MY CINEMATIC ROMANCE – #1 RYAN GOSLING
**THIS CONTAINS MASSIVE SPOILERS, CLIPS and REFERENCE TO ADULT LOVE DOLLS**
To compliment my post last week which featured films with dark or extreme love, today I am hailing the romantic impact of movie heartthrob Ryan Gosling.
#1 – DRIVE (2011)
This is a very romantic film with great chemistry between Gosling and Mulligan. It is also uber-cool with Gosling doing his post-modern Steve McQueen thing really well while Mulligan does sweetness personified. It’s very pure cinema with minimal dialogue and just a longing, passionate look here or there to drive the love story. Winding Refn is known for his brutal and violent films and this one erupts at the end but The Driver’s motivation is not revenge but rather protection of loved ones; namely Mulligan’s single mum and son. Is there anything more romantic on screen than killing to protect the one’s you love?
#2 – LARS & THE REAL GIRL (2007)
This is such an original, quirky and goddamn touching movie. Gosling’s character – sporting a Pupkin style moustache – has had some kind of personality breakdown and in an attempt to comfort himself he purchases a ‘human’ doll online. So far so weird. He then treats her as he would a real girlfriend. What is amazing is that the townsfolk where he lives also join in the “make-believe” and slowly but surely Bianca (playing herself) becomes part of the community. The writer/filmmakers could have gone down a road of smut and low-brow humour but instead deliver a really humble and slyly humorous portrayal of grief, mental breakdown and loneliness. Gosling is understated brilliance throughout but it’s the Doll which steals the acting honours.
#3 – BLUE VALENTINE (2010)
This is one of the most realistic portrayals of a relationship ever committed to the screen. It features the beginning, middle and end of Gosling and Michelle Williams’ love for each other; although not necessarily in that order. The chemistry between the two is electric and it is so painful to see a couple break apart as they do by the end, having witnessed such a beautiful coming together previously. What I loved about the film was the humanity of the relationship showing both men and women as both negatives and positives in the story. Both romantic and heart-breaking in equal measure this is definitely not a film to watch on your own on Valentine’s Day having just broken up with someone.
#4 – CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE (2011)
I really enjoyed this ensemble comedy from the writers of Bad Santa. A sexy looking cast full of fine young and mature Hollywood talent was very much a surprising like for me. There was pleasant chemistry between Carell’s downtrodden husband and his wife played by the ever-lovely Julianne Moore and fine cameos from Kevin Bacon and Marisa Tomei. Gosling nicely satirises his Hollywood heartthrob good looks playing a gigolo who is able to conquer women with the merest flutter of his get-your-kit-off eyes. The scenes where he trains Carell’s romantic loser up as a womaniser are funny and a nice reversal of the usual Hollywood cliches which show an older man training up a young rookie. Emma Stone is pretty hot too and can act as she showed in the films Easy A (2009), Zombieland (2010) and The Help (2011). Her scenes with Gosling are very funny and I liked her feisty character as she actually steals his heart by initially refusing to give in to his ample charms.
#5 – THE NOTEBOOK (2004)
I am a massive cynic and it takes a lot to melt my iceberg heart but this film attacks you with not one, but TWO heartfelt, tear-jerking stories interweaved simultaneously. Based on super-schmaltzy literary work of Nicholas Sparks I’d kind of avoided watching it but am glad I succumbed as it is a lovely film. It’s the kind of movie you enjoy watching with the heating cranked up while the rain smashes down outside. In the present an elderly couple attempt to reconnect despite her Alzheimer’s, while in the past a young chap from the wrong sides of the tracks tries to woo a Southern Belle despite her families protestations. It’s a sensory overload of sloppy sentimentality and black-belt romance clichés but the film fully embraces these conventions, telling us in the process that love for another human is the main reason for living. The cast are breath-taking including Gosling, Rachel McAdams, James Garner and Gena Rowlands and they really raise the material above the standard Mills and Boon plot. It’s easy to dismiss Nicholas Sparks’ writing but it is phenomenally successful so you have to admire his and the filmmakers’ ability to make such cheesy romance so highly entertaining. This film embodies the definition of a guilty pleasure in my (note)book.