AGE OF INNOCENCE
(1993) D: Martin Scorsese. Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Winona Ryder.
Scorsese’s soft side. Day-Lewis and Pfeiffer are awesome in this period drama of unrequited love and repression in the days of corsets and top hats. Day-Lewis delivers a quiet powerhouse performance. Only Remains of the Day explores repressed passion better.
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW: The painting that Archer (Day-Lewis’ character) is looking at at the beginning of the film is “The Last of the Mohicans” by Thomas Cole, which was also the name of the film Day-Lewis made the previous year.
(1989) D: Steven Spielberg. Starring Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter, John Goodman.
Name a romantic comedy directed by Steven Spielberg. Time’s up. I’m one of the five people who actually saw this little gem that got roasted by critics. Maybe I’m just a total sap, but I don’t think anyone can deny the chemistry between Dreyfuss and Hunter (for more, see Once Around). If you have a romantic bone in your body, find this film.
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW: This was Audrey Hepburn’s final screen appearance.
BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN (see Favorite Dramas)
THE END OF THE AFFAIR
(1999) D: Neil Jordan. Starring Ralph Fiennes, Stephen Rea, Julianne Moore.
The last thing I would ever call this film is romantic. But if you like deeply brooding, emotionally gut-wrenching and massively obsessive love stories, this one’s a keeper. Ralph Fiennes at his absolute best.
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW: Novelist Graham Greene was a notorious womanizer who married only once but had a string of extra marital affairs and confessed he was “a bad husband and a fickle lover.” During the 1920s and 30s he confessed that he had had relationships with over fifty prostitutes.
THE ENGLISH PATIENT
(1996) D: Anthony Minghella. Starring Ralph Fiennes, Kristin Scott Thomas, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe.
See The End of the Affair. But with a side story featuring Juliette Binoche, give this one an Oscar.
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW: Producer Saul Zaentz has produced only 8 films in 30 years— three of them have won the Oscar for Best Picture (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Amadeus, The English Patient).
HOW STELLA GOT HER GROOVE BACK
(1998) D: Kevin Rodney Sullivan.
Can anyone resist Taye Diggs? Really?
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW: Taye Diggs married his wife Idina Menzel (whom he met while they were both in the Broadway production of Rent) at the same Jamaican resort where this film was shot.
(1994) D: Glenn Gordon Caron. Starring Warren Beatty, Annette Bening.
If you don’t believe Warren Beatty and Annette Bening have chemistry, look out. And yes, all the manipulations worked on me: the seductive filter, the gorgeous scenery, the dark, sultry lighting…..it’s easy to see Beatty’s timeless appeal.
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW: This was Katharine Hepburn’s final film.
THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR
(1999) D: John McTiernan. Starring Pierce Brosnan, Rene Russo, Denis Leary.
Slick and sexy, Pierce Brosnan out-Bonds himself as a charming thief who plays cat-and-mouse (and more) with a surprisingly appealing Rene Russo. Even Denis Leary comes off as likeable in this elegant and mature modern remake.
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW: This romance is a break from the usual for director McTiernan, who is best-known for big-budget action-adventure spectaculars like Die Hard, Predator, The Last Action Hero, Rollerball and The Hunt for Red October.