Valentine's Day is almost here, and whether you love it or hate it, there's no escaping this day of candy, cupids, cards, and kisses. Restaurants create special menus, bars concoct special love potions, and florists design special arrangements. Sometimes, however, the best Valentine's Day gift you can give (or receive) is the gift of uninterrupted time together — no matter if you're consciously coupled, uncoupled, or somewhere in the middle and it's complicated.
My sweet Valentine (that handsome French man with the most infectious smile, contagious laugh, and bluest eyes) and I will be having a pretty quiet Valentine's Day this year. We're taking Don Draper's advice, "Make it simple, but significant," to heart. We've been so busy with the new store, buying trips, and life in general, that having a simple, romantic dinner at home, canoodling on the couch, and watching movies sounds like a dream date!
If you're like Lolo and me and want to enjoy a laid back night at home watching movies with your King or Queen of Hearts, here's a look at six of our favorite Valentine's Day films. From rom-coms to thrillers to an epic war film, there's something for everyone. These classic movies will transport you to the beaches of Normandy, the streets of Paris, the sun-drenched coast of the French Riviera, and small, charming villages in between. No passport required to make Valentine's Day special this year. You won't even need to leave home.
Synopsis: David and Linus Larrabee (played by William Holden and Humphrey Bogart) are ultra-rich brothers living in New York. One is all work, the other all playboy. When Sabrina Fairchild (Audrey Hepburn), daughter of the family's chauffeur, returns home from Paris all grown up and glamorous, the stage is set for some family fireworks as both brothers vie for her attention. True love wins out in the end.
Reasons to Watch: One of the best romantic comedies ever made. Sabrina's little black dress, with what would come to be known as the Sabrina neckline, was designed by an unknown Hubert Givenchy and immediately became a wardrobe classic. It's easy to see why women of all ages are still trying almost 70 years later to copy Audrey Hepburn's style, grace, and charisma.
Synopsis: Chocolat tells the story of young single mother Vianne Rocher (Juliette Binoche) who arrives in a small, provincial French village with her six-year-old daughter in tow. Vianne opens a small chocalaterie (that happens to be across from the church) just in time for Lent and her magical confections quickly begin to stir sleeping passions among the villagers. As things get sticky and hearts are melted, the townfolks lives are changed.
Reasons to Watch: A "once upon a time" grown-up fairytale that's sinfully delicious! Both charming and whimsical, the movie delves into the forces of paganism and Christianity — and if chocolate and Johnny Depp, who plays Roux, Vianne's love interest, aren't reason enough to watch, I don't know what is!
To Catch A Thief (1955)
Synopsis: Alfred Hitchcock's 1955 seductive thriller stars Cary Grant as John Robie, a notorious, retired jewel thief living life tending his vineyards in the South of France. When a series of robberies bearing his MO rocks the Riviera, Robie is the natural suspect. With the help of smitten American heiress, Frances Stevens (Grace Kelly), Robie goes on the lam to catch a thief preying on the wealthy tourists of the French Riviera and clear his name.
Reasons to Watch: The glam costume design and sensational star pairing of Cary Grant and Grace Kelly as they stylishly cavort on the beaches, bistros, and rooftops of the French Riviera, make To Catch a Thief a visually dazzling film. A rare murder-free thriller with fireworks to fill the night.
Moulin Rouge! (2001)
Synopsis: This 2001 film tells the story of young poet/writer, Christian (Ewan McGregor), who finds himself in a passionate but tragic love affair with the terminally ill star of of Paris's now legendary Moulin Rouge, Satine (Nicole Kidman). Set in 1899 Paris, the story of their doomed love is played out in the city's seedy, fantastical underworld. And nowhere is the thrill of the underworld more alive than at the infamous Moulin Rouge — where the fashionably rich and slumming aristocrats carouse with everyday workers, artists, actresses, and Bohemians. A dangerous triangle develops as the rich, psychotic Duke of Monroth (Richard Roxburgh) desires Santine's affections. Christian and Santine fight to remain together, but a stronger force takes its toll, one that love can't conquer.
Reasons to Watch: A powerful story of love and conflict, a talented cast that can actually sing, and more sultry shades of red than Toulouse-Lautrec ever painted, Moulin Rouge! is everything a romance musical should be. It's no wonder it has a cult like following.
The Longest Day (1962)
Synopsis: The Longest Day accurately portrays the Allied invasion of occupied France that was launched on June 6, 1944. A much needed break in the severe weather that had forced troops to wait impatiently onboard ships in England allows General Dwight D. Eisenhower (played by Henry Grace because of his remarkable resemblance to Ike), to give the order that set in motion the largest amphibious invasion in world history. The conflict is seen through the eyes of everyday soldiers (portrayed by the likes of John Wayne, Richard Burton, Sean Connery, and Roddy McDowall) as well as military leaders (Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchum, and Mel Ferrer) as the battle takes a huge toll on both sides.
Reasons to Watch: The ultimate D-Day film. The Longest Day not only depicts D-Day itself, but takes you through all the activities leading up to June 6, 1944 — from the tough decisions and pre-planning of Eisenhower to the legions of men and women fighting, surviving, and dying on the beaches of Normandy that fateful day. D-Day is an epic film about an epic military operation, with no one actor, not even John Wayne, as the star of the movie.
Marie Antoinette (2006)
Synopsis: Sofia Coppola's candy-colored portrait of Marie Antoinette (Kirsten Dunst) is an impressionistic tale of the life of the teenage bride of Louis XVI (Jason Schwartzman) as she matures into France's most iconic, but ill-fated queen. From the moment she arrives in France, she's at once trussed up in satin and silk and feathers and furs. Restrained by the rituals of her opulent and eccentric court life, her gilded cage is a world of beauty, wealth, privilege, and loneliness.
Reasons to Watch: Coppola's account of Marie's rise and fall perfectly captures the fabulousness and outrageousness of the Rococo period. The clothes, the parties, and the passionate affairs take precedence over plot and character, laying forth the trappings of luxury for the audience to revel in. From the pink marble to the pink macarons, Marie Antoinette is a feast for the eyes, rich in both lavish imagery and luxuries.
When this self-described Francophile is not reading or writing about all things French, she's dreaming up charming new ways to showcase Lolo French Antiques et More or traveling to France with Lolo to buy delightful treasures for their store. Mimi, Lolo, and their new French Bulldog, Duke, live in Birmingham, AL.