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romance

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Far From the Madding Crowd (2015)

Suffering from “Downton Abbey” or “Poldark” withdrawal? Watch this gorgeous period love story based on the classic novel by Thomas Hardy starring Carey Mulligan (“An Education”, “Drive”) as Bathsheba Everdene, the beautiful and strong-willed Victorian orphan torn between three suitors. When her uncle dies and she inherits his deteriorating farm, Bathsheba decides to run it herself and astound the doubters. Along the way, she enchants a strong and handsome shepherd, a prosperous and handsome middle-aged bachelor, and a dashing, handsome soldier. Notice any pattern?

Violette (2013)

A fictionalized portrait of French novelist Violette LeDuc, directed and co-written by Martin Provost. Illegitimate and unwanted by her mother, Violette grows into an intensely needy adult who looks for love in all the wrong places. Her tremendous talent for writing is recognized and nurtured by Simone de Beauvoir, with whom Violette falls in love (albeit unrequited). Violette funnels her self-loathing and pain into her confessional novels, which are groundbreaking works of raw emotion and taboo sexual depictions.

Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)

Languid, introspective, and darkly funny, this vampire movie never outright mentions what its main characters are. Adam is a centuries-old musician going through a rough patch while living in seclusion in Detroit. Enter his long-time lover, Eve, thousands of years old and living in Tangiers until Adam calls. The quiet romance and midnight reflections on the rise and fall of lives and societies are at the center of this story, until Eve's uncontrollable little sister shows up, complicating things by doing what we all expect vampires to do.

Begin Again (2013)

The director of the Oscar winning film Once (2006) returns with another musical urban love story. This time the setting is New York City and you may know some of the actors. Keira Knightly plays a British song-writer adrift in the city after her partner, played by Adam Levine (frontman for Grammy winning band, Maroon 5) gets lured away by the music industry that brought them across the pond. She has a chance encounter with a disgraced music-business executive, played by the always excellent Mark Rufallo, who is also weathering a troubled long-term marriage.

Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing & Charm School (2005)

A car accident and a chance meeting leads a widowed baker to a ballroom dancing class to find another man's childhood crush. All we know at first is that Frank Keane is a baker who is accompanying a man named Steve in an ambulance. Steve tells the story of how he fell for Lisa at the charm school they both attended. Steve asks Frank to go in his place and meet Lisa. Frank goes, of course, and we meet the rest of the cast at both the school and at a grief support group Frank attends.

Enough Said (2013)

I totally watched this movie for the stars - but it wasn't a guilty pleasure! Released shortly after James Gandolfini's untimely death, its the story of his character falling in love with a massage therapist played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. The relationship is complicated by Julia's character's developing relationship with a poet, played by Catherine Keener - a character who turns out to be James' character's ex-wife. Toni Collette plays a friend of Julia's. I have enjoyed so many productions with each of these actors, it was a real treat to watch them all together. A recommended date movie.

Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

A hip and cynical young Seattle magazine employee and his two slave-interns travel to a small coastal Washington state town to follow up on an unusual classified ad.  They discover a mysterious, paranoid loner looking for a time-travel partner--and also learn something about themselves and how to live truly in the here-and-now.  Sweet, funny, and charming with both low-key suspense and romance, plus an engaging cast portraying three-dimensional characters that will win you over even when they are being annoying.

The Double Hour (2011)

Twisty, suspenseful, sexy, and Italian--what more could you want in a psychological thriller? This one begins with a hotel chambermaid and a retired cop meeting at a speed dating event. Suddenly, an armed robbery alters the course of their budding relationship and from then on, the movie keeps you guessing about who is double-crossing who. Compelling performances by the two principals, Filippo Timi and Ksenia Rappoport.

The Apartment (1960)

In this precursor to Mad Men, C. C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) lets the executives at his insurance company borrow his apartment for trysts with their mistresses.  It pays off nicely with promotions until the reality of a discarded mistress left at his apartment causes C.C. to rethink his arrangement.

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© 2011 Thomas Crane Public Library

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