There are so many options for what to do on a first date, ranging from booking a candlelit table for two in an intimate restaurant to heading out to a concert. But one activity guaranteed to bring a warm glow to any couple who've just met on a dating service is taking in a romantic movie; either snuggling together in the plush seats of your local multiplex, or together on the couch with a ready supply of refreshments to hand and the latest Netflix release primed to play. The only question which needs to be asked at this stage is which particular movie to watch? Here are five perfect films for the occasion.
While it's traditional to watch a romcom, there is nothing wrong with going for an unashamedly romantic film which also tugs at the heartstrings. Starring Ryan Gosling (Noah) and Rachel McAdams (Allie), this film is set in two timescales. When they meet as teenagers, Noah and Allie fall in love while striving to overcome class prejudice. But events take a tragic turn when they are reunited in their autumn years, only Allie is now living in a nursing home, suffering from dementia. Noah's attempts to spark her potent memories give testament to the power of love to endure in even the most adverse circumstances.
In this unconventional Oscar-winning romantic movie, the irascible Bill Murray is an aging actor (Bob) filming a whiskey advert in Tokyo. He bumps into the free-spirited Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson.) It's a testament to the skills of the leading actors that a grumpy guy going through a mid-life crisis is still attractive to someone much younger and less jaded. While their relationship develops in intensity, edging beyond mere friendship, it never spills over into anything physical. However, this doesn't detract from the chemistry between the unlikely pair.
Tom Hanks, a perennial presence on the screen as a good guy, plays one of his most memorable roles as Sam, a widower distraught after becoming a single parent after his wife's death. His eight-year-old son calls a radio show and sparks interest in Annie (Meg Ryan.) Despite the geographical distance, they arrange a blind date at the top of the Empire State Building. The story unfolds in series of text exchanges and comic moments, and it says something about the acting abilities of the two leads that they generate so much chemistry within this distant relationship, despite never actually meeting until the finale.
While many romantic movies are fixated on finding laughs at the heart of relationship issues, this sci-fi movie chooses to delve much deeper into the nature of love itself. Jim Carrey, playing against his familiar typecasting as the goofy clown, couples up with Kate Winslet to provide a poignant story of Joel and Clementine. They are a couple who break up, then go to drastic lengths to overcome the pain of this experience by removing their memories of one another by surgical procedure. Of course, it is the natural urge to rebel against this and reclaim what they once had that causes the tension and pathos.
Jesse (Ethan Hawke) bumps into Celine (Julie Delpy) on a train. They spend one night together in Vienna, falling in love, realizing their time together is finite – one night to be precise. This makes the intensity of their feelings all the more poignant and real. (The film was released long before the advent of Skype, so it must be seen in this context!)