The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

Movie kisses are overrated – or why movie love is best when miserable

with 10 comments


“… and so they lived happily together for the rest of their lives.”

This was the way fairy tales used to end when I grew up, way before Disney realized that girls actually dream of other things than marriage.

Nowadays I find most love stories with happy endings quite unbearable. Is there anything more boring than to see a couple wrapped up in their own little bubble of happiness? They obviously don’t care for anything but themselves. Why should I care about them?

The movie bloggers in Sweden run a blogathon every month and the theme of February was “love”. (I suspect that the upcoming Valentines’s Day might have something to do with this).

And the more I thought about the topic, the more I realized how dark I want my love movies to be.

You have to push me hard to come up with a love movie with a happy loving couple that I truly love. I suppose there are a few in Love Actually, but my favourite one in that movie is the miserable guy who communicates his unfulfilled love with cards. Then there’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which is a bit in-between and not very clear about the prospects of the future. One of my favourite love couples in a movie last year was Only Lovers Left Alive. If you think about it, their relationship is pretty great. But their overall life situation isn’t.

So let’s have a look at my current favourite movie couples:

10. Perfect Sense
Susan and Michael fall in love. Unfortunately the world is coming to its end meanwhile. It’s just a shame that I don’t know of anyone else apart from me who has seen this film.

roman holiday
9. Roman Holiday
Joe and Princess Ann fail badly in overcoming the class divide.

8. Never Let Me Go
As if a dystopian society wasn’t enough, poor Kathy and Tommy are separated from each other because of jealousy.

7. Bright Star
Fanny Brawne and John Keats, seperated by a wall of financial issues and disease. The further away they are from each other, the more I root for them.
brief enc

6. Brief Encounter
There isn’t much physical contact between Laura and Dr Alec during their brief encounters at a railway station café. But this means that every little touch will mean something. Oh, that touch on the shoulder – immensely more erotic than any intercourse possibly could be. The impossible love is the sweetest one.


5. Brokeback Mountain
Ennis and Jack. Do I really need to say anything? Isn’t this the most heart breaking love movie ever?


4. The Bridges of Madison County
Robert and Fransesca – competing with Brokeback mountain for the title “Most tear provoking love movie ever). It’s a shame that it appears so rarely on people’s top lists.

3. Lost in Translation

I’m not entirely sure of the nature of the relationship between Charlotte and Bob, what to make of the food holding scene and exactly what words that were uttered in their final meeting. Regardless what, they’re my favourite platonic love couple evs.


2. The Remains of the Day
Miss Kenton and Mr Stevens. Every time I watch this movie I can’t help hoping that you’ll step out of your comfort zones, cross the barriers and confess your love to each other. Miracles DO happen, right?


1. Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight
Oh, Jessie. Oh, Celine. Unlike most couples on my top list, you aren’t doomed. Your relationship is worth saving, though it will require some effort. Please, please give it a try!

Separation, yearning, death and disaster, misery and melancholy. There you are, my favourite ingredients for love movies. And all movie kisses are overrated, unless they’re performed in a sense of danger and desperation.




Here are the takes on love in movies by my fellow bloggers (in Swedish):

Fiffis filmtajm
Fripps filmrevyer
Har du inte sett den?
The Nerd Bird
Rörliga bilder och tryckta ord

10 Responses

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  1. Great list, Jessica. (So good to see a posting notice in my inbox.) With your list in mind, I have to ask if you saw In the Mood for Love (2001), and if so, what did you think?


    February 4, 2015 at 6:24 am

  2. What a great list and thanks for the reminder, I really should see Perfect Sense 🙂 I totally agree about the other nine.


    February 4, 2015 at 10:20 am

  3. A wonderful and diverse list Jessica. Good stuff. Hard to argue with that #1 pick, especially after we watch them for three movies just try to become and maintain their status as a couple.


    February 4, 2015 at 1:27 pm

  4. Oh yes, that’s a very good list, at least if I rely on the films I have seen. My favorite is (of course!) The Remains of the Day: a film that is funny (yes!), wonderful, but in the end absolutely devastating.


    February 4, 2015 at 10:11 pm

  5. Great post! I do love Céline and Jesse, glad to see them at the top spot.


    February 5, 2015 at 6:10 am

  6. Nice list! It was a great choice to do a list for this blogathon, I think. LOL. I also did a list!

    we also have two overlapping titles in Roman holiday and Brief encounter. Great love stories that did not have the moderna Hollywood ending…


    February 5, 2015 at 4:39 pm

  7. A list, on my honour! And a nice one to boot (enjoyed seeing both Brief Encounter och Brokeback on it). I’m hard pressed to contradict you on the happy vs sad love stories since love movies really isn’t my cup of tea. But in regards to an oldie, bur goodie, how ’bout When Harry Met Sally?


    February 5, 2015 at 8:24 pm

  8. Great idea listing love couples, I wish I’d done it myself! My top favorites (Harry and Sally) are missing on your list, but you pick is interesting. Number 1: Celine and Jesse I agree completely, what a couple. Never heard of “Perfect Sense” but it seems awesome. Love the dynamic of Charlotte and Bob in Lost in Translation. I think if you’d seen “Love is Strange” there would be another great couple on your list, just a hinch 😉

    Cecilia Burman

    February 6, 2015 at 6:08 pm

  9. Completely agree. Hopeless love is the most beautiful. I know there have been adaptations of the Sorrows of Young Werther. But there should be made one HUGE one – it will be sooo beautiful.


    October 1, 2016 at 11:31 pm

  10. This was a lovely bllog post

    Gerard Walker

    December 13, 2022 at 5:27 pm

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