Cinema is a medium that reflects life’s greatest secrets. Love is sometimes paramount and most of the time a secret that lives in people’s hearts and then dies. The kind of love that people let die and make only a secret can be forbidden love with all kinds of discrepancies.
Maybe these are the stories that deserve to be told the most. That’s where the seventh art comes to the rescue. The artist has to tell something big and important like that, and in doing that he also can make people realize the beauty of love and life and everything in between. And that’s the power of cinema that we all love and cherish.
Cinema has many kinds of romance genres like rom-coms (chick flicks), romantic dramas, erotic films, romantic musicals, etc. Sometimes people need a good old-fashioned romantic comedy world to fantasize and live in; that is also why most romantic comedy characters have everything a person dreams of (charm, a nice character, charisma, cleverness, beauty, wealth), and from time to time the same people want just to watch a dramatic love affair and cry a lot.
While everything in the end resolves beautifully in a rom-com, we could not usually say the same thing about romantic films with age differences. That is where real life becomes a film and we just get what we want, crying because of a pain caused by an “impossible love.” Mission accomplished, and emotions are reached.
“All That Heaven Allows” is a film starring an older and beautiful as always Jane Wyman, and an always ruggedly handsome Rock Hudson. Of course, Hudson is the younger party of this beautiful love affair and Wyman protests everybody in the neighbourhood of the rich and elite. Wyman’s character Cary says, “It should be so simple. Two people who are in love with each other wanna be married. Why it is so difficult all of a sudden?” Rock Hudson’s character Ron says, “It isn’t, if you’re not afraid.”
You really have to watch these movies if you are not afraid of a beautiful romance between characters with big age gaps.
10. Lolita (1962)
Master filmmaker Stanley Kubrick made this film just after the success of “Spartacus.” He is one of the directors who really could say that he tried every kind of movie genre. “Lolita” is based on the classic book by Vladimir Nabokov himself and although Kubrick made a lot of changes in his screenplay, he stated that he loved the film and he praised Kubrick as a director. Nabokov might be the responsible one for starting the cliche of old man/young girl love, but with his talent as a writer, the book became a classic and was adapted into two films as well.
We meet the decent-looking respectable literature professor Humbert Humbert; one day he wants to rent a room and looks to Charlotte Haze’s home for it. He is somewhat uncertain about renting this room, but then he sees Lolita, Mrs. Haze’s young daughter in the garden, and it is love at first sight. He rents the room immediately and becomes one of the family, first as a friend and then as the stepfather of the girl he loves.
And after Charlotte’s death, there is no boundary nor restraint for him to love Lolita, the way he always wanted to. There are so many things going on by the end of the movie that you feel sorry for the selfish and jealous Prof. Humbert, although he might not be a man with good intentions.
The theme may sometimes cross moral boundaries and it was already a controversial novel when it was adapted into screenplay. It is also an obsessive love and more of a physical affection than an emotional one, and maybe this is the reason that it created such a controversy at a relatively more conservative time.
The cast is good as is expected from Kubrick. There were many candidates for James Mason’s Professor role, some of them being Marlon Brando, Laurence Olivier and Cary Grant. Peter Sellers is the scene-stealer as eccentric TV playwright Clare Quilty. Shelley Winters is Mrs. Haze. Sue Lyon played the title role and with her performance she won the most promising newcomer Golden Globe. Nabokov was nominated for the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar.
Favorite Moment: The opening scene with Humbert Humbert and Clare Quilty. There is an air of mystery surrounding the scene, where something’s very wrong and it can all be read on Professor Humbert’s face. The scene also includes an absurd table tennis match and as nearly a strange shooting scene. This is the kind of opening of a film that makes you wonder what could have happened prior to this?
Prof. Humbert: “Charlotte, there is a man on the line who says that you’ve been hit by a car.”
9. The Graduate (1967)
Famous theater director Mike Nichols is behind the camera, and the screenplay is based on the novel by Charles Webb. Benjamin Braddock is an awkward and confused new college graduate who is welcomed home by his parents and their friends. Especially one friend, Mrs. Robinson, takes more interest in Benjamin than any other.
A physical relationship begins with this middle-aged woman while Benjamin is still a virgin. Of course, this is a secret affair and nobody knows this, and in the meantime, the family tries to be matchmakers for Benjamin and Mrs. Robinson’s daughter Elaine. They fall in love and the next step is to overcome the obstacles for real love.
“The Graduate” is especially famous for the “Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me” scene. The main characters are played by Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft and Katharine Ross. This movie is the one that made Hoffman a star, so it has an important place in movie history. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards and the Nichols took one home for directing. The soundtrack is one of the best in the business all thanks to Simon & Garfunkel. As an interesting footnote, the song “Mrs. Robinson” wasn’t specially written for the movie.
