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

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“… 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

What is left when you’ve lost all your senses?

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There was darkness. There is light. There are men and women. There’s food. There are restaurants. Disease. There’s work. Traffic. The days as we know them, the world as we imagine the world.”

It’s an ordinary day in Glasgow. Or so it seems. But the everyday life is interrupted by a new, and strange phenomenon. People all over the world are suddenly overcome with emotions of despair, followed by a loss of their sense of smell. At first there are only a few cases, but after a while it gets epidemic. And this is only the beginning.

How people respond
Perfect Sense is a science fiction movie of the kind that I like: with more emphasis on the fiction, than on the science. The “science” doesn’t even pretend to be believable. No explanation is given to why mankind suddenly literally starts to lose all their senses, one after one, due to this mysterious condition. Is it infectious? Is it a mutation, something “from space” or a random idea by an unknown deity? This is never discussed. All you can do is to suspend your disbelief and accept that this happens. What’s more interesting is to see how people respond to it.

We see some of the measures society takes against the emerging disaster, but it’s not the main focus of the movie. It gravitates towards the perspective of the individuals, in this case a couple – a chef and an epidemiologist – who fall helplessly in love in the middle of the accelerating chaos.

The apparently low budget makes the production look a little bit cheap, sometimes reminding of TV more than a movie intended for theatres. But this didn’t bother me much at all. More than an action movie or a roller coaster ride, this is a beautiful love poem. And you don’t need either SFX or CGI to cut a connection to your heart.

Uplifting movie
Doesn’t it get depressing to see people becoming more and more handicapped, cut off from each other and from the world? Actually it doesn’t.

How weird as it may sound, it’s uplifting to see how innovative people become to find ways to get by without their senses. When they lose their smell, the compensate making the food sweeter and hotter. When the taste is gone, suddenly they start to experience the sound and texture of food in a new way. And always in the centre are the lovers, getting closer and closer with each other at the same rate as their senses disappear.

I hope that IMDb hasn’t kept good track of how well this movie has made it at the box office because it appears to be a disaster: 1 567 dollars in US (opening on one screen) and 21 675 pounds in UK. Even if your budget was low, it sounds like a loss, especially if you hire stars like Ewan McGregor and Eva Green.

As one single blogger I don’t think I can make a huge difference to those numbers, but if I can inspire just a few more people to see it, I’m happy. I think it deserves it.

Perfect Sense (David Mackenzie, UK 2011) My rating: 4/5

Written by Jessica

March 22, 2013 at 5:20 pm

Posted in Perfect Sense