Friday, November 12, 2010

Getting the Romance Right


***And the winners are: Marie, Melanie, and Stephanie

Please email me at: pamela @ pamelapalmer.net (no spaces)

Thanks for all the great comments!

I'm a romance addict, I admit it. So it frustrates me when writers, or Hollywood, get the romance wrong. Of course, what I consider 'wrong' might strike you as perfectly right and vice versa, but that's the nature of art. That said...

One of the t.v. shows I've been watching (and otherwise enjoying) has two characters who are supposedly intimate, supposedly in love. They're regularly shown in bed together on their backs, both looking up at the ceiling with the sheet up to their armpits. Not touching. Not looking at each other. When they're shown together in other scenes, their body language screams 'Never even kissed!' Even in the big emotional scenes between them they act like awkward strangers. No way can I believe these two have been in an intimate relationship, let alone that they love one another. I get that in the story maybe they don't want to flaunt their relationship, but it's not a secret. And an intimacy like that, especially if there are real feelings involved, is going to show.

How? In soft glances or hungry looks. In touches that are so natural between them they might not even be aware of them. The slide of his hand along the nape of her neck. The stroke of his back as she passes him. Tenderness. Awareness. And when the loved one is in danger or hurt, that tenderness ratchets high, along with fear and concern that can't be entirely hidden no matter how hard he or she tries. It bleeds through. You see it. you feel it.

Or you should.

Sometimes Hollywood does get it right. Vampire Diaries is a good example. It's easy to believe that Stephen and Elena are in love, or at least that they think they're in love. But the one I truly adore is Damon. Because he loves Elena, too, and I knew it long before he admitted it. I see it in the way he looks at her, in the things he says, in the things he does. He's a dark, deadly vampire, yet he loves this girl and it's changing him.

Sometimes the words and actions are right, but there's no chemistry between the actors. Most romantic comedies don't work for me because they're designed too much for the laughs, not the emotion. Two that did work: 10 Things I Hate About You and How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days. (Ha. A couple of perfect tens.)

Dramas where I've loved the romance: Ever After with Drew Barrymore. Avatar. Underworld. Speed. There's a brilliantly romantic moment at the end of Speed (Spoiler Alert!) when they're on a runaway train, she's chained up, and though he tries and tries to free her, he can't. But he can still escape. She tells him to go. He gives her one of those to-die-for looks and slowly wraps his arms around her instead, pulling her close, making it clear he's not going anywhere without her. THAT'S romance.

Did you ever see the kiss between Lancelot and Guinevere (Richard Gere and Julia Ormond) in the movie First Knight? My t.v. screen was smoking. Can I believe those two have a thing for one another? Oh, yeah.

Real romance requires chemistry. And tenderness. And often sacrifice. It requires understanding one another, really getting him/her on a soul-deep level. Seeing the other as they truly are and loving them anyway. It's a look, a touch, a hesitation, a gleam in the eye. A hunger. It's nuance and passion, and when it's done right, it's powerful and moving and wonderful.

So, what movie or t.v. show has the best romance, in your opinion? I'm giving away three signed copies of my latest Feral Warriors novel, Rapture Untamed, so please share! I'm always hungry for another great screen romance.

36 comments:

Shiloh said...

The movie Underworld, Underworld Evolution, and the third but I can't remember what it is are my favorites! I love the chemistry between those two!

Lea U. said...

One of my favourite TV Shows is desperate housewives! I absolutely love this series, because I think it´s very authentic. It shows so many different kind of "loves", but they feel right. The love between a mother and a child, between husband and wife, between lover and lover. Love can vary, is always different. It can be tender or hard. That is love.

JenM said...

Whenever I need a visual romance fix, I go right for The Last of the Mohicans. I love those smoldering glances between DDL and Madelyn Stowe - that's some serious intensity and being focused on the one you love. That movie is just plain hot. Of course, DDL with long flowing hair doesn't hurt either.

Claire Dawn said...

Yes to Ever After.

Most of my faves are cartoons. lol.

Anastasia and Dmitri, Izumi and her husband in Full Metal Alchemist...

I think a romance really seeps out of the character when he/she tries to hide it.

Marie said...

I would have to say The Count of Monte Cristo! That one gets me every time!

Andrea C said...

My favourite romance, was in a film called What dreams may come.

Sable Grace said...

Funny you bring up Julia Ormond because I think Legends of the Fall is so full of romantic images it's almost painful to watch. Her love for Tristan (Brad Pitt) is obvious in every scene, as is Aidan Quinn's love for Julia's character. I waited that whole movie for Tristan to look at her the way Aidan did, and I just never saw it. But when his Native American wife was on screen, there it was. Beautifully done, and shocker I know, I don't even like Brad Pitt. He doesn't do it for me, but in that movie, he was very very pretty. ~Heather

Casey H said...

I agree with you exactly on the romance thing. Hollywood just doesn't cut it all the time (so that's why I stick with books *grin*).

