Music is essential to setting the right tone in any situation. When it comes to picking the right song to set the tone in romance films, it depends on the personality of the couple rather than the setting. Below, we thought up of scenes that incorporated music into the romanticism of the moment. While we could include classics like Grease, Dirty Dancing, Say Anything, etc. It is finally time to take a modern look what could become a new generation of classic moments. Take a look below!
1) 500 Days of Summer – “You Make My Dreams Come True”
Loveable Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character has just slept with his lady crush for the very first time. We see him dancing to this famed song by Hall & Oates as he walks through New York City. It’s abundantly cute and cheesy all at the same. Aside from his adorableness, the female gender appreciates this gesture more than JGL’s character high-fiving his friends and spilling all the dirty details.
2) 10 Things I Hate About You – “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”
While JGL’s dance and song wrangled a mass of fans, Heath Ledger did it first in 10 Things I Hate About You (which both starred in)! Heath’s bad boy persona Patrick is ‘hired’ to woo the shrew Kat, so her younger sister can go on a date with JGL’s geeky, but sweet Cameron. To convince her that he means his feelings for her, he embarrasses himself (and her!) in front of her entire soccer team by singing “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” with the school marching band as his backing music. Grinning wildly like a satisfied cat while dancing and eluding the school’s security officers won over many hearts, including Kat’s!
3) Fight Club – “Where Is My Mind?”
Fight Club has many dark elements such as existentialism, nihilism, violence, consumerism, etc. No one really grasps that author of the novel, Chuck Palahniuk, had intended this novel to be romantic… just in his own different view. Romance is the fire under the narrator’s, or now confirmed as Jack, quest for self-identity. It is because of Marla that when Jack kills his other personality, Tyler Durden, he is finally evolved in his lacking masculinity and into his own. Just like the buildings blowing up around him and Marla, he can start a clean slate. “You met me at a very strange time in my life,” the last quote of the movie, ties in beautifully with the Pixies’ own “Where Is My Mind?”
4) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – “Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime”
I like every movie on this list, but this one holds the title of my favorite. Writer Charlie Kaufman forces us to be aware of how our identity becomes composed of memories, both the good and the bad. Joel and Clem’s end is at the beginning and the beginning of their relationship [again] is at the end of the movie. Both times, Beck’s famed “Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometimes” plays, as a seal to the couple’s fate and new outlook on their relationship. As the song plays in the background, Joel and Clem don’t kiss or a hug, but they acknowledge both their own and each others flaws at a safe distance. This is the breaking from the typical format of a romantic gesture. They break the mold of mainstream romanticism by acknowledging that they know each others flaws and stand their ground, finally stating that love is hard work.
5) The Perks of Being A Wallflower – “Come On Eileen”
The Perks of Being A Wallflower is both a wonderful book and movie. Charlie, a freshman in high school is struggling to make friends and realizes how much of a ‘personality’ segregated place high school is. He slowly starts to befriend step siblings Patrick and Sam from school. At a school dance, Charlie is leaning up against the wall watching Patrick and Sam dance to Dexy’s Midnight Runners’ “Come On Eileen.” Charlie himself is quiet and tries to keep his head down at school, but he finally makes his way over timidly to the dancing siblings. To Charlie’s surprise, Patrick and Sam receive him warmly and include him in their dance. While this may not seem like a big deal, it is for a kid who has gone through trying times, looking to find a person that they can identify with. The brother and sister’s acceptance of Charlie may not be a conventional display of romance, the warm welcome is enough to make you love all three characters for having an open mind of people and their strengths and weaknesses.
6) The Wedding Singer – “Grow Old With You”
Adam Sandler movies are very rare when it comes to romance that isn’t over-saturated in comedic goo. Instead of letting the woman he loves, Julia marry her cheating and not nice of a word fiancée, Robbie is able to catch the couple’s flight to Vegas and sings his own written song, “Grow Old With You.” His romantic but silly lyrics are enough to make the whole plane swoon, including Billy Idol.
7) Silver Linings Playbook – “Fell In Love With a Girl”
I loved the book Silver Linings Playbook. Personally, the movie fell a bit flat on important elements of the story, but Bradley Cooper’s portrayal of Pat was flawless. He falls in love with Jennifer Lawrence’s neurotic Tiffany and when they enter a dance competition, they dance to “Maria” by the Dave Brubeck Quartet, but there are burst of The White Stripes’ “Fell in Love with a Girl.” The song works on so many levels, basically due to both characters having sporadic outbursts, wild passion for what they believe in and inability to tell the other how they feel. Watching the two dance awkwardly to instrumentals to then have a grin from ear to ear while flailing about to this song will definitely make you believe that these two “not normal” people are right for each other.
8) Across the Universe – “Because”
I love the Beatles and I am very judgmental when it comes to cover songs. However, watching this scene with the cast lying in the grass in a circle to me is breath taking. Their harmonies are just so flawless that it almost hurts. Each character is going through a trying time, whether it is being enlisted in war, fighting their identity, struggling against losing their loved one to radicalism, etc. However, that all melts away when the cast sings “Because.” They realize that they love each other as a family and some love each other more deeply and intimately.
9) Once – “Falling Slowly”
This whole movie displays wonderful music, but “Falling Slowly” hits you right in the heart. This song is actually sung by the actors and both of their voices complement each other perfectly. Two musicians coming together doesn’t always mean that they balance each other out musically, but in this case it does. With the song blossoming into it’s own, as do the characters’ relationship with each other. The handheld camera work with the live audio setting makes this song that much more intimate and real.
10) Reality Bites – “All I Want Is You”
Ethan Hawke loves Winona Ryder and Winona Ryder loves Ethan Hawke. Simple? No. During the movie, these two friends go through copious amounts of sexual tension, watching each other hook up with other people and share an awkward kiss followed by rejection. After finally sleeping together, Lelaina confronts Troy about running away from her and tells him to face reality for once. After Troy disappears for a few days, we see him in a hospital hallway, where he calls Lelaina but doesn’t speak. His hand trembles and he cries silently as he slams the phone down. While this is a romantic comedy, it is a powerful moment where Troy realizes he needs Lelaina, but still lacks inner peace to tell her, even in his most vulnerable moment.
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10 Modern Romantic Songs in Movies: Featured photo courtesy of 500 Days of Summer