Lessons in love, from the big screen

Today, I’m honoured to have Evelyn kick-start our blog’s love theme with some lessons in love she’s learnt from the big screen. Evelyn is the honest and heartfelt writer behind the bottomsup blog. She’s a real cool mum, and when she happened to share that she’s a romance movie buff, I just couldn’t resist asking her to do a post for me on her favourite ones. Please give her a warm loving welcome!



Over two decades ago, I was 12, and I made my mom buy tickets for When Harry Met Sally, just because I was a weird kid who had to watch all the Oscar nominees even if I didn’t really get them. I remember my mom glancing at me during that classic scene where Meg Ryan, fully clothed in a restaurant and with her dinner in front of her, faked an orgasm just to prove a point.

I don’t remember us talking about the movie after.

That was probably the first real romantic movie I ever saw, but it was only years later that I would fully appreciate and understand it. And watch it every night before I went to bed.

I love the movies, and I’m a hopeless romantic. In fact, for a long time, my husband would say that I had my head not in the clouds, but in Hollywood. Although I think that’s being unfair to Hollywood, because a good movie can teach you a few things about life and love, if you’re paying attention. Here are five of my favourite romantic movies, and what they’ve taught me about love and marriage:

Love Lesson #1: You’ll hang on to your fantasies for as long as you need them. Real life begins when you don’t.

Lars And The Real Girl (2007): I must admit that I ventured into this tentatively, wondering if I was going to get tricked into sitting through smut instead! See, this is a story about a man and his doll—the kind that grown-ups usually buy for urm… grown-up purposes. This man has a few issues, one of which is that he thinks his doll is real and he’s fallen in love with her. (And unlike that rom-com from the 1980’s, Mannequin, this doll never comes to life.) To help him heal, his friends and family—as well as the entire town—are roped in to play along and treat the doll like a “real girl.” Romantic comedies about guys (or girls) who finally learn to trade a fantasy for reality are a dime a dozen, but this one gives it a fresher-than-fresh spin, and it’s sweet, occasionally funny, and safe to watch.

Love Lesson #2: Love takes courage. Creativity helps too!

Amelie (2001): When this movie first came out, a few people who knew me told me I absolutely had to see this because the lead character reminded them of me! When I caught the movie I was extremely flattered, but my worldview is far less imaginative and I’m hardly that inventive in trying to make good things happen for other people. Instead, what I related to was the lead character’s shyness and reticence about romantic relationships, and how she had to overcome her fears to make the first move when the right person came along. In my younger days I found it easier to date guys that I had no interest in whatsoever because I was too intimidated to let my guard down and get to know the ones that I did like. The one time I took a chance, I ended up getting married! But y’know, that’s just me. Whether or not you relate to the characters, this is a must-watch movie if you want two hours of colour, magic, whimsy, and of course love.

Love Lesson #3: Marry a friend.

When Harry Met Sally (1989): I’m always a little wary of “love at first sight” stories, swoon-worthy as they are. This is a love story that spans 12 years, with friendship coming first and many interesting insights on how men and women view sex and relationships differently. My husband is not my best friend and I think that works for our relationship, but we were friends before we became anything else, and through our countless break-ups and make-ups in the 14 years that we’ve been together (seven years before marriage, and seven years after), one of us has always said to the other, “Let’s be friends again.”

Love Lesson #4: Do the right thing, even when it doesn’t feel “right.”

Lost In Translation (2003): I know some people like their date/couple movies to be all pretty in pink, but I think it’s healthy to watch something closer to reality once in a while. Lost In Translation tells the story of many long-term relationships: You put up walls, you misread each other or are no longer interested, and you connect (at least momentarily) with a physically or intellectually attractive stranger. There are no sexual affairs here, but we’ve all heard enough about emotional infidelity to be wary of it too. Even though this movie screened almost a decade ago, I can clearly remember sitting in the theatre soaking in the song that played near the end of the movie (Jesus And Mary Chain’s Just Like Honey), and the lyrics have never left my head since: “Walking back to you, is the hardest thing that I can do, for you.” Indeed it can be hard, but that’s what you sign up for when you say “I do.”

Love Lesson #5: If you can look at your partner and think, “I’d do this all over again, knowing the worst of you,” you’re probably on the right track.

Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004): This story doesn’t start off very happily I’m afraid, but it is one of my all-time favourites. A man discovers that his ex-girlfriend has undergone a medical procedure to wipe out all her memories of him AND their time together, and out of anger, he decides to opt for the same treatment himself. Through the course of his treatment, he’s made to relive some of his most precious memories, and he begins to realise that losing them may not be the best thing after all. The ending is surprisingly touching too, so stick with this and you’ll be rewarded!

Bonus Love Lesson: Go for quality, not quantity.

The Terminator (1984): This one’s for the girl who can’t convince her man to watch a “talkie movie” or a “sappy love story.” I’m a bit of a tomboy at heart and I grew up on a diet of ’80s action. What I’ve realised from watching practically everything with Arnie, Sly, Van Damme, and Mel Gibson in it is that you’ll be able to find love anywhere if you look hard enough, and this includes tough-guy action flicks. In The Terminator, a man travels through time so he can fight a killing machine and save the woman he’s loved ever since he was handed her picture for safekeeping—what could be more impossibly romantic than that? I hate to give away endings, but it’s been almost 20 years and this line still gives me goosebumps: In the few hours we had together, we loved a lifetime’s worth.”


