Friday, February 05, 2021

My Ten Favorite Romantic Dramas

A few years ago, I posted a list of my top ten favorite romantic comedies.  You can read it here.  Today, I'm doing something a little different -- a list of my ten favorite romantic dramas!  I've excluded movies that belong to other specific genres like westerns, musicals, or film noir, simply because... those aren't in the drama section of my movie collection, okay? 

As always, if I've reviewed a film on this list, I've linked the title to my review.

1. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) Three veterans (Dana Andrews, Frederic March, Harold Russell) find returning to civilian life much harder than they'd expected.  Bonus: this movie contains THREE love stories!  You get love between a husband and wife getting reacquainted, between childhood sweethearts, and between new acquaintances.

2. Jane Eyre (1983) Strong-spirited governess Jane Eyre (Zelah Clarke) falls in love with her wealthy, secretive employer (Timothy Dalton), but they cannot marry until they both deserve each other.

3. Chocolat (2000) A mysterious woman (Juliette Binoche) opens a chocolate shop in a sedate French village and teaches its inhabitants to reexamine their attitudes and customs.   Also, she falls in love with a gypsy (Johnny Depp).

4. North and South (2004)  A woman (Daniela Denby-Ashe) from the pastoral south of England moves to the industrial north and spends months ignoring the fact that a wealthy manufacturer (Richard Armitage) is in love with her. 

5. And Now Tomorrow (1944) A wealthy young woman (Loretta Young) loses her hearing in an illness. Though her family and fiance (Barry Sullivan) try to convince her she needs to accept her condition, a young doctor (Alan Ladd) with an experimental treatment holds out hope that she could regain her hearing.

6. Pride and Prejudice (2005) Elizabeth Bennet (Keira Knightley) and Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen) can't fall in love with each other until they both come to understand themselves first.  Bonus: multiple love stories here too!

7. Jane Eyre (2011)  Strong-spirited governess Jane Eyre (Mia Wasikowska) falls in love with her wealthy, secretive employer (Michael Fassbender), but they cannot marry until they both deserve each other.

8. Moran of the Lady Letty (1922)  A wealthy young man (Rudolph Valentino) gets shanghaied onto a smuggling ship, whereupon he falls in love with the only survivor (Dorothy Dalton) of an abandoned vessel the smugglers rob.

9. Sense and Sensibility (1995)  A young woman (Emma Thompson) and her sister (Kate Winslet) both discover that their own particular personality strengths are also weaknesses when it comes to finding a smooth path to true love.  Bonus: this movie also contains three love stories.  Because why not.

10. Return to Me (2000)  A man (David Duchovny) falls in love with the woman (Minnie Driver) who was the heart donor recipient of his wife's heart after she died.


I just realized that Judi Dench is in three of these:  Chocolat, Pride and Prejudice, and the 2011 Jane Eyre.  How nifty is that?

This post is a contribution toward Cordy's Lovely Blog Party, which is in full swing and continues all month!  You can read her kick-off post here

21 comments:

  1. Rachel, thanks for that list! Good reminder of what to re-watch and making me really want to watch some I've not yet seen. And thanks for including "Chocolat", which I watched several times, with a great Judi Dench as the grumpy grandmother and an imaginary kangaroo suddenly becoming real and hopping away - "Chocolat" is yummy. And a call for tolerance. No need to say that I like "And Now Tomorrow" with "our" Alan Ladd ;-) (Great new pics adorning your blog, by the way - gorgeous screencaps of "Two Years Before the Mast"!) I've seen several versions of "Jane Eyre", even the 1943 one with Orson Welles as Rochester (unlike all the too handsome Rochesters of later versions, physically perfect to play that role) and a too pretty Joan Fontaine as Jane (too pretty for "Rebecca", too, I think). You once wrote an unhappily ended romance could never be your favorite, but on my list another Brontë sister is always present: I simply adore Laurence Olivier as Heathcliff in "Wuthering Heights". Dreadfully sad, but wonderful romantic drama.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed this, Andrea!

      I adore Chocolat. Such a quirky, joyful movie.

      I had had the previous blog header for nearly a year, and wanted something new for the pirate blog party I'm hosting later this month... and Two Years Before the Mast is the closest thing Alan Ladd made to a pirate movie, so there we go!!!

      I realllllly like the 1943 version of Jane Eyre -- you're right, Orson Welles is excellent. I was not expecting him to be such a mischievous, almost puckish Rochester, but I was charmed.

