Tag Archives: Playing By Heart

Romantic Movie Series – Final Notes

In February, I published a series of blog posts about my favorite romantic movies. I tried to pick some which I could really “get behind” in terms of script and characters whose decisions don’t all make me facepalm. Of course, I enjoy other romantic movies than the ones listed, but some are really for pure entertainment when I want a no brainer. The eight movies I wrote about in this series are some that I can rewatch, and some on a (semi) regular basis.

I realized that certain patterns emerge when I put these (unlikely) titles together. I like when the romance isn’t the sole narrative element of the movie, i.e. when it deals with family, career, blends different movie genres. I love good banter between the main couple of course, and solid chemistry, but I don’t see the need for graphic sex scenes. I enjoy when the chemistry is obvious and making the tension huge and sometimes almost unbearable while showing nothing graphic is a more solid accomplishment in my view from a direction standpoint.

I also find it important that the characters evolve but not just because of each other. It is important that they want a change and can take matters in their own hands and not just look for a crutch into the other person. Mutual respect and building the relationship over several months/years if possible is something I find important.

It seems that I’m showing that I’m entering my thirties at the end of the year, because I don’t really care anymore for teenage couple stories. I prefer watching movies about grown ups, even if “young” grown up. I don’t mind characters making mistakes: I think it is important they do, but I prefer characters who are able to learn from them, realize they made some, and not just be stupid hot heads the whole movie, or whining beings.

So, I hope that you enjoyed the blog series, and in February 2015, I already have another romance oriented blog series in mind, but not for actual romantic movies! Until then, here is the recap of all the lists from the 2014 romance series:

  1. The Cutting Edge
  2. The Bodyguard
  3. Serendipity
  4. Baby Boom
  5. Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham
  6. Kissing Jessica Stein
  7. Speechless
  8. Playing by Heart

Romantic Movie Series #8 – Playing By Heart

Directed by Willard Carroll and released in 1998, Playing by Heart is a choral movie which focuses on the lives of a group of people, all related one way or the other one family (Paul and Hannah the parents and their three daughters Gracie, Meredith and Joan).The cast is outstanding and a treat to see all interacting together. Special (personal) mentions go to Sean Connery and Gena Rowlands (they make such a wonderful on screen couple!), Gillian Anderson and Angelina Jolie.

Choral movies can easily be too scattered or boring in my view, but this one is one of the greatest examples of its kind I was given to watch. I am saying that even with some of the characters presenting no interest to me. I admit that I never cared for Gracie (Madeleine Stowe), Hugh (Dennis Quaid) and Roger (Anthony Edwards) characters in the movie. I wanted to, especially upon rewatch, but these three are those I don’t care for.

I love how the movie explore not just romantic relationships (I like how they are all layered and different from one another), but also family, difference and illness. I love how Paul doesn’t want his life to change although he has a deadly tumor. This is very important to see him wanting to make the best of what time he has left, and yet not making it “better” than what he had before. He just wants to carry on. Seeing his wife Hannah deal with it, including how they clear old issues is something I find extremely important in the movie.

In the same vein, I always find the scenes between Mildred and her son Mark – who is dying of AIDS – extremely touching. I like how they are being honest with each other, and stopping having secrets. The way it was done was heartfelt, difficult, sometimes funny, often emotional. They made it look so organic.

For different reasons, Meredith and Trent’s, as well as Joan’s and Keenan’s blossoming relationships are touching and are  complicated to happen for different reasons, because of how everyone has a past which carries on consequences to their present.

There is so much in this movie, and the final scenes when all ties together as everyone attends Paul’s and Hannah’s ceremony of vow renewal. It is a beautiful way to bring everyone together. It doesn’t make everything perfect, but it shows that moments of happiness are possible.

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