"From forth the fatal loins of these two foes,
A pair of starre-crost lovers take their life"
Whoa whoa whoa now, Shakespeare! I ain't trying to go that dark. Well, maybe a little bit. My picks this week aren't devoid of tragedy. But isn't there just something about a doomed love that makes it all the more heartfelt for the audience? I love a good romance, and more than anything I love a good one riddled with unclear destinies, for the truest, most-lasting, of loves are the ones we rush into without the clarity to know it probably won't work out.
So, it's Thursday, and love is in the air. Wandering through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks is going Valentine's themed this February. First up, of course, Star-Crossed Lovers.
Here are my picks:
Harold and Maude
Dir. Hal Ashby, 1971
Harold (Bud Cort) is a rich kid of about 20, lost in life, nowhere to go, spoiled to no end, reaching for attention in any way he can, including through faked suicides virtually ignored by his mother. Maude (Ruth Gordon) is nearing 80, fast-living, totally sure of her fate, in full control of her life. What these two find in each other is more special than just about any found in movies. And that it is so odd just makes it all that more powerful...and truly star-crossed. Filled with both humor and sadness, Hal Ashby's Harold and Maude is perennially one of my favorite films. It gets better with every watch.
Dir. Anthony Minghella, 2003
Inman (Jude Law) is a man of few words, a hard-working man, a hired hand. He rushes to join the fight with the rest of the young men of western North Carolina on the cusp of the Civil War. At the same time, he has fallen into passionate love with Ada Monroe (Nicole Kidman), a minister's daughter. The War will separate them for years. But through those years, all Inman ends up with is that love, drawing him back to his home in Appalachia on Cold Mountain. I don't particularly like the casting of Jude Law in this role, but he does his best, I suppose. And the film itself is lovely and a perfect adaptation of Charles Frazier's love letter to his mountain home, just a couple hours from where I, myself, grew up.
The Spectacular Now
Dir. James Ponsoldt, 2013
Sutter (Miles Teller) lives his life on the edge, right here and right now. He is a budding alcoholic and may not even realize it. Aimee (Shailene Woodley) isn't part of his crowd, humble but destined for success in life. In each other, they find the missing piece, the best in themselves and a first true love. This movie filled me with life when I saw it. It is THE MOVIE that prompted me to write about movies again, making this blog what it has become up to this point. It is a story of young adults that respects young adults and their problems more than just about any story of its kind. I felt love and pain in every moment of pure chemistry between these two young actors, and I applaud director James Ponsoldt's subtle storytelling with each film of his I watch.