Film writer Adam Marshall gives screen lovers something to watch on Valentine’s Day – whatever their romantic inclination.
Why waste Valentine’s Day staring longingly into the eyes of the one you love, when you could be gawping at a screen showing two fictional characters staring longingly into the eyes of the one they love?
Like Cupid himself, I’ve taken out my metaphorical bow and arrow, and aimed it at a sextet (pun very much intended) of celluloid treats that you can enjoy this Valentine’s weekend. Read on, as I skillfully slalom my way through the schedules without even one utterance of the words Fifty Shades of Grey.
For classicists – Casablanca
As Prince never sang: could this be the most beautiful film ever made? Bogie and Bergman at the height of their powers, Dooley Wilson tinkling As Time Goes By on the ivories, and one of the smartest, romantic and (and this is important) quotable scripts in cinema history. Here’s looking at you, Brixton.
Of all the film joints, in all of south London, you have to walk in to the Odeon Streatham. Casablanca is showing on Sunday at 1.20pm.
For documentary fans – Love Is All: 100 Years of Love & Courtship
Director Kim Longinotto has trawled the archives to take us on a century spanning journey through love on screen, using footage from film, newsreels and documentaries. From the first smooches ever committed to film, to an exploration of ever-evolving attitudes to sex and courtship. And all to a soundtrack by Sheffield’s favourite melancholic bard Richard Hawley.
Love Is All shows at the Ritzy at 1.10pm on Saturday and 3.30pm on Sunday, with the latter screening including a Q&A with Longinotto.
For a dark sense of humour – Harold and Maude
If you like your romantic heroes suicidal, and your heroines pushing 80, then 1971’s Harold and Maude may just be the film for you, you weirdo. Morose boy meets 79-year-old girl, they fall in love, while he learns to appreciate life. And it’s devilishly funny, single handedly forging an indy-hearted low-budget comedy prototype that the likes of Jason Reitman (Juno) and Alexander Payne (Sideways) would still be mining thirty years later.
Harold and Maude is available on Netflix and Amazon Instant or, for those willing to brave the February cold and the Victoria Line, at 6.30pm on Friday in Hyde Park.
For traditionalists – One Day
The adaptation of Mike Nicholls’s colossal selling commuter-lit novel, One Day takes an annual snapshot of the lives of a will-they-or-won’t couple on the same day over 20 years. Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess are the unfeasibly attractive yet surprisingly affable leads, in a romance that has laughs and tears in all the right places. And if that doesn’t work for you, you’ll at least get a giggle at Hathaway’s feckless attempt at an English accent.
One Day is showing on Film4 at 6.55pm on Saturday and is available on Amazon Instant.
For cynics – After Hours
West Norwood’s Feast Film Night is getting subversive with its Anti-Valentine’s Night showing of Martin Scorsese’s underrated black comedy After Hours. Not dissimilar in tone to Marty’s bona fide classic The King of Comedy, it follows a Job-like protagonist who falls prey to a series of unfortunate events as he makes his way across New York for a date. Enjoy…assuming you get to West Norwood without incident.
After Hours is showing at The Portico Gallery in West Norwood at 9pm on Sunday.
For families – Shaun the Sheep Movie
Apologies in advance for conjuring images of your mum and dad in the same breath as discussing Valentine’s Day, but if it’s family fun you’re after then Aardman Animations’ favourite ovine wunderkind has finally got his own movie. It’s been reviewed splendidly in all the grown-up papers, so if your little ‘uns love Wallace and Gromit (and if they don’t, then I seriously have to question their taste) then why don’t ewe take a look.
Written by Adam Marshall