Ever After is one of my favorite movies of all time but my favorite Hollywood couple is Eve and Rick in The Mummy (their chemistry was HOT and then Hollywood destoryed it in the third movie by getting someone else to play Eve!). Oh and King Kong (Peter Jackson's remake) is pretty romantic too. Adrian Brody's character almost literally goes through hell to save his woman.

Robyn said...

"Hello, my name's Robyn, and I'm a romance addict." whew - glad i got THAT off my chest. (ha!)
You said it - the movies rarely get the real romance (the GOOD stuff) right. That's why i read, and then watch action movies. Jason Statham rolling in motor oil, I can handle my own little romantic fantasy from there. [needs a minute] okay. Top 5 BEST romances on screen, IMHO:
1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Joel+Clementine, you can’t stop what’s meant to be)
2. Buffy (Buffy+Angel and Buffy+Spike)
3. Alias (Sydney+ Vaughn will always be one great couple)
4. The Notebook (this one just gets me everytime… lifelong love, that’s where it’s at)
5. Underworld (enough said)

Ceri Emmel said...

I am a big romance lover myself and picking one is hard! I love the Jackie Chan movie Gorgeous, it is one of my favorites. C.N (Jackie Chan) is a millionaire businessman and when he meets country girl Bu he falls hopelessly in love with her! She pretends to be a gangsters girlfriend to try and win C.N's heart. It's also an action movie (of course, Jackie Chan is in it!) If anyone hasn't seen it you must! I also love the classics like Ever After & Disney movies like Beauty and the Beast (my all time favorite) Reading, I think brings out the best romance stories though! Every novel I find myself reading is about romance. I love it!

Bonnie Ferguson said...

I love Ever After. :) Another movie that comes to mind is Sense & Sensibility. Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon is fabulous. When he first meets Marianne you see him fall in love instantly. Then the little things like handing her a knife to cut reeds, or finding her in the rain and carrying her back to the house. There are so many other instances and each one says so much.

Melanie said...

I love paranormal romance novels but I'm not big into romance movies cause they almost never get it right. That being said, the chemistry in the movie Closer had it dead on. All four of the characters in question were deeply flawed but loved to the point that I almost felt their pain. In my opinion it is one of the most underrated movies I've ever seen. Hell it's worth watching for Clive Owen alone.

As far as TV shows goes, there are a few that have done romance right. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was great. I can't say that all of the relationships throughout it's seven season run were believable, but most of them were. The romance between Buffy and Angel was beautiful and tragic, the sexual chemistry between Buffy and Spike was beyond hot and the love between Willow and Tara was magical (pun intended).

There are many more but I'll leave it at that. One of my favorite TV shows of all time and one of my favorite movies.

Sharon S. said...

LadyHawk, The Corpse Bride, and most of the other ones mentioned above. I love to read romance, but I like my movies with lots of blowing up and kill'n .

Warnida said...

to me, tender romance equal to Nicholas Sparks.
I love 'the Notebook' both movie and book.
Tears are brimming in my eyes, every time, and so often time, I watch and read the story.
Allie is lucky to have someone like Noah in her life, for better or worse.
I wish I have :)

SandyG265 said...

One of my favorire romantic movies is An Officer and a Gentleman.

Rachel said...

LOVE Ever After, The Notebook, A Walk to Remember (cry.every.time), Princess Bride, Pride and Prejudice (BBC and Kyra versions), Never Been Kissed, 13 Going on 30. I am sure there are more but those jump out at me :-)

Scorpio M. said...

In terms of movies...Out of Africa, Pride & Prejudice & Sweet Home Alabama are my favorites. They all have to overcome a bit of trouble to fall in love and that makes it all the sweeter.

jenma76 at hotmail dot com

Kelly M said...

I think one of my all time favorite romances has to be 50 First Date... I love Drew & Adam... it is so sweet the lenghts he goes to show her his love...
There are many other classic love stories..The Notebook... Titanic...PS I love you... many, many, many stories to tug at your heart strings and make you cry... But tug at my heart strings, make me cry then make me laught my butt off and I am all yours....

Thank you for a chance to win your book...
Kelly

Johanna R Jochum said...

Pride and Prejudice (the one with Colin Firth) That's one of my favorite romantic movies of all movies of all time. Out of Africa and Pretty Woman is pretty good too. Let's not forget A Officer and a Gentleman! Wow, there is too many to just name one!

evjochum@aol.com

Ash Wolf said...

"Ever After" is definitly on my list, along with "The Princess Bride", "Avatar", "The Princess and the Frog" (you can tell the Frog Prince is the first to fall in love, even if it is a cartoon), "Romancing the Jewel", and "Sleepy Hollow" (gotta to love the looks and moments between Depp and Ricci).

T.V. - So far, I love watching the action between House and Cutty on "House". In the previous seasons, you could tell that they liked each other. Now it's interesting to see if they can last.
"Friends" is another good one to watch the romance. I always wondered why Pheobe and Joey never got together.
"Charmed" I loved watching the romance with all three sisters. I hated it when it finally came to an end.

