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Looking Back at Some All Time Favorite Love Stories

A little over a month ago, my Facebook newsfeed kindly informed me that the year 2014 marked the ten year anniversary of Nicholas Sparks’ movie adaptation of The Notebook, a movie that I had refused to watch in spite of (or maybe because of) the insistence of my friends, who kept saying that the movie was the single best love story on the face of the earth. However, I finally caved in and decided to watch it thinking, “Hey, I might actually like this movie, I mean, the trailer looks pretty nice and the vintage clothes look awesome.” So, I borrowed a copy of the movie from one of my friends, plunked down, and expected nothing more than a decent love story and several shots of Ryan Goslings abs.

Sadly, I just couldn’t click with the movie. I couldn’t stomach the love story, mainly because Noah seemed like a suicidal (he lies down on the road to watch the streetlights change for God’s sake), manipulative (because nothing gets you a date like threatening to fall off a Ferris wheel), indecisive character, whereas Allie was, well I don’t really know what kind of person she was because to be honest, she didn’t get a lot of character development. Just about the only things I could confidently say I knew about her were:

A) She was really good at painting;

B) Eighty percent of her wardrobe was red;

C) She spent the majority of her relationship with Noah either fighting him, fighting with her parents, or having sex.

All in all, not one of my favorite love stories.

However, The Notebook did get me reflecting on some of my all time favorite love stories – the stories whose characters inspired me to give love a chance and to become so completely invested in their lives and the ways they expressed their love. And while I didn’t ultimately love The Notebook, the movie did give me a chance to explore some of my old favorites. 

So, here are some of my favorite love stories of all time:

#7 Joel Barish and Clementine Kruczynski, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind


Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind stars Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet as Joel and Clemetine, a couple who break up after a difficult two year relationship. Clementine decides to have all memories of her relationship with Joel erased through a memory loss procedure done at a New York firm named Lacuna, Inc. Joel later decides to undergo the same procedure. However, as his memories of Clementine begin to fade, he discovers how much he treasures them despite the heartbreak and attempts to save his memories in spite of the process.

Their relationship is messy, to say the least. Clementine’s often brash, unpredictable personality clashes a lot with Joel’s calmer, nonchalant demeanor. However, it’s an incredibly well done mix. There is so much love, pain, chaos, and hope in their relationship that you keep crossing your fingers in the hopes that it will work out. The fact that they find each other even after they lost all memory of their relationship is just gives this feeling that they are meant to be together.

#6 Mia and Adam, If I Stay


Written by Gayle Foreman, If I Stay is the story of Mia, a talented cellist who, at age 17, is severely wounded in a car crash that kills her parents. Mia, in an out of body narration, has to decide whether or not she wants to continue to live even without her parents, or to die.

Through several flashbacks, we get a glimpse of Mia’s relationship with her boyfriend, Adam, a member of a punk rock group named Shooting Star. Their relationship is built on their love of music and how their different views on music genres and life help keep them together. The flashbacks show the foundation they could continue their relationship on despite the difficulties that could lie ahead for their relationship. Adam is the biggest influence on Mia’s decision to stay or not and the idea that love

#5 Elizabeth Bennet and Darcy Pemberly, Pride and Prejudice


Pride and Prejudice centers on sisters, Jane and Elizabeth Bennet, and their interactions with Bingley and Darcy, two young, wealthy bachelors who arrive at their home town. I like to think that Jane Austen’s classic is the role model for love-hate relationships, because that’s basically what Elizabeth and Darcy embody.

Elizabeth’s playful, intelligent, observant, and often satirical look at people contrasts with Darcy’s upright attitude and arrogance. Their relationship is intense, passionate, and surprisingly humorous

#4 Augustus Waters and Hazel Grace, The Fault in Our Stars


At this point, the book (and now movie) are inescapable. Though you probably have the story memorized, here’s a quick recap: Hazel Grace, a sixteen year old cancer patient, meets Augustus Waters at a cancer support group. They both decide to take a trip to Amsterdam in order to meet Grace’s elusive favorite author and deal with love, illness, fate, and death along the way.

What makes The Fault in Our Stars such a compelling love story is the humor and honesty that Hazel and Augustus use to deal with their reality, as well as the bravery and vulnerability they display while falling in love despite their illness.

#3 Amy and Rory, Doctor Who (season five)

In the fifth season of Doctor Who, we’re introduced to Amelia Pond and Rory Williams, a young couple who eventually join the Doctor in his travels across time and space. The fact that they can survive in a relationship while travelling through the galaxies is pretty much a guarantee that they are meant to be. Rory waits 2,000 years for her, Amy rips apart the laws of physics for him, enough said. 

#2 Carl and Ellie, Up


You have to be a pretty brilliant filmmaker to convey such an incredible amount of love and beauty in a relationship that takes up less than three minutes of screen time. The fact that this is also accomplished with barely any dialogue makes it even more astounding. The beginning sequence that shows Carl’s relationship with Ellie, from childhood onward, is simply beautiful in the way it unfolds through time.

#1 Chihiro and Haku, Spirited Away


Though this isn’t a traditional romantic story, it is a love story, in the truest sense of the world. Spirited Away centers on Chihiro, a ten year old girl who arrives to the spirit world after her parents are turned into pigs. Chihiro is forced to work in the bathhouse of an evil witch named Yubaba in the hopes of saving her parents and, along the way, is befriended by a mysterious young boy named Haku.

Chihiro and Haku’s friendship is incredibly deep and heartfelt. Chihiro trusts Haku despite his shady work with Yubaba, and over time, Chihiro and Haku are able to save each other. Director Hiyao Myazaki is a brilliant storyteller, and the way he handles Chihiro and Haku’s friendship is tender and heartwarming. 

My hope is that anyone reading this might have enjoyed one or more of these love stories or, better yet, started thinking about the love stories that have touched them and shaped their ideas on love and life. 

 

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I'm a junior in Pasquerilla East Hall and am majoring in PLS and Political Science. I hail from Bayamon, Puerto Rico and as a result I wholeheartedly believe that depictions of Hell should involve snow instead of heat. In my free time I write, watch shows like Doctor Who/Steven Universe, read as many articles from EveryDay Feminism as humanly possible, and binge Nostalgia Chick on youtube.
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