Our Favourite Film Romances

Film romance.

Love is All at the IFI has us planning a movie weekend…

Kim Longinotto’s latest film Love is All: 100 Years of Love and Courtship is one of the highlights at this year’s Stranger Than Ficiton documentary film festival in the Irish Film Institute on Dublin’s Eustace Street. Love is All is a collection of archival material from 20th century cinema, exploring love and courtship on screen. It was a decade of incredible social change, and this can be tracked in the portrayal of human relationships in films. Longinotto has unearthed some of the very first kisses ever caught on film as well as the eras of gay liberation and free love. Couples flirt at tea dances and kiss in the back of the cinemas. As the programme notes say “This is the celluloid story of love and courtship since the birth of the movie camera.”

The deeply hypnotic trailer for Love is All – see below – got us thinking about our favourite movie romancess so we made a list. Warning: includes that scene from Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s
An eternal classic. We asked Jo what her favourite romantic movie was and she had answered before we finished. This movie has inspired many a 21st theme and the occasional fleeting kiss in the pouring rain.

The original makeover-the-girl plot. George Bernard Shaw’s play about a phonetics professor making a duchess out of a cockney flower girl may dominate your Christmas television schedule as frothy musical My Fair Lady, but its original incarnation is one the sharpest scripts you’ll come across. This tale of warring spirits isn’t exactly a box of Milk Tray but as break-up scenes go they don’t get any more eloquent. Also Professor Higgins’ quote on how he’ll handle separation should be cross-stitched on all the cushions, “I have my own soul, my own spark of divine fire!”

Pretty Woman
An un-PC choice but we cannot switch the channel whenever this very LA Cinderella story is on. A private jet and diamonds? We’ve got skewed values when the 1am movies hit.

Love Story
This one is even called Love Story! Preppy and privileged Oliver meets working-class Jenny in their Ivy League library. Class politics, romance, tragedy and the quote “Love means never having to say your sorry” follows.

The English Patient
Torrid affairs in real-life are not exactly encouraged what with their real-life effects on real-life people. In Oscar-winning movies they are an atmospheric must. The English Patient may be the most Weinstein brothers produced movie ever, but it stands the test of time and marks the moment we all fell in love with Ralph Fiennes as the covetous Count who falls for Kristen Scott Thomas’ married academic in the North African desert as the Second World War tears lives and loyalties apart.

Love is All screens in the IFI tomorrow evening at 18:15. There will be a post-screening Q&A with director Kim Longinotto. For more information see

Jeanne Sutton @jeannedesutun

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