship realism, the film begins and ends with Alvy’s break-up from the most promising of these women – Annie Hall. A frivolous WASPy woman, whose catchphrase ‘Laa-dee-daa’ both enrages and excites Alvy, she meanders through life not thinking too deeply on anything. She meets Alvy, she likes Alvy – for her, that’s enough… but for him, he needs to question every nuance of their relationship, and begins his mission to educate and confuse her.

Annie Hall represents a culmination of Allen’s ideas about the centrality of Jewish humour to a certain type of romantic comedy, which has become a staple movie subgenre – from When Harry Met Sally to Knocked Up. The ’70s realised an epoch of Jewish-American performers let loose from the ties of concealing their ethnic origins, and the bustling metropolis of New York has become intrinsically linked with this, and the persona of Woody Allen – along with the creation of ‘a nervous romance’, as Annie Hall was billed.

For such a perfect movie, it’s hard to believe that it almost fell at the first hurdle. The original ideas for the script revolved much more around the character of Alvy, obsessing on his many neuroses and compulsions, but Annie’s character proved so much of a draw that it eventually became a romance. And it’s easy to see why! Diane Keaton infuses Annie with her own traits and foibles – and, indeed, she had dated Allen before the movie, and he had educated her in dealing with Hollywood and fame. Whilst they were by now friends and contemporaries, it’s easy to read some autobiography into the frame. While Alvy, and Allen himself, is a somewhat odious character, Annie represents the emotional heart of the movie, and her characterisation provided a feminine ideal for late 1970s America. Soon, women all over the country were sporting waistcoats and trilbies, and embracing intellectualism as something that can be lived with alongside a regular life!

They fall in love, they fight, they laugh, they make love, they break up, they get back together, they break up again… and all the while, we are presented with the most realistic depiction of a relationship ever committed to celluloid. Annie’s difference from Alvy’s consummately Jewish character is important in terms of his attraction to her – he is obsessed with death and dying, and she is innocent and playful; together they form a balance for each others’ inadequacies and ineptitudes. Their evolution as characters is realistic and touching – and our initial knowledge of their break-up is tempered by watching their burgeoning romance, and never feels tainted by this understanding. Bookended by the break-up, and by typically Jewish jokes, the ending offers much more satisfaction – with their mature realisation of friendship after romance, and the desolation and loneliness of the beginning is dissipated by their mutual respect and love. One of the greatest marriages of intellect and heart, Annie Hall marks the highest point of romantic comedy – hilarious and tragic, it is also infused with a deep romance that makes it impossible not to like. We see the truth of relationships laid bare – and, like Alvy, we too draw the conclusion that awful and terrible though they might be, depressed though they make us, we all still, essentially, need the eggs!

 

 

 

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We Love … St Valentine: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

We Love... Valentine's

Illustration by Adeline Pericart

Get a bottle of Blue Nun, splash yourself with them cheap Christmas smellies your Auntie got you for Christmas, slip on your Penny’s underwear and turn up the stereo with the sweet, sweet sound of Barry White. And hey, if you have a partner that’s an added bonus. Yes, it’s that time of year, when St. Valentine comes to town. So in his honour the film lovers here at Film Ireland present their favourite lurve-themed films.

We’ll be adding to the list in the run-up to the 14th – check it out here. As always, feel free to add your own favourites. If you’d like to include your own review, contact steven@filmbase.ie

Now let’s get it on…

 

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Ciara O’Brien

When asked to write about my all-time-favourite Valentine’s Day movie, there was no doubt in my mind as to what I would choose. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind may seem like an odd choice of romantic film to some, but to me there could be no better Valentine’s film. Long before Inception was a glimmer in Nolan’s eye, Michel Gondry climbed into our cerebral cortex’s and took up residence offering his viewers an offbeat love story which stands the test of time.

Kate Winslet gives, what I would say is one of her defining performances. As an audience, we are well used to seeing Winslet as the glamorous woman for whom any man would fall, but here she plays an insecure woman plagued by imperfections who has more whims than hair colours. The star of the show here is Carrey, who takes a tentative step away from comedy and plays an overly serious man, devoid of his usual physical comedy. Here is the beginning of the new Jim Carrey.

What separates Eternal Sunshine… from the barrage of silly romantic comedies starring everyone in Hollywood that we are subjected to each year is that the movie does not paint a picture of perfection in relationships, there is none of the patented happily-ever-after fairytale outcome. What we see in this movie is a skewed and cerebral version of the real-life romances which populate the world. Joel and Clementine meet by chance and fall into the kind of love which is all-consuming until the fine line between love and hate begins to blur and cracks are covered over through Joel’s fear of speaking his mind, and Clementine’s inability to do anything else.

Eternal Sunshine… reveals itself to be the ideal Valentine’s movie for all situations, Kirsten Dunst plays the a-typical young girl with a crush on her superior, whilst it appears that everyone in the world likes her, she has innocent eyes only for her boss. When her own past is uncovered, she herself becomes an important symbol of female empowerment as she makes a stand that is more effective in exploring the power of the single woman than a flash mob of Beyonces in spandex ever could.

Our romantic heroes are far from perfect, yet there is a spark that perforates the screen and the audience find themselves whole-heartedly rooting for the most dysfunctional of couples. Their imperfections however, fit like a glove. Joel’s shyness is offset by Clementine’s brash nature. By the end of the twists and turns in continuity, one thing is certain; we hope that history does not repeat itself in this instance.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is an off-centre and non-linear exploration of love which through hardships and frustration has something which many Valentine’s movies do not, heart. Gondry gives us an emotionally honest exploration of relationships, an inescapable love. If that isn’t Valentine’s Day romance, I don’t know what is. So this Valentine’s Day why not take a different approach and, instead of expecting absolute perfection, take pride and joy in the imperfections we all have, and enjoy the perfection that can be found in finding someone whose imperfections fit yours.

If that’s not your bag, you can always give Dr. Mierzwiak a call and attempt to have the object of your dejection erased, although, as we see here, the mind is a fickle mistress, and absolute satisfaction is not guaranteed.

 

 

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