Entertainment, Review

5 Wonderfully Cynical Films About Love

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By Charlie Jordin

The Lobster 

‘We dance alone. That’s why we only play electronic music.’
Yorgos Lanthimos’ films are rarely straightforward and uplifting and this film is no different. A bleakly humorous and at times disturbing interpretation of modern romance, The Lobster stars Colin Farrell as newly single David who has been forcibly moved into a hotel in which single people must find a partner in 45 days, otherwise they will be turned into an animals. With a screenplay that oozes dry wit, The Lobster is a surreal take on dating and laughs in the face of traditional romance films.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

‘Why do I fall in love with every woman I see who shows me the least bit of attention?’
This iconic drama asks the question: would you erase all memories of your ex? Starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, the film follows the breakdown of a relationship and the choices they made which led them to erase each other from their memories. The film is a scathing exploration of romance and the unfair expectations couples place upon one another.
Blue Valentine

‘Maybe I’ve seen too many movies, you know, love at first sight. What do you think about love at first sight? You think you can love somebody just by looking at them? But the thing is man, I felt like I knew her, you ever get that feeling?’
Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams) were swept up in a whirlwind romance but now their marriage is falling apart. Written and directed by acclaimed director Derek Cianfrance, Blue Valentine shifts from the present day to the past, intimately chronicling the highs and lows of their relationship and the strains of modern marriage.

Happy Together

‘I had no regrets until I met you. Now my regrets could kill me.’
Wong Kar-wai’s Happy Together stars Tony Leung and Leslie Cheung as lovers from Hong Kong who moved to Argentina to try and fix their tumultuous relationship. The film is unrelentingly thoughtful with beautiful, hazy cinematography.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

‘You know what’s wrong with you, Miss Whoever-you-are? You’re chicken, you’ve got no guts. You’re afraid to stick out your chin and say, “Okay, life’s a fact, people do fall in love, people do belong to each other, because that’s the only chance anybody’s got for real happiness.”’
While hailed as a quintessential romance film of the ‘60s, in many ways Breakfast at Tiffany’s is highly cynical in its portrayal of romance. Holly Golightly, according to author Truman Capote who wrote the novel it was based on, is an ‘American geisha.’ She sees love as a ‘cage’ and refuses to ‘belong to anybody’. Her love interest Paul is a struggling author who also prostitutes himself to make a living in Manhattan. Due to the strict regulations of ‘60s cinema through the Hays code, the film had to downplay these themes (as well as completely change both character’s sexuality- Holly was bisexual and Paul was gay in the book.) Holly’s resistance to being in love makes her a fascinating character and rightly one of the most iconic characters in cinema ever.

About the author / 

Charlie Jordin

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