Thank you for sharing your favourite movies and love lessons from them, Evelyn!

One of my favourites has got to be Sliding Doors, a rather sad but moving show that begins with Gwyneth Paltrow (Helen) being fired from her job after arriving late. She packs out of her office and rushes to catch the train home. At this point, the movie breaks into two parallel worlds, where we learn what would have happened if she made the train, and if she hadn’t. In the first scenario, she misses the train, continues to meet with more unfortunate incidents and doesn’t know that her boyfriend is cheating on her. In the second, she makes it, meets a man called James on the train and finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her when she reaches home. In this scenario, she leaves her boyfriend and hooks up with James, and it seems like a happy-ever-after but it turns out not. It’s in the first scenario that she goes through the darkest points of her life, but emerges with hope and the possibility of a romantic relationship with a man called James.

Lesson? Well, sometimes what we deem as bad experiences are often periods through which we grow and are prepared for something better – true love perhaps.

I hope you enjoyed this guest post! Do hop over to Evelyn’s blog – the bottomsup blog – for more of her interesting articles! She’s doing a whole month of lists btw, which should be fun! 😉

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  1. says

    Absolutely agree that movies can be the best places to get some lessons on love and life.

    ‘When Harry Met Sally’ is also one of my top favourites. ‘Lars and the Real Girl’ was an interesting addition to the list, but looking back in retrospect it does offer some good lessons, including the importance of being surrounded by a supportive network/community.

    My list of top picks would also include: ‘Dances with Wolves’, ‘Mr Holland’s Opus’, and ‘An Affair to Remember’
    Serenely recently posted..Resolving to give more comment loveMy Profile

    • Evelyn says

      I’ve seen Dances With Wolves, but my memory of that is hazy! I used to be a HUGE Kevin Costner fan way back when though, started with No Way Out. 🙂 I meant to watch Mr Holland’s Opus, but with kids, a lot of movies get put on the To-Watch Someday list, which just keeps growing! Will go google An Affair To Remember, thanks for sharing!

    • Evelyn says

      LOL I’d wanted to talk about Aliens too! Like when Michael Biehn hands Sigourney Weaver a locator bracelet and says, “It’s not like we’re engaged or anything.” I thought that was romantic, but maybe it was a good thing I left that out. 😛

    • Evelyn says

      Yay Emily! Nice to meet another fan! Did you like Sleepless In Seattle too? I did. Not a big fan of You’ve Got Mail though.

    • Evelyn says

      Hehehe yes, what would we do without the movies? 🙂 Wish I had more time for them though. I haven’t seen the Notebook, will go check it out too!

  2. says

    Lots of my favourites on this list! I love love LOVE Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind! It’s one of my favourite movies, though I wouldn’t classify it as a romance movie 🙂 I also really love Amelie, and of course, When Harry Met Sally is a classic. Growing up, my favourite rom-com was While You Were Sleeping. Still have a soft spot for it. I think I just like Christmas movies!
    Mummybean recently posted..Making Sweet & Salty PopcornMy Profile

    • mamawearpapashirt says

      Thanks for sharing your favourites, Mummybean! I think I will HAVE to catch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind…next movie-date night hopefully!

  3. Angie says

    Hi Eve and June,

    I love this post! We all have our fav movie moments which touched our heart strings with lessons in love. My absolute favorites are:
    1. You’ve got Mail
    2. The Lakehouse
    3. Juno
    4. The Pursuit of Happyness and
    5. UP (animation movie)!
    Angie recently posted..Around the World in 18 Days: Taiwan!My Profile

  4. says

    Casablanca is probably the greatest movie of all time. The film accomplishes this on so many levels I can scarcely count them.

    I’m probably dating myself to even mention a film that seventy years old. Just glance at any greatest movie list Casablanca is almost always number one or two (rare cases number three). That’s on literally thousands of all time greatest film lists.

    That should tell you something. Either folks are incredible copy cats or they recognize a good thing when they see it.

    Casablanca was not only a lesson in the incredible power of film but a history lesson, touching on the beginning of World War 2 before the United States was officially involved.

    (I’m sometimes humbled by the fact that no one involved with this picture could know that as many as seventy or eighty million folks would be dead before the war was over.)

    Here’s one life lesson: For the studios, Casablanca was nothing special, just another movie to throw together to meet their monthly quota of film to throw at the cinemas. No one, not the actors, nor the studio had any clue that this movie would have the phenomenal staying power that it did.

    Nobody really knows anything—and I do mean nobody.

    Hindsight is twenty/twenty. Everything else is a complete and utter guess—perhaps built on an expectation that the future will repeat itself—but still a guess.

    Lesson 2: The Bogart and Bergman love story was the most compelling ever filmed before and perhaps since.

    Significantly, their story speaks to the notion that often times in life you simply don’t wind up with what you most want—in this case, the love of your life.
    You settle for something less.

    But then again, “We’ll always have Paris!”
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