Wandering Through the Shelves' weekly blogathon. In order to play along, just choose three films that fit the week's category.
This week's theme for movie picks is Unrequited Love. My favorite kind. But in trying to make my picks this week, I had to remind myself of the definition. According to Wikipedia, Unrequited love is "love
that is not openly reciprocated or understood as such. The beloved may
or may not be aware of the admirer's deep and strong romantic
affections." The Merriam Webster Online Dictionary defines unrequited as
"not reciprocated or returned in kind."
You could argue that nearly every Romantic Comedy involves unrequited love in some way, but they usually end with the beloved's realization that SHOCKER, their true love was right in front of them the whole time! I rejected all those films outright, and insisted on some other parameters: The love must be made exceedingly clear, if not stated outright, and genuinely rejected (goodbye, In The Mood for Love, The Great Gatsby, etc.); no mid-film flings (sorry, Chasing Amy); and no anthology-type films where the unrequited love only plays a part in one story out of many (apologies, Love Actually). Fortunately... or unfortunately, depending on your point of view... I immediately thought of one perfect pick and two other picks for which I wanted to talk about anything BUT the unrequited love part. The fact that this is a gif-heavy post might give you a clue as to what I wanted to talk about instead...
Pretty In Pink (John Hughes, 1986) - Finally, a hero for the GUY with an unrequited crush on his GIRL best friend! I may never forgive Pretty In Pink for unleashing Jon Cryer on the world, but it's kind of hard to deny that this film, and Duckie, are damn good and iconic for a reason - and it's not that HIDEOUS dress Molly Ringwald wore to the prom. Much like John Hughes's previous classic The Breakfast Club, there's something here for any teenager to relate to. And really, enough cannot be said about that perfect final scene, scored to OMD's "If You Leave". No matter who you want Ringwald's Andie to end up with, it's impossible not to get caught up in the romance of that scene.
Crazy, Stupid, Love. (Glenn Ficara, John Requa, 2011) - A young boy not-so-secretly in love with his babysitter, who's secretly in love with said boy's father - at least until her own father discovers the nude pictures she planned to give her unrequited love. Oldest story in the world, right? Okay, fine, this is really just a Trojan horse to talk about Ryan Gosling's Photoshopped body. Can you blame me? The man is PERFECT. The mid-film scene with Gosling and Emma Stone is a masterpiece short film, a sex scene that-really-isn't.... a love scene in the best sense of the word. This is one of the best mainstream romantic comedies Hollywood has produced in years, primarily because it treats its characters like real people with real emotions (and perfect bodies).
The Paperboy (Lee Daniels, 2012) - Jesus, who WOULDN'T be in love with Nicole Kidman's Charlotte Bless?!? Because, really, how fucking brilliant is she in Lee Daniels's batshit, tonally confused (and still somehow slightly dull) Southern Gothic? It's one of the most audacious star turns in recent memory. You can't blame Zac Efron for going all head over heels for her crazy sexy/sexual hairdresser. It's hard to believe she doesn't reciprocate for him in those wet briefs, but, well... she kinda has a thing for creepy psycho backwoods murderers played by John Cusack at his most repugnant, so... Plus, I think it's pretty obvious she's WAY too much woman for poor little Zac - she'd chew him up and spit him out in five minutes.
These are two of my favorites, ones I almost picked but determined they didn't really count for some reason.
My Best Friend's Wedding (P.J. Hogan, 1997) - I was seconds away from choosing this one, but then I remembered that there's one scene where Dermot Mulroney makes it pretty clear that he wants Julia Roberts to tell him she loves him. We don't know that he feels the same way back, but the subtext is that he probably does - or at the very least is considering running away with her. If you don't know this one (and you should), Roberts's Julianne and Mulroney's Michael made a pact that if neither of them were married by the time they turned 28 they would marry each other. Three weeks before that happens, Michael calls Julianne and tells her that he's getting married to the preppy Kimmy (Cameron Diaz). Julianne freaks out that he's marrying someone so "wrong" for him and realizes it's because she really loves him. But he sees her as his best friend so much that Kimmy asks Julianne to be her maid of honor. So of course, Julianne decides to split up the happy couple before they even get married. Of course, things don't exactly go according to plan. Julia Roberts is deliciously bitchy in one of her best performances, and Cameron Diaz is perfect as Kimmy. And also, Rupert Everett plays the ultimate Gay BFF.
A Single Man (Tom Ford, 2009) - I had already written this up when I suddenly had a crisis of conscience: Does Julianne Moore's Charlie ACTUALLY say to Colin Firth's George that she loves him? Panicked, I checked. Unfortunately, the answer was yes AND no. She tells him that she is jealous that she never had the kind of love with him that he had with his now-dead lover of many years Jim (Matthew Goode at his most perfect), but then immediately follows it up by saying, far too honestly to be covering anything up, that she never had that kind of love with anybody. That would have to include George, so I have to say that it isn't true unrequited love. This is one of my favorite Julianne Moore performances, such a finely-detailed character study in really only one scene. And to say nothing of Colin Firth's heartbreaking, career-best work. And Tom Ford brings his flawless designer's eye to every single frame. He's not quite Wong Kar-Wai, mind you, but I still treasure this film, flaws and all.