My second Thursday Thirteen revolves around one of the parts of life that Nina and I use most often to increase our glow: Cinematic Love Scenes. Some are pure romance and Eros, and some are different forms of the blissful bond between humans. Enjoy.
1. The climax of The Ninth Gate (1999), burning up with Johnny Depp and Emmanuelle Seigner.
There is a vast gallery of skin swapping that gets us going in the history of cinema, but this is the one. The mystery of her otherworldly character, the depth of her pleasure, and the fact that she chose him as the ultimate power chalice after she saw how cool he was… it all adds up to an ideal representation of transcendent intercourse.
2. The wedding in Natural Born Killers (1994) between Juliette Lewis and Woody Harrelson.
The most beautiful wedding ever filmed for us, which is a telling indictment of our twisted aesthetics. We saw the film twelve times in the theater.
3. “We must show them we are men of parts.” spoken by Martin Clunes in Shakespeare in Love (1998).
I could make a whole Thursday Thirteen of scenes from that one film, but the love that the brothers in art feel for each other at that moment makes me weep every time.
4. Morning wood with Morticia. Angelica Huston and Raul Julia glowing before breakfast. The Addams Family (1991).
“I would die for her. I would kill for her. Either way, what bliss!” It doesn’t get any better than that. We are so insanely blessed to know exactly how that feels.
5. The shrine of the pop culture saints in Heavenly Creatures (1994) built by Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey.
Another film that makes it nearly impossible to choose a best scene. Their love was so real that they produced physical remnants of their shared imagination. That is one of the most satisfying tricks that human life has to offer, and theirs is a true story.
6. Winona Ryder and Gary Oldman drinking absinthe in Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992).
Deep human love always feels like this, as if you have known each other for many lifetimes. If this list was best films of all time, Francis Ford Coppola’s brilliant telling of Bram Stoker’s incomparable romance would be at the very top.
7. Rose seeing Jack’s soul, with the help of his sketchbook in Titanic (1997). Kate Winslet again, this time with Leonardo DiCaprio.
The steaming window is hotter, but we have always adored the recognition on her face when she first sees his talent on the sundeck.
8. Elinor Dashwood finally getting what she deserves in Sense and Sensibility (1995). Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant.
This scene grabs the heart and rips it out before returning it with a comforting kiss. Best. Crying. Ever.
9. The Prime Minister getting busted behind the curtain at the school play in Love Actually (2003). Hugh Grant returns, with the gorgeous Martine McCutcheon.
Love Actually is a big threat to unseat Dracula from the throne. Each time we watch it I like it even more. Nearly perfect film, more love per minute than any other.
10. A timeless shapeshifter taking time to enjoy himself, in Dust Devil (1992). Robert Burke and Chelsea Field.
The most obscure film on the list, this one is rather sick… but also poignant and wonderful at the same time. A great movie that never got enough exposure.
11. Say my name, say my name. With Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen in Pride and Prejudice (2005).
It is a very difficult and precarious thing to successfully film a “they lived happily ever after” scene. Joe Wright’s Jane Austen nailed it. I can’t watch this ending with dry eyes. I just can’t.
12. Singing silly love songs on top of an elephant, with Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor in Moulin Rouge (2001).
Baz Luhrmann gets the final two slots, and the more I write the more I realize that these are probably impossible to rank in a hierarchy of better or lesser. I will never forget the moment I first heard this love medley in the theater. There was never anything like it, and it still melts us every time.
13. Probably the ultimate portrait of the actual feeling of falling in love, leaving nose prints on the fish tank, Claire Danes and Leonardo Dicaprio really are Romeo + Juliet (1996).
I always wished I had a bathroom like that. Shakespeare updated to perfection, this is another film we saw twelve times in the theater. Love incarnate, too bad it ends badly every time.
And that’s my list! I hope you adored it as much as I did. Write your own and link it to: http://thursdaythirteen.com/