Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Top 5 Unconventional Love Stories

Now, I love myself a traditional love story. I have spent manys the evening watching You've Got Mail or Dirty Dancing, but some of my favorite film love stories are pretty quirky. Here are several of my favorite unconventional love stories, with several bonus titles at the very end. Enjoy!!!

1. Benny & Joon (1993)-

Benny & Joon is a film about two different kinds of love; romantic & familial love. This movie is funny & romantic, but it's also very real & at times quite sad. Benny & Juniper Pearl are a brother & sister who have lived together since the tragic death of their parents.

Joon has schizophrenia, is a pyromaniac & is a very talented artist. Benny, a mechanic, is considering putting Joon in a facility where she can be cared for & thrive. While he loves his sister, he feels like his life can't start while he's constantly taking care of her.

It's at this time that Benny & Joon meet Sam, a young man who is obsessed with old movies & physical comedy. Sam brings new life into Benny & Joon's world and becomes very special to Joon in particular. Sam becomes the catalyst for so much needed change in Benny & Joon's life. If you like quirky, artsy stories, check out Benny & June.

 2. P.S. I Love You (2007)-

P.S. I Love You is about a young widow who looses her husband to cancer, after being married for almost 10 years. Following a whirlwind romance in Ireland, Holly & Gerry marry at a very young age. We see, through a series of flashbacks, Holly & Gerry's early courtship, and it's through these moments that we get the bulk of the love story. While many people assumed this was just another Hollywood tear-jerker, the cast in this film keep it from becoming a sappy tear fest. The balance of humor to drama is expertly executed. 

A large portion of this film takes place in Ireland & the country almost becomes part of the cast. If you're looking for a beautiful love story with an emotional twist, check this one out! 

3. Lars & the Real Girl (2007)-

Lars & the Real Girl is one of my favorite films of all time. The first time I saw it, I was so uncomfortable until about the halfway mark, when all the awkwardness finally made sense.

Lars Lindstrom is a shy, awkward young man who doesn't have many friends & isn't romantically involved with anyone. He lives near is brother & pregnant sister-in-law and they are often very worried about him. When he finally brings home a girl to meet his family, they realize they have had serious cause to worry. Lars & the Real Girl is about community, the process of grief & allowing people back into your heart after you've been hurt. 

4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)-

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a story about the memory of love & what that memory can do to us. Joel & Clementine are an unlikely couple who find comfort in one another's idiosyncrasies. 

After a falling out, Clementine breaks up Joel & undergoes a process that wipes the memory of him from her mind. Understandably hurt, Joel decides to undergo the same process. The bulk of the movie takes place in Joel's mind while the process is happening. Joel realizes, mid-procedure, that even if Clementine never loves him again, he loves her too much to erase the memories he has of her. 

This film, directed by Michel Gondry, has a very dreamy feel and even if you're not crazy about the story, I hope you will love the cinematography, style & soundtrack. 

5. Secretary (2002)-

Secretary is probably the most unconventional love story on this list. I will be honest with you and tell you that this film may not be fore you. Let's just get this out of the way. This film earns it's R-rating because of sexual situations. This film follows Maggie Gyllenhaal as Lee Holloway, a shy twenty something who gets released from a mental health facility, where she has been recovering from an accident caused by her self-harm habits. In hopes of finding some independence, Lee applies for a secretary job working for the odd attorney,  Mr. Grey, played by James Spader.

While working for Grey, Lee becomes involved in a sadomasochistic relationship with him. Through this relationship, Lee becomes more confident in her personal & professional life, ultimately resulting in self-discovery & acceptance. While the film is interesting on many levels, the real reason to watch this film for the performances of Gyllenhaal & Spader. They take a story that could quickly devolve into something exploitive and turn it into a compelling character-focused tale of two people so lost in their own self-loathing, who find love & self-acceptance in the place they least expect it.

Honorable Mention:

  • High Fidelity (2000)
  • Let the Right One In (2008)
  • Wall-E (2008)
  • The Science of Sleep (2006)
  • Lost in Translation (2003)
  • The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
  • Ruby Sparks  (2012)

Are there any films you would add to this list? I would love to hear about them! 

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