This year, I have decided to think hard about what valentines means to our relationship. Often its fairly easy to follow tradition; pick up flowers a box of chocolates and make sure your timing is right. Usually the message is I love you and always will. This is the message, but I wanted to look back on our marriage, our relationship before our marriage and, of course, our relationship before baby. So I’ve decided to use film…
Yes I know… there’s something about fairy tale endings, we can’t get enough of but what I want to highlight is not that fairly tale ending, but the meaningful middle. The messages we often miss because we are so caught up with how it ends.
Ten. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
My first film is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind released in 2004 it’s a bit of an odd one, because it was a romantic film but also a sci-fi. It’s a great movie about an estranged couple who decide to have each other erased from their memories. The message in this film is simple, we never realise what we’ve got till it’s gone. What we need this valentines is time to think about the happier times in our relationships, it’s not often with life and it’s various dramas that we are able to do this. Our memories of the best times are often hidden in photo’s we take, in places we visit, so if you are looking for ways to appreciate your memories “Eternal Sunshine of the spotless mind, is a great place to start.
Nine. Only you (1994)
Yes I know what your thinking… fairy tale ending, typical Disney/ Hollywood drama.
This film is about a young woman whose search for the man she believes to be her soul mate leads her to Italy where she finally meets her destiny, and again like in all the other films, its her journey that most interests me. Frankly, even I got confused when I watched this movie; I had to watch it again! The reason this is on my list for our valentine’s selection is because of choices. This valentine’s day/period, we should take some time out to think about why we chose to love and be with the people we are with.
Eight. When Harry Met Sally (1989)
This film no doubt poses an age long unanswered question – Does sex make it impossible for men and women to be true friends? The story follows the title characters from the time they meet just before sharing a cross-country drive, through twelve years or so of chance encounters in New York City. I think this is a good film for reminding us about going back to the beginning. What I’ve often found with couples I speak to and in my relationship is that we forget to take it back to the basic beginning – going on dates again, taking some time out to rediscover yourselves.
Seven. PS. I love you (2007)
Now this is a very typical Hollywood movie but I believe it has one of the best messages for us. Remember at the beginning of this article I started off with you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone, well the message in this movie, is the follow on to that message – so hold on to what you’ve got, till it’s gone.
Holly and Gerry is a married couple who live on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. They are deeply in love, but they fight occasionally. Gerry suddenly dies of a brain tumor and Holly realizes how much he means to her as well as how insignificant their arguments were. After a while Holly starts to receive several meaningful messages all ending with “P.S. I Love You” — which he had arranged to have delivered to her after his death.
Not all of us get to do the P.S I love you, so here’s my message, don’t leave it till it’s too late.
Six. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
I had to slip some animation in, after all, I’m using the fantasy world to make meaning of reality – right? This animation musical is based on the traditional French fairy tale of the same name by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont.
The message in this movie, is completely and totally about love, from my perspective at least. It is the story of the young handsome man turned into a beast until he must learn to love, not as many simply interpret it; the beast that is loved eventually turns into a prince, that of course can also be true but for me the message is we must learn to come to terms with what love means to us before we can give it. It’s simple, if you have not learnt to love who you are, then how can you love someone else? Take a look in the mirror, and see what you think you are turning into and what you need to come to terms with. Is it the beast of time, the beast of over working, the beast of not sharing tasks at home. What are the things that make it harder for other people to love us? (oh and side note, this has nothing to do with the way you look).
Five. Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
My favorite quote from this film is – “Destiny is something we’ve invented because we can’t stand the fact that everything that happens is accidental.”
The film is about a recently-widowed man’s son who calls a radio talk show in an attempt to find his father a partner, and my message in this film is not so much about the adult characters but about the child.
Children are great at reading us even if we present as grown up often complex characters, they can tell when we are lonely and when we are sad. For those with children old enough, my message is use this valentines to teach them more about love, help them understand some of the key messages I have already shared with you above. Not all relationships have to be built on sex, but start with you understanding how to love yourself. Now I agree this is a bit far fetched from the movie, so here’s my other message – don’t stop yourself from moving on, because you think it’s best for your children. Their needs are paramount, but it might do you better finding out rather than assuming it’s what they want. Of course remember that time heals all wounds, so .. give it time, just don’t give it forever!
Four. Titanic (1997)
How can there be a top 10 romantic films list without it? Most of us know the story of this couple who fought to be together till the very end. The story, besides the one about the ship, is about a seventeen-year-old aristocrat, expecting to be married to a rich claimant by her mother, falls in love with a kind but poor artist aboard the luxurious, ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic. When I watched this film for the first time in 1997, I walked out of the cinema with one thought on my mind – Live every last day that your in love, like it was the last day of your life. Treasure those moments of romance with your loved ones, tell them you love them and mean it..
Three. Before midnight (2013)
It has been nine years since we last met Jesse and Celine, the French-American couple who once met on a train in Vienna. They now live in Paris with twin daughters, but have spent a summer in Greece on the invitation of an author colleague of Jesse’s. When the vacation is over and Jesse must send his teenage son off to the States, he begins to question his life decisions, and his relationship with Celine is at risk.
The last two are films I would like you to figure out, and maybe send us your thoughts by twitter, Facebook or comments at the bottom of this page. Maybe you have a top 10 list for valentines you want to share and your own reasons why.
But here’s my final tip.
Take time out this valentines to think about how much you matter to each other and my it matters. Happy Valentines!
2. You’ve Got Mail (1998)
1. As good as it gets (1997)
Disclaimer: I am not, have never been, and do not intend to be an agony uncle. I’m a dad, and I’m still learning how to get things right.