February Romantic Moments

In commenting on Maria’s February post, I used up my ace in the hole from Love, Actually (the scene where Colin Firth tracks down his love, crowd on his heels, and asks in her language (which he’s still learning) her to marry him. Sigh. In trying to come up with another favorite, I’ve realized something. Like Joanna, I’m not that big a fan of the grand, sweeping gesture or extravagant action. No lighting up the Empire State Building, please. Case in point, remember the scene in the movie Say Anything where John Cusack the underachiever, with his weird long coat, holds up the boom box, blasting Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes to the valedictorian girl he’s crazy about, played by Ione Skye? I’ve seen women moan and reference this as one of the most wildly romantic moments ever. I’ve always thought it felt more stalker-skeevy or at least go-away-you’re-incredibly-annoying-ish.

Instead, in movies or books, I prefer the small moments, as they are always the ones that affect me most. Just the simplest words or shared moment that strikes a chord down deep causing tears to well in my eyes and my voice to choke up. The moment in a movie even my kids recognize as the sweet spot, automatically glancing over to see if they need to pass the tissue box—knowing already that the answer is yes.

Here’s an example: The Descendants yet with George Clooney. No, it isn’t a romance, but it does involve love (many kinds), and one of those moments. However, if you haven’t seen it and want to—stop reading. Total Spoiler Alert. If you have, and didn’t cry, I can only imagine you are a mutant, stripped of tear ducts. Watch it again. Here’s the situation (seriously, Spoiler Now):

The doctors have urged Clooney to pulled the plug on his wife, Elizabeth. The coma will not reverse, she’s failing, better it’s done sooner rather than later. He has. Since the accident that landed her there, he’s learned that she was cheating on him and planning to ask for a divorce, which his friends and daughter knew. Additionally the other man has a vested interest in a huge business deal involving Clooney’s family land. He’s coming to grips with all this in mere weeks, going through all kinds of stages: regret, hope, anger, frustration, disgust, coldness…until finally, when they know she’ll live only a few hours more, he’s ready to say his peace, say his goodbye.

Picture him alone in the room, leaning over her hospital bed, stroking her hair, pressing small kisses to her lips in some of the pauses. He speaks aloud, “Goodbye, Elizabeth. Goodbye, my love…my friend…my pain [his voice breaks on the word pain, and a single tear rolls down his cheek]…my joy. Goodbye… Goodbye… Goodbye.”

As much pain as she has caused him, their daughters, her father, her lover’s wife…he can still remember the early romance and love. He can be thankful for what they had, for the children they created and raised, for the times together when things were good, and because of the pain, for bringing him closer to his daughters and to his senses. You might not consider it Romantic. But it’s true that those we love are the ones capable of doling out the deepest hurt. After all of that, to forgive enough to still feel and express love? Wow.

Oh, those bittersweet, heartfelt, soul-baring, honest moments. The tugging, truthful moments, like this one, that make you hold your breath and press your palm to your chest directly over your heart.

Writers, keep them coming. Hand me the tissues.



Leave a comment


  1. Great post! Wow — I haven’t seen that movie (I thought it was a comedy?!) but your description alone made me tear up. I’ll have to watch it (alone and with tissues).

    I’ve never seen “Say Anything.” Somehow, I don’t think I’m missing anything. 🙂

    • Jenna Blue

       /  February 20, 2013

      Say Anything is a classic in it’s own right, that one scene just never did it for me, and The Descendants was good. Thought Clooney was great, and so was the actress that played the older daughter. Has funny moments, but it’s not lighthearted. It’s more family drama type of thing. Thanks for commenting. As usual, I forgot to post a question for people to respond to! : )

    • Jenna Blue

       /  February 20, 2013

      Ok, had to look it up to make sure I was correct before committing it to cyberspace forever: Clooney’s daughter in The Descendants is played by Shailene Woodley. Watch for her, definitely up and coming!

  2. I didn’t see it, but that scene from The Descendants sounds heartbreakingly sad. I love the grand gestures. I’ve loved John Cusack movies ever since I saw him in a movie called “Better Off Dead”. He plays a high school student who’s life is miserable when his girlfriend breaks up with him. He spends the entire time trying moving trying to find silly ways to kill himself. Finally he meets a French foreign exchange student who shows him how to face his fear and want to live. It’s a silly comedy and not a traditional romance, but I love it.

    “The Vow” was one I liked that was very emotional. Rachel McAdams was in a car accident and loses her memory. Channing Tatum (yum!) is her husband and never gives up on her or their love. The fact that it’s based on a true story makes it even more endearing.

  3. Jenna Blue

     /  February 20, 2013

    Hi Maria, I like John Cusack, too. The one with Kate Beckinsale, called Serendipity is a romantic comedy. You’d like it, I bet. I did! A little kismet, a little angst, romance and true love….right up our alleys. Looked at imdb for the title–he’s done 70 films! That’s a heck of a career. Wonder how many books we’ll write over time…
    The Vow sounds like a tearjerker the whole way through! Wow, I need to see that! Thanks for commenting!

  4. R.A. DeFranco

     /  February 21, 2013

    Jenna, great post! All these femme posts on romantic moments have made me realize that I’m a fan of both the grand gesture AND the smaller moments. Guess I’m just a hopeless romantic! Here’s a funny on Say Anything….as a teenager when I saw it, I thought the scene you described was the most romantic, amazing gesture, EVER! Saw it again MANY years later and it was creepy stalker-ville!

    I did see The Decendants and that moment got me big time. You described it beautifully.

    I always love those moments of letting go in romance or love in general. When a character lets the other go because they know they cannot be what the other needs to find happiness, or to give them the opportunity to grow/be all they can be/experience the world before their final coming together. There is something in the self sacrifice that seems to earn my respect for the character. Would be nice if I could think of an example at the moment!

    Thanks for sharing!

    P.S. Total side note…but Maria, isn’t that the movie where there is a kid chasing him the entire time saying “I want my two dollars!” I have NO idea why that has always stayed with me!

    • Yes, everywhere he goes, the kid is chasing him saying “I want my two dollars”. It cracks me up! My other favorite line is “I’m sorry your mom blew up.”


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