      Alas, even Laurence Olivier can't save Wuthering Heights for me.

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  2. Three cheers for Pride and Prejudice 2005! That is such a deliciously romantic, swoon-worthy film, drenched in all kinds of golden light. Me like.

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  3. Wait, S&S contains three love stories? Do you mean Edward/Elinor, Marianne/Willoughby, and Marianne/Colonel Brandon? Bc I guess *technically* Marianne and Willoughby are a love story, but at the same time I wouldn't classify them as such? Idk =)

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    1. don't forget *whispers* Lucy and Robert ;) who I'm sure are very very happy being vapid and frivolous together

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    2. Eva, yes, that's what I mean. Just because Marianne/Willoughby goes bust doesn't mean it's not a love story.

      Katie, you're cracking me up. Lucy and Robert! I'm chortling aloud here.

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    3. LUCY AND ROBERT FOREVAHHHHHHHHHHH

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    4. I may or may not have just snorted tea up my nose. Ew.

      And you know, just because Lucy and Robert are vapid and greedy, that doesn't mean they can't have a perfectly happy life together. I rather think they might.

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  4. Ahh, I love this! And I love so many of the films on this list. (Psst: Return to Me is going to make an appearance on one of my posts for these romantical blog parties, too. But I'm cheating a bit and classifying it as a romantic comedy even though I know it's more of a dramedy.)

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    1. Olivia, awww, yay! Can't wait to see what you have to say about Return to Me. I saw that at the second-run theater with high school friends while home on a college break and have been a fan ever since. I think it kind of can go either way, as it does have very funny parts.

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  5. I love how Jane Eyre appears twice as it's your favorite book and you've found awesome adaptations! Usually if I REALLY love a book then I'm scared to try film adaptations that could alter my thoughts on how I imagine it (example: Anne of Green Gables).

    Sense and Sensibility is beyond incredible! So lovely!

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    1. MC, I'm starting to think I should do a page listing the various Jane Eyre adaptations I've seen, like the one I have for Hamlets. Because I've seen... six? Six for sure. And I have Definite Preferences thereof.

      I often watch a movie version FIRST because then the book is like an expanded version of a story I already like. And if I don't like it, then I've only spent 2 hours or so on it, rather than the time it would take to read the book. Because sometimes, yes, it can be hard to not have a book experience altered by a film experience, but I rarely have it go the other direction and have a film experience get messed up by the book.

      I really love Sense and Sensibility. It was my introduction to Jane Austen, many many many moons ago!

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  6. Jane Eyre and Pride & Prejudice are some of my favorites too.
    I should watch Chocolat love Johnny Depp.

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    1. Skye, high five for sharing some favorites :-) A word of warning: if you like chocolate at all, have some on hand when you watch Chocolat because it's going to make you crave it in a major way.

      It's got one of my favorite Johnny Depp roles :-) So if you're also a fan, definitely try it.

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  7. I'm not sure if I've seen any of these, actually. I've read Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, though. I do plan on reading Jane Eyre soon, so maybe I'll watch the movie version after that.

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    1. McKayla, well, if you're ever looking for something to watch, I do recommend these!

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  8. I haven't seen 1, 5, 8 and 10 -- and now I really must correct that. This was a great idea. Thanks for a few awesome period drama recs!
    ~ Lex (lexlingua.co)

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    1. Lex, wow! You've seen quite a few. Of those four, I recommend seeking out The Best Years of Our Lives first, as it's one of the finest films I've ever seen, in any genre.

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  9. I haven't seen many of these.

    Dana Andrews? Sign me up! I think this might already be on my list to watch (its getting out of hand seeing as I've lately been wasting free time on youtube rather than decent films).

    That version of Jane Eyre is the last major one I need to see, I've seen 5 and there was a 6th one from the 70s with Jane looking like she was in her 40's and Rochester his 70's that I decided to pass on.

    I need to watch more Johnny Depp movies.

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    1. Livia Rachelle, oh my goodness, if you like Dana Andrews, you must see The Best Years of Our Lives. So achingly good.

      I think I need to do a page comparing Jane Eyre adaptations like my page on Hamlets because I've seen I think 6? Maybe 7? For sure, 6. Quite a few, anyway. I think you're speaking of the George C. Scott as the one you didn't see, maybe? I've not watched that either.

      Johnny Depp's movies are such a mixed bag, but there are definitely gems in there.

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