By Mike Mazzanti, BMFI Intern
Romance does not fill the air for everyone this Valentine’s Day. If you find yourself in a lonely place today, the dreaded fourteenth of February, Bryn Mawr Film Institute has the perfect solution to break the romantic tradition. At 7:00 pm, BMFI will be showing the Humphrey Bogart noir classic In a Lonely Place. Suspected of murder, burnt-out screenwriter Dixon Steele (Bogart) begins a dangerous relationship with Laurel Gray (Gloria Grahame) after she provides the police with a solid alibi to clear his name. However, doubt and suspicion begin pushing the lovers apart in this taut thriller.
However, if your couch’s calls are too alluring, here are a four more anti-Valentine’s Day films to reassure you that being single isn’t always so bad:
In Alfred Hitchcock’s 1941 noir mystery Suspicion, Academy Award-winner Joan Fontaine plays Lina, a shy English woman who meets handsome gambler Johnnie Asygarth (Cary Grant) on a train. Married soon after, Lina begins to suspect Johnnie is not the man she fell for after his friend and business partner is mysteriously murdered. Blending drama and suspense, Hitchcock’s provocative tale shows just how much love can hurt.
If you’re looking for a modern story of love-gone-sour, 2010’s Blue Valentine charts the disintegration of a contemporary couple. Spanning their relationship through the years by cross-cutting between blossoming infatuation and collapsing marriage, Blue Valentine is a romantic, bleak, and ultimately harrowing depiction of love and loss. Starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine is the anti-Notebook.
(500) Days of Summer
(500) Days of Summer is a charming, witty, and offbeat romantic dramedy that is both depressing and uplifting. Quirky and intelligent, the film tells story of Summer (Zooey Deschanel), a girl who doesn’t believe true love exits, and Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), the boy who falls for her. Perfect pacing, refreshing originality, and my personal favorite cinematic musical sequence ever make (500) Days of Summer an unusual, bittersweet romance.
Finally, if romance is what you’re looking for but Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams kissing in the rain doesn’t cut it, give True Romance a shot. Written by Quentin Tarantino, True Romance is an off-kilter romantic pulp flick filled with humor and violence. After call-girl Alabama (Patricia Arquette) and Clarence (Christian Slater) fall hard for each other and get married, Alabama is afraid her boss, Drexel Spivey, won’t let her leave the business. Taking matters into his own hands, Clarence shoots Drexel (“So romantic!”), and accidently takes off with a briefcase full of cocaine. Looking to sell the cocaine and ride off into the sunset, the newlyweds must first outrun both the mob and police, who are both hot on their trail.
So, if you’re saying ‘no’ to The Vow and a bunch of roses this Valentine’s Day, BMFI's suggestions will keep you engaged... so to speak.