Currently browsing the "romantic drama" tag.

The Choice

What can I say? It’s a Nicholas Sparks movie! The Choice is yours to make. As I’ve written many, many times in the past few years, if you’ve seen/liked any or all of the other romantic dramas adapted from Sparks’ sappy best-sellers, then you’ll probably like this one too. It’s not the best (The Notebook kind of set the bar) and it’s not the worst (I lean toward Safe Haven for that honor). But it does fill a gap in the box office for the contemporary romdram.

The Age of Adeline

The Age of Adeline is a satisfactory romantic drama that is best enjoyed by those who can suspend all sense of logic and tolerate a bit of an ‘ick’ factor for reasons that are implied if not fully explored, or exploited, onscreen. More on that later. The lovely and talented Blake Lively plays Adeline Bowman, a young widow and mother in San Francisco who stopped aging after a freak car accident in the 1930s. An overlong voiceover narration explains, in flashback, how it all happened… something about a confluence of events involving water, lightning, and shifting molecular structure. Anyway, to avoid being labeled a freak or subjected to secret government testing, Adeline goes on the run for decades – constantly moving, and changing her identity, to hide her bizarre immortality from the world, including potential suitors. And there are plenty of those, because whatever name she goes by, Adeline presents as a beautiful old soul with a soft, lilting voice, a throwback wardrobe, and a phenomenal knowledge of modern history (go figure). The only one who knows Adeline’s secret is her daughter, who ages at a normal pace and could easily pass for Adeline’s mother or grandmother.

Song One

Song One feels like one of those low-budget indie flicks that a bunch of college friends got together to shoot in the middle of the night, with the theater class’s star pupil lending her talents to the endeavor. The narrative is (more than) a bit contrived, but you can’t help but root for the film and its characters. Song One is a romantic drama set against the backdrop of Brooklyn’s indie music scene, so it’s sort of like a less gritty, more contemporary Inside Llewyn Davis with a chick-flickier edge.

Beyond the Lights

Beyond the Lights is somewhat reminiscent of the classic Whitney Houston/Kevin Costner romantic drama The Bodyguard. It doesn’t reach the same heights in terms of story and tension (and Houston high notes), but it still makes for a solid chick flick, largely due to the performances of Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nate Parker and Minnie Driver. Cool soundtrack too.

Before Midnight

Step one: If you haven’t already, go rent/watch Before Sunrise (1995)

Step two: If you haven’t already, go rent/watch Before Sunset (2004)

Step three: If you haven’t already, go see Before Midnight (2013)

If you follow the steps outlined above, you will be rewarded with some top-notch acting and storytelling. Skip a step, and you could miss the point.

Safe Haven

I’m an easy sell when it comes to cinematic sap. So I had my tissues at the ready for the latest Nicholas Sparks novel-turned-romantic-drama. But alas, not a single tear was shed. In fact, I was rather bored. If you want to see sparks fly, you may have to see Die Hard 5 instead – lots of stuff blows up real good in that one. Or Beautiful Creatures – a supernatural romantic drama about a teenage witch (though she prefers the term ‘caster’) and the mortal guy who catches her eye. Bottom line: I’m not really feelin’ the love from, or for, Hollywood this Valentine’s Day weekend.

The Lucky One

At last check, The Lucky One had a rather unlucky 21% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I think that’s a little harsh. Sure, the movie is pure, unadulterated chickflick-romantic-drama-sap with a capital ‘S’. But if you made it through – or even sorta liked – all the other Nicholas Sparks books-turned-into-movies (The Notebook, Dear John, Message in a Bottle, The Last Song, Nights in Rodanthe…), then this one is what it is. More of the same (though far short of The Notebook).

In fact, if you saw Dear John, you may actually think you’re watching a remake of the same movie, only this time it’s starring Zac Efron (instead of Channing Tatum) as the war-scarred soldier (er, Marine) and Taylor Schilling (instead of Amanda Seyfried) as the blonde chick he falls for. And instead of a letter, there’s a photograph.

The Vow

I wouldn’t completely disavow The Vow, but I wouldn’t commit to a recommendation either. It’s mediocre melancholy that topped the box office in its opening weekend for one main reason: it’s the only romantic drama out there. So hapless romantics like me flocked to the theater, hankies in hand, hoping for the best. I may have dabbed my eyes a few times near the end, but I wasn’t swept away.

The Vow stars Channing Tatum (Dear John, Step Up 2) and Rachel McAdams (The Time Traveler’s Wife, Morning Glory) as Leo and Paige, a couple of newlyweds whose vows are put to the test when Paige emerges from a coma with severe memory loss. She does not remember her husband – at all. As Leo struggles to woo Paige all over again, Paige struggles to reconcile a past that she remembers, with a present that’s a total blank.

One Day

Let’s face it. There haven’t been many (any?) good romantic dramas to weep through this summer. One Day attempts to fill the void. But alas, it misses the mark.

Dear John

Dear John seemed to come out of nowhere Super Bowl weekend to rake in more than $30 million and overtake Avatar atop the Box Office charts. But those aliens of Pandora needn’t worry too much. Movie-goers will write off Dear John way before it gets anywhere near Avatar’s record-breaking totals. Not that it’s a bad movie. It just doesn’t resonate beyond the theater walls. And I didn’t cry once!