2018 Valentine's Reading Recommendations Guest Post with Clare Connelly
Happy Valentine's Day! I hope you have a wonderful one! Today we are lucky enough to have a guest post from author Clare Connelly!
Best Movies for Love… Actually.
I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day. As a kid, I used to make gifts and cards for my parents and siblings, and now, I make heart-themed craft with my own kids. But my secret pleasure, in the lead up to Valentine’s Day, is watching as many of my favourite romantic movies of all time! There are so many great films out there, but these are the ones that always, always, always make my heart full.
1. SWEET HOME ALABAMA.
This fun take on the love triangle trope is fresh, sexy and full of heart. I love that Andrew Hennings, the fiancé-turned-spurned-loved is a really great guy. She didn’t not love him because he was evil or dark, she just “gave her heart away, her whole heart, a long time ago,” and she never really got it back.
Pair it with: beer, crisps and great southern glass.
A classic. I love how Vivian breaks down Edward’s boundaries and humanises him, making him vulnerable in a whole new way. I also like that she was strong enough to leave when he didn’t show his respect. Then there’s that fashion scene and the slap down to the haughty boutique assistants! A benchmark of the billionaire stories that I so adore.
Pair with: champagne and strawberries, obviously (dental floss too for those annoying little seedy things).
This has been a long-time favourite for me. The dialogue between Harry and Sally is so quick and witty, so delightfully organic, you feel like you’re a fly on the wall of their lives rather than an outside spectator. There’s such an incredible depth of heart to their characters– and the New Year’s Eve scene is a perfect Happily Ever After. I fall in love with Harry, Sally and all of New York. And I LOVE Carrie Fisher as Sally’s tell-it-like-it-is, super-cynical bestie Marie.
The soundtrack is amazing, too Harry Connick Jr in his absolute prime.
Then, there’s this scene…
Of all the Nicholas Sparks adaptations, this would have to be my favourite, followed closely by SAFE HAVEN (swoon). There’s so much drama in this that my tummy gets all achey and flip-floppy but it’s beautiful and spell-binding and you genuinely fall in love with all the characters.
If you haven’t seen it, keep an eye out for the shower scene- steamy in more ways than one. It should come with a defibrillator.
5. EVER AFTER
An early nineties’ adaptation of Cinderella that is unexpectedly strong on feminist ideals. Henri is a bit of a childish prince at the start and it’s through meeting Danielle (Cinderella) that he comes to appreciate his birthright and good fortune. She also has to rescue him a heap of times – love it.
6. SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE
Or “sleepless” as those in a long-term relationship with this film feel free to call it. This is a go-to for a movie with emotional depth but all the hallmarks of a classic Nora Ephron. The grief stricken Sam Baldwin is played perfectly by Hanks and somehow Meg Ryan manages to make Annie sweet and hopeful rather than the commitable-stalker we all know she’d be in real life. Jesus, I feel bad if I’m Facebook stalking someone and accidentally like their pictures; Annie hires an investigator to take photographs of some guy she heard on the radio (and his son!). Not to mention calling all the Baldwins she could find in the rudimentary whitepages.com to narrow it down. Yet it’s never a surprise when Sam takes her hand at the end and says, “Shall we?” (Though IRL you’d be walking away whistling and silently signalling deep panic to security). This is another love triangle that manages to make the jilted fiancé a really great guy, which causes the connection of the winning couple to somehow seem more special. It’s not like there was anything wrong with door number one, but door number two was perfect.
PAIR IT WITH: A bottle of Dom Delouise. Oh, make that Dom Perignon.
7. DIRTY DANCING
Obviously this was coming. Who doesn’t love a spot of Johnny Castle (I hope you read that as castle rhyming with Ass because mmm). This coming-of-age story is just perfection, from the controlling yet lovable dad to Baby’s defiant vulnerability and Johnny’s slow, perfect falling in love, DIRTY DANCING is huge on heart.
Pair it with: Tempranillo, light, spicy and entirely quaffable, and a danish that’s pure protein.
8. AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER
This movie found its way to me because of its repeated references in SLEEPLESS, and I have found myself describing the last scene, getting teary and choked up and I recounted Deborah Kerr’s little legs and the moment Carry Grant realises who she is and why she didn’t come to him. I’m ready just writing this! It’s a must see. Long, slow build up that makes you feel like you’re as much a part of the cruise as they are, it’s the kind of movie that they just don’t make nowadays.
Pair it with: Tissues. Lots of tissues.
“I want to taste you tonight.”
With chemistry this hot, it’s worth getting burned…
Billionaire Jack Grant is totally off-limits to Gemma Picton. He’s wild, deliciously dangerous…and her boss. When working late turns X-rated, it’s better than her wildest imaginings—and Gemma’s imagined a lot! But Jack has major emotional baggage, so when Gemma starts wanting to heal his heart as well as enjoy his body, she knows she’s in big trouble…