It’s the time of year when everything turns shades of pink, Hallmark accountants rub their hands together and florists are run off their feet. That’s right it’s all about the couples in February because Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. This totally commercial and ridiculously sentimental holiday is, if nothing else, an excellent excuse for a top ten list. Because while I shy away from anything mushy and romantic in my day to day life I do love it in fiction. My topic for today is “grand romantic gestures”. You know those moments in movies when the hero or heroine must prove their love by performing embarrassing and possibly illegal acts.
“To me you are perfect”
Try not to look too deeply into this one because contextually it’s actually kind of creepy. But ignoring the fact that he’s confessing his love to his best friends wife and it’s incredibly sweet. Mark loves Juliet but Juliet is married to Peter. Mark knows he doesn’t stand a chance but considering it’s already come out he decides to confess his (unrequited) love using a series note cards. It’s simple, endearing and probably one of the only moments on this list that could translate in the real world… just don’t do it to your best friends wife.
A field of daffodils
Ed Bloom has found the girl he wants to marry the only problem is she’s engaged to someone else (this seems to be a theme). To convince Sandra that they are meant to be he fills the lawn in front of her sorority house with daffodils, her favourite flower. Again this could be creepy – the girl already has a fiancé (no means no) but it’s too sweet for me to care. Anyway her fiancé was a dick and Ed guy called every flower shop in the state to get enough daffodils to fill a field – that’s pretty hard to resist. Realistically an act like this is going to cost a frick load of money and the chances of getting it all set up before someone tweets a picture and it gets back to your beloved is pretty unlikely... but in the romantic world of Big Fish - it works.
Peter takes a beating for Rachel’s virtue
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Peter knows he's going get beat up when he goes to take down Rachel’s topless photo, he also knows that Rachel is probably not going to forgive him, but he does it anyway. It’s one of my favourite gestures because it’s ridiculous – if anyone doesn’t need rescuing it’s Rachel but that’s not what Peter’s trying to do. Of course the whole getting beat up thing helps with the whole self-loathing spiral he’s entered into but it’s a nice idea. Unlike most of the romantic gestures on this list Peter does it without much hope for reward makes it that much better. He fucked up, he knows it, he just wants Rachel to know that he really did care.
“You’re a wanker, number nine!”
Imagine Me and You
Rachel is doing the traditional rom-com dash to the airport when she’s caught in traffic. It appears as though all hope is lost when she realizes that Luce is stuck in the same traffic jam. Rachel jumps out of car and onto the roof shouting for her girl using her diaphragm just like Luce taught her. The fact that Rachel yells something so absurd to Luce’s attention is beautiful – there are no sweeping speeches or expensive gifts. This moment is just about saying: “I’m here!” Rachel is making an effort for Luce and that’s all she needs to know.
Lloyd Dobler, a boom box and Peter Gabriel
The original hipster Lloyd Dobler is desperate to win back his ex-girlfriend Diane Court. In one of his many attempts to regain her love he stands outside her window holding a boom box above his head blasting Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” into her bedroom. Okay so it's pretty creepy and not very considerate to the neighbours but it still melts my cold heart a little bit. So let’s forget that Lloyd Dobler is actually a stalker and think about the fact that more people recognize this moment than have seen this movie. That makes it pretty special.
Noah climbs a Ferris wheel for a date with Allie
Noah climbs a Ferris wheel for a date with Allie
Noah meets Allie at a carnival – when she refuses to go out with him he climbs the Ferris wheel she’s riding and threatens to let himself fall to his death if she doesn’t agree to a date. Do not try this at home! Seriously I know it seems like a good idea and Ryan Gosling makes it look effortless but you will probably end up dead. Also if you are not Ryan Gosling then threatening to kill yourself to get a date is just creepy. That said this moment fits perfectly with the romance narrative of The Notebook and it’s a fitting start for Noah and Allie’s tempestuous journey.
Robbie Hart wants to grow old with Julia
The Wedding Singer
Robbie Hart is flying first class to Las Vegas to stop the woman he loves from marrying the wrong guy. Luck is on his side when he finds out that Julia and her cheating fiancé are on the same plane as him. With the help of Billy Idol and the rest of the first class passengers he serenades Julia with an original heartfelt song: “Growing Old With You”. Julia wants someone she can grow old with, Robbie wants to be that guy and he wrote a song to prove it – it’s adorable. I’m getting a tooth ache just thinking about it. Also Adam Sandler made a good movie once… who knew?
Megan cheers for her ladylove
But I’m a Cheerleader
Megan is kicked out of True Directions (a reparative therapy camp) and the girl she loves Graham opts to stay behind and complete the program to become an actual functioning heterosexual. Naturally Megan is heartbroken. But faint heart never won fair lady – Megan crashes the True Directions graduation and performs a cheer for the girl she loves. Megan loves cheerleading almost as she loves Graham. It’s how she expresses herself and her honesty and enthusiasm come shining through this impromptu performance. There’s no way Graham can resist the heartfelt confession (I can’t either).
A mailbox full of Tic Tacs
Juno realizes that she might actually be in love with the father of her baby Paulie Bleeker (even though they never really dated) so she fills his mailbox with his favourite sweet treat – orange Tic Tacs. This is one of the rare occasions when it’s a girl making grand gesture towards a guy. Like so many romantic heroes before her Juno realizes that true love has been starring her in the face the whole time but she’s been treating him like crap and now she has to win him back. She opts for the classic technique of buying a sentimental gift except instead of a field filled with his favourite flower she fills his mailbox with orange Tic Tacs. It’s adorably quirky just like the rest of this film.
Patrick can’t take his eyes off Kat
10 Things I Hate About You
Patrick Verona is on a mission of seduce Kat but she’s not giving him the time of day. He’s not going to give up that easily – so he uses the schools sound system to serenade Kat with the song “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”. It’s good and it just gets better when the matching band joins in for the instrumental. If you never imagined Heath Ledger doing this for you – then you are lying to yourself because this is easily the most romantic gesture in movie history. Of course you have to ignore the fact that Patrick is actually being paid to woo Kat but as he ends up falling for her despite himself we can forgive him. Every time I watch it my heart does this weird skippy thing that makes me worried I’m having a heart attack and when the marching band starts I basically explode with squee.
There you have it – my top ten heart attack inducing, possibly illegal and certainly inconvenient grand romantic gestures from movies. Did I get it right?
I’ve told you mine now you tell me yours… what are your favourite grand romantic gestures? Have you ever performed your own embarrassing act or maybe someone has made a grand gesture to gain your affection? Let me know in the comments.