Favorite Moment: The famous ending… the union of the two people who are in love against all odds just after one’s marriage to another man. Anger, violence, screams, hope and sadness escape from the truth for a short period of time and return back again to that emotional state. We understand all these from the actors’ faces, especially from the eyes.
Mrs. Robinson: “Do you find me undesirable?”
Benjamin Braddock: “Oh no, Mrs. Robinson. I think you’re the most attractive of all my parents’ friends. I mean that.”
8. Ghost World (2001)
Two high school graduates, Enid and Rebecca, are best friends for life – or are they? One is the standard life-loving type who finds a job and rents a room just after high school. The other marginal one is not sure of anything; with a complicated mind and an unstable emotional state, she finds herself an unlikely hero in Seymour, who will soon be her best friend. A joke and a song (Skip James – “Devil Got My Woman”) brings them together; at first it was only a friendship, and after a jealousy crisis caused by the object of the joke that started it all, the friendship turned into an awkward romance.
The relationship with Seymour also became the reason for the deterioration of the friendship of high school pals. At one point in her life, everything went wrong for our main character, Enid. The characters don’t look like normal yet they are so much from real life so the bad situation Enid is in, makes us feel gloomy too. And then came the resolution in one way at the end. She just tries to find her way in life and we as the audience wish her the best.
Director Terry Zwigoff is also known for the film “Bad Santa.” The film is based on a comic book of Daniel Clowes by the writer himself and the director. Birch and Johansson play the teenagers while everyone’s favorite character actor Steve Buscemi is Seymour.
The film was nominated for the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar all thanks to its clever and witty exchanges, and the calm, slow-paced but never boring atmosphere of the film. Birch and Buscemi were Golden Globe nominees, and it was a popular choice in film critics awards.
Favorite Moment: The ending scene with Seymour in the hospital with Rebecca on the bench, and the last scene with the man who waits for the bus for the whole movie. She redeemed herself with these encounters and felt ready for a new start in her life.
Enid: “God! How can you stand all these assholes?”
Rebecca: “Some people are OK, but mostly I just feel like poisoning everybody.”
7. Rushmore (1998)
The cast is all too familiar now to a Wes Anderson fan: staples Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman and Luke Wilson, alongside Olivia Williams and Brian Cox, had the chance to work with a fantastic screenplay written by Anderson himself and his longtime pal Owen Wilson. He is known for creating different colorful little worlds for his audience with some of the greatest soundtracks, and “Rushmore” is also full of this director’s trademarks. He makes you smile with his dialogue as well as think; that’s what people hope to get from an art piece, and people always get what they want from a Wes Anderson movie.
Rushmore is a high school, Max Fischer is the greatest fan of Rushmore, so great a fan that he has been in this high school for 12 years until he gets expelled from it. Then there is this teacher, Rosemary Cross, who he has a big crush on who is older than him, but Max is a unique individual who doesn’t care about people’s ages, be it love or friendship. He introduces Miss Cross to another friend, Herman Blume, and this incident becomes the reason behind the birth of a rivalry for Miss Cross’ affections.
Anderson and Wilson said that they intended to create a Roald Dahl-like atmosphere, which they succeeded in doing. The feeling this film gives us is a gift from one of the greatest living directors ever, and it would be a pity not to take and enjoy it.
Favorite Moment: After the party of Heaven and Hell, especially the conversation between Max and Rosemary Cross, and of course, the dancing scene at the end by the company of Faces’ lead vocal Rod Stewart’s “Ooh La La.”
Miss Cross: “Well… you pulled it off.”
Max Fischer: “Yeah, it went okay. At least nobody got hurt.”
Miss Cross: “Except you.”
Max Fischer: “Nah, I didn’t get hurt that bad.”
6. Harold and Maude (1971)
If there’s anything called a cult film, this is one of the greatest examples. Hal Ashby’s “Harold and Maude” gives us the story of the depressive, death and funeral obsessed young Harold, and the full of life, sweet, fun and a little bit crazy 80-year-old Maude. These eccentric souls get closer as the two spend time with each other, and their friendship blossoms into a very unlikely romance.
The film is like a long Cat Stevens video clip and it is certainly worth a watch. Even the theme of the movie is Stevens’ “If You Want to Sing Out,” perfectly suiting Ruth Gordon’s most famous character.
Along with Bud Court, they were nominated for the Golden Globe and the film itself was a winner of a national film registry of in the US. But more than the awards, this film won people’s hearts. They say, “Age is just a number when it comes to love.” After you watch this movie, you’ll agree with that.
Favorite Moment: The opening scene with the company of Cat Stevens’ “Don’t Be Shy.” The scene involves one of Harold’s many suicide attempts.
Favorite Quote :
Harold: “I love you.”
Maude: “Oh, Harold… That’s wonderful. Go and love some more.”