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From Classic to Modern: Five Romance Films

From Classic to Modern: Five Romance Films

Written by Camila Nakamura 

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As someone who tries to watch a little bit of everything, I thought I would share some of my favourite romance films that come from various subgenres with you. Maybe you feel like watching something light-hearted and funny, or perhaps you are looking for a dense and dramatic love story. Either way, hopefully, there will be something for everyone on this list.  

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Casablanca (1942) 

Starting with a classic, this is one of those Old Hollywood epic romances you can hardly find nowadays. It is a love story set during World War II in Casablanca, Morrocco, a hub for Europeans trying to escape the war to go to the Americas. Overall, it is a very clever, slightly politically charged romance that speaks on the state of the world in the 1940s. Technically, you cannot ignore the impeccable work in the cinematography, which was responsible for making me fall in love with black-and-white films. 

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Moulin Rouge! (2001) 

Now how about a musical? I know many people turn away from films when they hear it is a musical, but even if you don’t like them, give Moulin Rouge! a try. I say this because it features mostly pop/rock songs from the 1980s to the 2000s, so you will surely recognize some tunes, which are arranged phenomenally, including some by Elton John, Madonna, David Bowie, U2 and many others. It is a love story set in the Parisian nightclub, the Moulin Rouge between a poor young poet and one of the club’s stars. The plot itself is simple but beautiful, however what stands out to me is the art direction and Baz Luhrmann’s exuberant and flamboyant style present throughout the whole film. 

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Past Lives (2023) 

You may recognize this one from the list of Oscar nominees for this year, and believe me, it really deserved that nomination for Best Picture. It is a little denser than the previous films I listed, and yet, very subtle. The movie follows the perspective of Nora, a Korean woman who left her country and her life behind as a child, she leaves behind a good friend, with whom she reconnects later. This reconnection triggers reflections on her own identity, choices she’s made, and love. It is a gentle film that recognises the internal struggles of immigrants, raises questions on that and tries to bring some answers. With that reflection, maybe the love story falls a little to the second plan, but it is still a very touching one that I would recommend to anyone. 

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Pretty in Pink (1986) 

There are so many romcoms that I wanted to include here, but I decided to go with one that I consider a little underrated. Pretty in Pink is a classic 1980s teen movie written and produced by the legendary John Hughes (Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off), and it is centred around Andie, an outcast in her school who begins hanging out with one of the school’s popular kids. It is one of those 80s light-hearted movies that you don’t need to think about much and just enjoy its quirkiness and silly but cute moments. 

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Love Me If You Dare (2003) 

Lastly, I really wanted to include an international film here, and I thought this was a perfect fit. It is a relatively unknown French film about two friends who play a game of daring each other ever since they are kids and keep doing it until they reach adulthood, and their dares get more and more insane as they go. It is an easy movie, more on the comedic side, and as a low-budget film, its quality is all based on the very funny and witty script in addition to the incredible performances by Guillaume Canet and Oscar winner Marion Cotillard. 

My name is Camila, and I am a second-year student, majoring in Law & Society. I was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, and moved to Toronto at the end of 2022. In my free time, I like playing the piano, and exploring the city, but my favourite thing to do is watching movies. I am passionate about cinema, so you’ll probably see me talking a bit about that here!  

I have always enjoyed writing because I the process of finding the words to communicate a thought and organizing them is very fun, so I am glad that I found the LA&PS Voices at York, to keep doing an activity I am really interested in.   

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