Obsessive love: Our Valentine’s picks
Valentine’s Day is here and love is in the air for all of the happily-married couples, the adorably amorous ones who have just started dating, as well as those who stalk each other around town, slash a wrist when affections go disregarded, or gouge an eye or two out in order to get the attention of their love.
What’s love without a little obsession? This Valentine’s Day, check out of fave flicks featuring unconventional, unstoppable love.
The only obstacle to our star-crossed lovers in this film is delusional, psychotic tendencies that end in bludgeoning someone to death. Pauline (Melanie Lynsky) and Juliet (Kate Winslet in her film debut) make us ask “what’s a little murder between very close friends?”
The first film by Drugstore Cowboy director Gus Van Sant follows Walt (Tim Streeter), a down-and-out gay store clerk who lusts after Johnny (Doug Cooeyate), a teenage Mexican immigrant who doesn’t speak any English and is absolutely not having any of it. Total recipe for romance, amirite?
This Roman Polanski film mixes nautical comedy with an S&M romance. Proper British couple Nigel (Hugh Grant) and Fiona (Kristin Scott Thomas) meet young Frenchwoman Mimi (Emmanuelle Seigner) and her wheelchair-bound American husband, Oscar (Peter Coyote). In a series of alcohol-fueled flashbacks, Oscar tells Nigel the story of his twisted and turbulent love affair with Mimi. His tale is shocking and hilarious – one that Nigel can’t help but listen to and that viewers can’t help but watch.
From this movie, we learned never to accept favors from friends. When widower Shigeharu Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi) allows his good friend to put together an event for young women to “audition” to be Aoyama’s new wife, he immediately becomes taken with Asami Yamazaki (Eihi Shiina), a beautiful young woman who works for a music producer (lie!) and lives in a beautiful, furniture-filled (completely empty) apartment where she has wonderful parties with friends (sits creepily still by the phone for days on end, waiting for Aoyama to call, while a brown hessian sack moves slowly at her feet). You can probably guess where this is all headed. Maybe the real moral of this story is not to audition your future wife and let love naturally come.
Open Your Eyes
If you’ve seen the 2001 remake of this film, Vanilla Sky, but haven’t seen the original, take your fingers out of your pants for a second and DAFS. A real mind-trip of a film, the story of César (Eduardo Noriega), a man completely smitten with the beautiful Sophia (Penélope Cruz) but stalked and disfigured by his obsessive ex-girlfriend Nuria (Najwa Nimri), will have you doubting your sanity even as César begins to question his own.
The Neon Demon
The IMDb review for this movie ends: “Her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has.” Very Showgirls, no? Rather than a campy comedy, The Neon Demon is a shocking psychological thriller starring Elle Fanning as a young woman who barely makes it out of the Hollywood modeling scene alive – or does she?
Play Misty for Me
Dave (Clint Eastwood), a radio DJ in Carmel, California, is hanging at his local bar one night when a beautiful young woman (Jessica Walter) just happens to show up. She just happens to be a loyal fan who calls in to Dave’s radio show quite a bit to request that he play the famous jazz number “Misty.” She also just happens to have heard him mention the name of the bar. The two just happen to start a love affair and then she just happens to turn out to be a stalking, suicidal maniac. Oopsy.
The Great Gatsby
A fast-living, eccentric millionaire just happens to buy a house across the bay from the married woman he’s long been obsessed with. (Ok – I’ll stop now.)
If you’ve read the classic novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald (or even if you haven’t), check out the 1974 film version starring Robert Redford as Jay Gatsby and Mia Farrow as the deeply unhappy Daisy Buchanan.
For an infinitely glitzier version, check out the 2013 Baz Lurhmann remake starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan. What it lacks in class, it makes up for with fireworks.
This 1986 film tells the volatile love story of Zorg (Jean-Hugues Anglade) and his violent, window-breaking, house-burning, running-through-town-screaming, eye-gouging lover, Betty (Béatrice Dalle). It’s the perfect film for a night of Netflix and chill!
Three Colors White
What do you do when your wife divorces you, publicly declaring that she doesn’t love you (embarrassing) and that you couldn’t consummate your marriage (really embarrassing)? You work hard to become filthy rich in order to win her back, of course! Win her back so that you can get revenge!
Zbigniew Zamachowski and Julie Delpy star in this darkly twisted comedy.
Films about obsessive love always make us uncomfortable, but this is really, really true when the obsession is that of a 40-year-old man for a 12-year-old nymphet. The novel by Vladimir Nabokov was alternately celebrated and banned. Never one to shy away from controversy, director Stanley Kubrick stepped up to make the film, although he later said that if he’d known it would be attacked by censors, he likely never would have made it. While director Adrian Lyne filmed a remake in 1997, you really can’t beat the original. Although the film is fabulous, we do prefer the book.
The 1990 film based on a hit Stephen King novel isn’t about obsessive love of the romantic kind, per se, but it’s love all the same. When famous author Paul Sheldon (James Caan) is injured in a car crash, he wakes up in the home of psychotic superfan Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates). Um . . . break a leg, Paul!