I don't have a favorite romantic book, though I do read "a lot" of romance, mainly paranormal romance. There are a few books where I believe the characters are more in lust than in love, but luckly, I rarly find those.
The book I always reach for when I'm craving a romantic fix is Sandy Lynn "Night's Promise" and Kerrelyn Sparks "Be Still My Vampire Heart".

Tiffany said...

Sophie, I just read firelight and loved it, so I got online to see if there was a sequel yet. Im not seeing one. So when will the next one come out?

Mysteriousrose said...

My favorite romance movies are "A Walk to Remember" and "Ever After" they are so great.

Pamela Palmer said...

I'm making a list of all the movies you guys have mentioned for my Netflix queue!

CrystalGB said...

The Notebook and Pretty Woman would be the ones I would choose.

AndreaC said...

10 Things I Hate About You is also one of my favorites - but I agree with Rachel that A Walk To Remember is also a good one. More recently? I really liked the tv movie Alice (SyFy) - Alice and the Hatter :)

I have loved plenty of TV romances, but I was never a Buffy/Angel fan - but Angel and Cordelia? Oh, yes! But my favorite TV romance in my more recent memory was Veronica and Logan on Veronica Mars - when he shows up at the motel to "save" her, she's walking away, and then he grabs her to kiss her? All after we thought they hated each other? Perfect romantic moment for me! :)

Barbara E. said...

In television, I loved: Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Buffy and Spike; Veronica Mars - Veronica and Logan; and Burn Notice - Michael and Fiona.
In movies - my all time favorite is Ladyhawke, but I also thought that in Mr and Mrs Smith Brad and Angelina had great chemistry.

Barbed1951(at)aol(dot)com

SiNn said...

you said it best with Vampire Diaries theres another love tahts over looked


Derrik Morgan And Penlope Garcia in Criminal minds she totally utterly loves her and he loves her back even if its unspoken its there when the guy shot here Derrik was the one most effected when she found the bodies when they wer ein alaska also derrik was effected because she was and now thats real love really deep true love that people over look but its so firey and passionate if they ever did admit it openly our tvs would smoke

mortalsinn@yahoo.com

Stephanie said...

I love A Walk to Remember and Underworld.

I also love Vampire Diaries. I love the love triangle and it is extremely different from the books.

There are also a lot of tv shows that I am begging for the characters to get together like Bones and Castle.

Thanks for the giveaway.

smccar1@hotmail.com

Cylver said...

Wow, lots of examples I can think of. The Best??

In TV, I just loved Spike and Buffy. I loved the way he looked at her, even before he realized he was in love with her. There was always something different about Spike...

In movies, this is gonna sound weird, but Singing in the Rain! When Gene Kelly kisses Debbie Reynolds good night at her porch, then walks home, singing and tapping away in the pouring rain. "What a wonderful feeling!"

In books, someone mentioned the movie of What Dreams May Come, but the book has been one of my favorites for years and years. Then scene where Chris thanks Ann for the years they've together is amazingly loving and heart-rending. I'm tearing up just thinking about it! Also, gotta give props to Mary and Rhage from J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood. The scene where Rhage kisses Mary's scars is just lovely! And the scene where she tells him she's not OK...*sigh*

throuthehaze said...

From TV, I think Lily and Marshall from How I Met Your Mother have one of the best romances.
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Sheree said...

So many of my faves have been mentioned already: "Ever After", "Sense and Sensibility", "The Princess Bride", and "Enchanted".

ironss[at]gmail.com

Sara said...

Casablanca! Rick's love of Ilsa, her love of him, Victor's love of Ilsa and her love of him. It's totally tragic and beautiful. Also there's this great German film called Wings of Desire love the fact that he loves her enough to give up eternity to be with her. Plus Columbo's in it and who doesn't love that guy.

Crystal ♥ said...

I don't really watch a lot of TV or movies. The last show I was really into was Charmed I believe, so sad when that ended. That would have to be my TV pick, then Buffy of course. Oh, and I LOVED Ever After.

Cath's Chatter said...

Great post...so many of my favorite movies have already been mentioned, but another goodie is Dirty Dancing. I saw it when I was 12 and Patrick Swayze became my measure of a man!!!!
I have to agree on the whole Buffy/Spike/Angel triangle which is probably why I also love TVD's Stefan/Elana/Damon triangle. That Damon(Ian Somerhalder)is pure LUST, and those eyes...yowza ♥

Kylie Griffin said...

Firefly (the TV series) - the romance between Mal & Inara, Kaylee & Simon and even Wash & Zoe - the dialogue, the looks that create underlying sexual tension or conflict, the unexpected heartfelt one-liner, the sacrifices they make for one another.

krista said...

Notebook, of course! The best scene in my opinion is the one where the couple meets after years, and she stays over for beer and food in his fancy house. The way he is looking at her there on his kitchen table eating, you know he has made up his mind about her and there is nothing the woman can do to stop what´s about to happen. Inevitable.