A quintessential 90s classic, this Tarantino-penned piece still holds up 25 years after its release. Directed by the late Tony Scott, the film oozes violence, sex appeal, energy, and a killer score from Thomas Newman. The chemistry between Patricia Arquette and Christian Slater are near-perfect as Bonnie and Clyde-like lovers, and not many actors have looked as unconventionally cool as Slater in shades. An all-star supporting cast including a pot-blazing Brad Pitt, dreadlocked gangster Gary Oldham, and even the late, great James Gandolfini all give memorable roles, but the true standout is the ‘Sicilian’ scene between Dennis Hopper and Christian Slater. To this day, it’s still one of the best examples of Tarantino’s finely tuned ear for dialogue.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Featuring Jim Carey and Kate Winslet, this surreal sci-fi explores the complexity of relationships, the value of memories and how we often take things for granted. The odd-ball couple both try to remove their memories of each other, but Joel (Carey) decides at the last minute he’s made a mistake. A compelling story told through a visually arresting film, this is one romance film unlike any other.
Something a little weirder this Valetines perhaps? Joseph Gordon Levitt directs, writes and stars as a New Jersey porn addict coming to terms with the realities of relationships off the screen. The 2013 romantic comedy does an amazing job of illustrating the differences between portrayals of romance in media with those in the real world. While Jon attempts to shed the sexist, skin deep notions of how he interacts with women, the film poses the question as to whether the Hollywood Blockbuster romances that society are raised on are any less damaging?
Don Jon asks questions that you might never have even thought to ask, and if you’re sick of the same recycled rom-com plot of boy meets girl, argument, reconciliation and a happily ever after, Don Jon is great alternative with all the entertainment, plus an intriguing message.
A piercingly honest, heartfelt and raw depiction of a marriage coming apart at the seams. Blue Valentine‘s beautiful cinematography was director Derek Cianfrance’s first real step towards becoming the iconic drama movie icon he’s now known as, in particular for 2013’s The Place Beyond the Pines. Blue Valentine held no rehearsals before filming began and there was rarely more than one take per shot, meaning each of the the couples firsts shown in flashbacks, are as close to the real deal as you’re going to get. Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling’s on-screen chemistry is captivating and with the film’s realistic script and flashback scenes helping to flesh out the couples early years, the film paints a believable, and all the more painful story of heartbreak.
Certainly not the one to pick from this list if you’re looking for something uplifting, but if you’re interested in something a little grittier, Blue Valentine has you covered.