There’s something about first love. To be innocently in love without massive burdens of responsibility that comes with maturing into a fully grown-up person. Everything is in its place and things surely can’t get any better than that.
Doubtlessly everybody sometimes think about the what if-s that come with thinking about first love. What if it lasted? What if we didn’t break up? What if she didn’t move away? What if we stayed together, no matter how impossible that would be?
These films are good at fueling these thoughts. They’re emulating that familiar feeling of first love and evoke a sense of nostalgia that brings us back to those days where everything was simple and beautiful.
The films that made it on this list are chosen not only by the overall quality and success that they’ve gained. Their style is taken into account too, as is their ability to take someone on an emotional trip back to his or her first love. It’s a highly subjective matter, as is romance itself. This list contains movies that work great on a universal, film-appreciating level, and have a deeply personal impact on an individual too.
10. Pretty in Pink (Howard Deutch, 1986)
Pretty in Pink is the tale of a slightly outcast girl Andie, who comes from a somewhat poor background. She never minded this until one day when her rich snobby crush Blane asks her if she’d like to go out sometime. All of Blane’s rich narrow-minded friends immediately disapprove, and Andie gets caught in the middle when her own best friend Duckie disapproves as well.
Andie has to decide whether pursuing potential love is worth the humiliation she receives from everyone else for doing so. From start to finish, this one still holds up against the recent string of teen pictures that aren’t as cool or refreshing.
A film like this is great when it’s not made in bad taste. Most importantly the message of the film is constructive: that materialism is irrelevant and that self-respect and personal integrity are more important. There is nothing exaggerated or ”cool” about this film which is why it is so appealing. It’s a film that is quite realistic in its sincerity and is done in an emotionally genuine manner which is what makes it so successful.
9. Say Anything (Cameron Crowe, 1989)
Cameron Crowe has crafted a unique romantic comedy which avoids most of the pitfalls one would commonly associate with films within the genre. How does he do it? Plainly by bypassing silly moments by creating a script that reflects the bittersweet experience of first love and by directly, but elegantly guiding the film’s cinematography and excellent acting.
This film is not entirely atypical, and truly uses some very popular rom-com conventions to its advantage, but the role reversal, interjection of an honest story with simple, understated amorous moments make this a huge triumph.
That’s not to say that Crowe isn’t successful when he goes for the wildly over-the-top scenes. These kind of gestures like the stereo outside the window can occur in reality, and the guys who do them usually are just like Lloyd Dobbler; flamboyant and excessive.
Great cast and characters, marvelous writing, and simple but solid direction make this a film that is deservedly recognized as a romantic classic. One of the rare 80’s teen flicks that doesn’t illustrate all teens as sex-obsessed clowns and all adults as authoritarian know-it-alls. It’s an intelligent romantic comedy tactfully made by someone willing to think out-of-the-box.
8. Juno (Jason Reitman, 2007)
Juno MacGuff is an arrogant, misanthropic, mannish teenager played by Ellen Page in a crazy, perfectly tuned performance. After having sex with her best friend, Juno finds out that she’s pregnant. Not being eager and mature enough to raise a baby, Juno decides to give it to a prosperous couple. All seems well at first, but things become bizarrely complicated by the time she gives birth.
The other characters and their motives are wonderful too, especially the adoptive couple and the hardships they are facing. The best segments of the movie are those few moments when Juno gets her sarcastic self off the screen, and we get to enjoy the other, more down-to-earth characters.
Juno has a dazzling effect on the viewer. You can tell by the opening sequence that this movie has a lot of heart. The uncommon dialogue may come off as try-hard to some but it’s one of the reasons why the protagonists feel so genuine and engaging. This film is that unique low-budget gem, a feature that found unexpected success in the mainstream thanks to its charm and cleverness.
7. Summer with Monika (Ingmar Bergman, 1953)
Ingmar Bergman’s Summer with Monika is the story of two Stockholm teens, a simple boy named Harry and attractive, passionate Monika, who meet and fall in love and run away for a summer on a motorboat escaping from their work and obligations. Monika becomes pregnant and they return to the city and marry, but things turn bad.
This first vigorous feature by the Swedish master is straightforward and tender but nonetheless filled with emotionally potent events and situations. The film depicts teenage unwed sex, and it was scandalously erotic for its time. This movie is not your typical Bergman film. It belongs to his early career, and there is not much about philosophy or discreet metaphors.
It’s just a simple movie which makes you think and fills you with a heartwarming sensation. There are so many beautiful and original scenes, and the movie is still relevant. It’s definitely underrated. It is one of the best works belonging to his early career. Its simplicity and true beauty will leave you thinking about it for a long time and keep you returning to it again and again.
6. Romeo and Juliet (Franco Zeffirelli, 1968)
This one is great mainly because it stays so true to what Shakespeare wrote and was doubtlessly his vision, yet is extremely fresh and contemporary, despite its Renaissance setting. Whosoever says Whiting and Hussey are anything short of sensational as Romeo and Juliet needs to reexamine how they want Shakespeare performed.
Do you want dramatic bravado and fist waving or sincere emotion and affection? These actors, mostly because they were so unfamiliar, couldn’t be more pure and faithful to their characters every step of the way. You truly believe that they are in love and it’s an authentic love, not just some crazy teen fling.
Zefferelli balanced the film perfectly, nothing was overstated. He intertwined the tragedy with the comedy as well as the love story by casting the right actor for each role and even if some of them faded into oblivion later, for this film they were all perfect. Even if you’re not a Shakespeare buff, don’t miss this amazing movie. Seeing his timeless “tale of woe” brought to life so vividly and in such an elegant manner might just turn you into one.