Close-up Culture’s James Prestridge lists off his 50 most romantic film scenes of the decade.
Tell us your picks in the comment section!
50) Close Quarters Kiss – The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
Peter (Andrew Garfield) kisses Gwen (Emma Stone) while hiding in a closet. Gwen’s love dazed eyes after the kiss are a highlight.
49) You Gonna Break My Heart, Covey? – To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)
In one of the better high school romance films of the decade, Lara (Lana Condor) and Peter (Noah Centineo) open up about their true feelings for each other on a Lacrosse field.
48) Hazel And Gus Meet – The Fault In Our Stars (2014)
Gus (Ansel Elgort) begins his charm offensive on Hazel (Shailene Woodley) with an adoring stare during their cancer support group.
47) I Wish We Had More Time – Wonder Woman (2017)
Diana (Gal Gadot) thinks of Steve’s (Chris Pine) self-sacrificing gestures of love as she finds the inner-strength and belief in humanity to defeat the evil Ares.
46) Dance Rehearsal – Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan’s Girl From The North Country is a tender and effective choice of song to play over a montage of Pat (Bradley Cooper) and Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) bonding together through dance rehearsals.
45) Reunited – God’s Own Country (2017)
After a long coach journey, Johnny (Josh O’Connor) allows himself to be vulnerable and opens up to Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu) about his true feelings. The scene culminates in an emotional embrace in which Johnny’s relief at Gheorghe’s forgiveness is plain to see.
44) For The Hungry Boy – Phantom Thread (2018)
Ordering breakfast has never been so softly flirtatious. In this scene, Reynolds (Daniel Day Lewis) and Alma (Vicky Krieps) struggle to contain their adoration for each other as he orders a surprisingly hefty breakfast.
43) I Was Trying To Be Romantic – Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
A superb piece of acting from Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence helps to make this romantic movie climax something memorable.
42) Woody and Bo Peep – Toy Story 4 (2019)
Fate brings old friends Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) and Bo Peep (Annie Potts) back together as they are picked up by a young child. The beauty of this scene – beyond Randy Newman’s swooping music – is that the two toys have to remain inanimate during this sweet moment.
41) You Are Absolutely Beautiful – The Spectacular Now (2013)
A tension relieving stroll through the woods builds to a grin-inducing kiss between Sutter (Miles Teller) and Aimee (Shailene Woodley).
40) I Love You – The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
Peter (Andrew Garfield) uses his web-slinging capabilities to make a grand gesture of love to Gwen (Emma Stone), before sweeping her away to talk about their future together… let’s just forget how the film ends.
39) Picnic Kiss – Blue Is The Warmest Colour (2013)
Abdellatif Kechiche locks in tight close-ups of fliratous eyes and smiles as Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) and Emma (Léa Seydoux) share their first kiss.
38) Airplane Proposal – Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
A cover of Coldplay’s Yellow plays over Nick’s (Henry Golding) slightly clunky airplane proposal. What’s not to love?
37) Shoes Off – The Wind Rises (2013)
Jiro hurries back to embrace his gravely ill wife in a Hayao Miyazaki’s soaringly beautiful and simultaneously heart-breaking film.
36) First Kiss – Call Me By Your Name (2017)
Elio (Timothée Chalamet) and Oliver (Armie Hammer) lay in the long grass and finally act on their flirtations.
35) Dinner Date – The Fault In Our Stars (2014)
Gus (Ansel Elgort) glowingly announces his love for Hazel (Shailene Woodley) over a fancy dinner.
34) Christmas Shopping – Carol (2013)
This love story is set in motion as Therese (Rooney Mara) finds herself irresistible drawn to Carol (Cate Blanchett). Beyond the gorgeous cinematography, it is the young shop clerk’s inability to hide her instant enamourment that is utterly charming.
33) Ballroom Dance – Cinderella (2015)
Lily James captures all the heart-fluttering nuances of Cinderella in this dazzling first dance scene. Yes, this beats out the dance sequence from Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty And The Beast.
32) Bedroom Cuddles – A Ghost Story (2017)
A simple scene of M (Rooney Mara) and C (Casey Affleck) cuddling and kissing in bed. Intimate, warm and so cosy you can feel it through the screen.
31) What About This Time Machine – Before Midnight (2013)
The third instalment of Richard Linklater’s trilogy ends on a note of reconcilement and comprise as Céline (Julie Delpy) comes round to Jesse’s (Ethan Hawke) passionate plea to hold onto their love.
30) Double Proposal – Creed 2 (2018)
Adonis (Michael B. Jordan) has to propose for a second time when he realises Bianca (Tessa Thompson) doesn’t have her hearing aid in. It is particularly heart-warming to see this boxing warrior show his vulnerable side for the woman he loves.
29) Morning Routine – Paterson (2016)
Paterson (Adam Driver) and Laura (Golshifteh Farahani) share cosy morning kisses before the thoughtful bus driver sets about his day and poetry.
28) I See The Light – Tangled (2010)
In this awe-inspiring scene, Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) and Flynn (Zachary Levi) share a romantic boat ride as they are surrounded by thousands of lanterns.
27) The Wedding – Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
An enchantingly extravagant wedding with an acoustic version of Can’t Help Falling In Love and lots of loving looks.
26) I Don’t Think You Should Leave At All – Disobedience (2017)
Childhood friends Ronit (Rachel Weisz) and Esti (Rachel McAdams) rekindle their love with a tender kiss.
25) Some Place Out There – Equals (2015)
Intimacy and delicacy summarise a montage scene in which Silas (Nicholas Hoult) and Nia (Kristen Stewart) defy their rigidly stoic society to get to know each other on a deeper level.
