Film & Television

Enjoy a Romantic Valentine’s Getaway, Compliments of Netflix

Amélie

A more innocent love story set in Paris, this quirky and imaginative, film was nominated for five Oscars. But more importantly, it introduced the greater world to its gamine young star, French actress Audrey Tattou. As the movie’s title character, Tattou is sheer delight. A shy waitress, her mission is to bring happiness to others, from her reclusive father, to an aging painter, a grieving widow, a  to a fellow waitress. Eventually, Amélie’s newfound friends conspire to help her find love — and happiness — for herself. A new musical adaptation, starring Hamilton’s Phillipa Soo, is currently in rehearsal for an April opening on Broadway.

 

 

 

Shakespeare in Love

Across the Channel (and four centuries back in time), this extravagant costume drama is a guilty Valentine’s Day pleasure for fans of the Bard or of any of its numerous stars, Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Geoffrey Rush, Dame Judi Dench, or my favorite, Colin Firth (granted, he is neither as sympathetic or as dashing as he is as Mr. Darcy). Shakespeare in Love is an unlikely behind-the-scenes look at how Will came to write his masterpiece Romeo and Juliet. The movie won seven Oscars in 1999, including Best Picture and Best Actress for its gender-bending heroine. (As Viola, Paltrow plays a lady playing a man playing a lady. How’s that for a liberal twist?)

 

 

Becoming Jane

Another imaginative backstory for a familiar author is dramatized in this sweet tale of unrequited love. Anne Hathaway plays a young Jane Austen, one of literature’s most prolific spinsters. Prior to penning her famous novels, genteel but impoverished Jane meets lawyer Thomas Langlois Lefroy (James McAvoy), nephew and heir to proud Judge Langlois. After some clever verbal sparring, the two fall in love and hope to attain the judge’s blessing. Their plans are thwarted however, and Jane aborts an elopement when she realizes that it would mean ruin for Tom’s family. If this all sounds like one of Austen’s own stories, there’s good reason. But, her heroines were afforded the happy ending she was denied.

 

 

 

Royal Night Out

My last suggestion will particularly delight anyone who has been watching the Netflix original series The Crown. This “undeniably slight yet thoroughly charming” movie didn’t make much of a splash, but the premise is enchanting. In 1945, on V.E. Day, teenaged Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret were permitted to go out into the London crowd to celebrate. In real life, both girls were safe at home in Buckingham Palace by 1 am. In this movie, the evening doesn’t run quite so smoothly as the princesses are separated and their adventures take them from the relative safety of the Ritz to a neighborhood pub, a speakeasy, a whorehouse, and a dance at the Chelsea Barracks. Margaret returns a bit worse for wear, but Elizabeth gets her first taste of romance.

 

Just in time for Valentine’s Day.

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