24) The Proposal – A United Kingdom (2017)
Seretse (David Oyelowo), heir to the throne of Bechuanaland, nervously proposes to Englishwoman Ruth (Rosamund Pike) with help from a beautiful London evening backdrop. The scene is capped wonderfully by the conviction of Ruth’s ‘yes’ despite the political weight of her decision.
23) Like A Zebra – Baby Driver (2017)
Baby (Ansel Elgort) and Debra (Lily James) chat about their shared love for music and show off their incredible chemistry with effortless flirting.
22) I’m Writing A New Piano Piece – Her (2014)
A.I assistant Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johannsson) comes up with a creative way to capture her connection with Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) in this delicately composed scene.
21) I’ll Never Love Again – A Star Is Born (2018)
Allie (Lady Gaga) pours her heart out on stage with stunning stripped back performance. The cut to Jack (Bradley Cooper) singing this song to Allie for the first time puts a tear-jerking final note on the scene.
20) I’ve Never Loved Anyone The Way I Love You – Her (2014)
Spike Jonze’s film has us crying over an A.I assistant saying goodbye to a divorcee. Poetic and deeply touching work.
19) You Always Hurt The Ones You Love – Blue Valentine (2011)
Dean (Ryan Gosling) sings a song for a dancing and adoring Cindy (Michelle Williams). We can try to ignore foreshadowing and forget the heartache still to come…
18) Gone – Before Midnight (2013)
The sound of the waves and Graham Reynolds’ soft score bring a tender feel to this scene of Jesse and Céline watching the sunset together.
17) Dying Dreams – Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (2013)
Ruth (Rooney Mara) comforts Bob (Casey Affleck) in his dying moments as we cut back to an affectionate memory of the two imaging their future together.
16) Shallow – A Star Is Born (2018)
Allie comes into the spotlight to perform Shallow with Jack. A breath-taking scene in which two soon-to-be lovers are forever connected by this magical star-making moment.
15) Headphone Splitter – Begin Again (2014)
With the help of headphone splitters and an iPod, Greta (Kiera Knightley) and Dan (Mark Ruffalo) share an intimate evening in a musical world of their own while walking the streets of New York City.
14) The First Time – If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)
Few words are needed as Tish (KiKi Layne) and Fonny (Stephan James) make love for the first time. This dreamily romantic scene is given voice by Nicholas Britell’s soul-caressing music.
13) Parking Lot & Frozen Peas – A Star Is Born (2018)
Away from the stage and audiences, Jack and Allie bond over an honest and revealing late night chat in a parking lot. The seeds of Allie’s song Shallows and their relationship begin to sprout in this scene.
12) Crumpled Up Eulogy – The Fault In Our Stars (2014)
Hazel reads the deeply moving eulogy written by Gus as she looks up at the stars.
11) Do You Wanna See Something – Drive (2011)
Driver (Ryan Gosling) and Irene (Carey Mulligan) can barely contain their smitten smiles in this adorable scene. It ends beautifully with a calming drive – in contrast to the film’s nerve-wrecking car scenes – and the soothing sounds of College & Electric Youth’s A Real Hero.
10) Hello Stranger – Moonlight (2016)
Chiron (Trevante Rhodes) and Kevin (André Holland) cross paths in a diner for a beautiful scene in which the two struggle to communicate their feelings. In the end, Barbara Lewis’ Hello Stranger does the talking.
9) Headphone Slow Dance – A Quiet Place (2018)
Amid the silent dread of A Quiet Place, director John Krasinski finds time for an intimate slow dance between a married couple who – for fear of noise-sensitive monsters – can no longer verbally communicate. With Neil Young’s Harvest Moon playing through the headphones, the dance feels like it could be a call back to their first dance.
8) Restaurant Walk – Carol (2015)
Therese (Rooney Mara) makes her way across a busy restaurant to reunite with Carol (Cate Blanchett) in the final scene of Todd Haynes’ film. This is a scene heighten by Edward Lachman nervy camerawork and Carter Burwell heart-fluttering score.
7) I Believe – Blackkklansman (2018)
Following a racially-motivated run-in with the police, Patrice (Laura Harrier) and Ron (John David Washington) find refuge and communal spirit on the dance floor. A scene of joy and love in the face of vile evil.
6) Laundromat – Baby Driver (2017)
With swirling primary colours and tapping feet, it is hard not be completely charmed by Debra (Lily James) and Baby’s (Ansel Elgort) enchanting laundromat date.
5) The Rialto – La La Land (2016)
After Mia (Emma Stone) makes a striking entrance drenched in light from the movie projector, we witness the gentle yearnings of these two La La Land lovers play out in nearing hands and lips.
4) This Is Where Your Life Is – Brooklyn (2015)
Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) chooses Tony (Emory Cohen) and explains her choice with an elegantly expressed narration that speaks to the immigrant experience.
3) Epilogue – La La Land (2016)
Damien Chazelle’s film comes to a stirring close as two lovers are momentarily whisked away by thoughts of what could have been. An appreciative shared gaze across the bar puts a poignant end note on this magnificent musical.
2) I Get Overwhelmed – A Ghost Story (2017)
In this powerful scene, M (Rooney Mara) longingly thinks back to listening to C’s (Casey Affleck) music. We cut back-and-forth from this warm memory of the past and the colder reality of the present. With help from Dark Room’s touching song I Get Overwhelmed, the scene reaches a soul-stirring highpoint as M reaches out within inches of C’s bedsheet ghost presence.
- Observatory Date – La La Land (2016)
The Griffith Observatory acts as the perfect setting for a playful and twinkling date between Sebastien (Rylan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone). Chazelle whisks us away with a moment of pure cinematic magic that features a silhouetted dance across a starry night’s sky, before bringing us back down to earth for a climaxing kiss.
Let us know your thoughts and picks!