Treat Yourself To The Best Romance Trilogy Ever This Valentine’s Day
It’s off-topic Friday and Valentine’s Day so we figure, why not theme it up a little and really get into the occasion? After all, most couples are either getting right into the swing of things today with expensive presents and unnecessarily complex gestures, while the rest of them (the poor ones) scorn the day as a money-making scheme and opt instead to be ironic with their hushed declarations of love for each other and choice not to wear red.
Meanwhile, unhappy singles around the world are donning the colour black (spoiler: it’s not a colour) and proclaiming how much they hate today and everything it stands for when secretly, they really wish someone would just up and ask them out already. Then you get people such as myself who simply enjoy watching these groups on days such as today.
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Now I’m not what you might call a sucker for romances. There was a time when you might have called me a hopeless romantic but I’ve since grown up, had a few personal experiences and matured beyond such silly notions to the point that I see romance in varying lights. Shades of red, if you will.
All of that said, I’ve not watched many romances and my experience with your typical chick-flicks is limited to an old under-the-radar movie called 100 Girls, and the Charlie’s Angels movies. (What? They totally count.) Although for some reason I am well-acquainted with that scene from The Notebook… you know, the one in the rain with all the kissing and stuff.
Thing is, there is one trilogy of romance movies — introduced to me by Azhar, would you believe — that I really enjoy; mostly because at their heart (no pun intended) they’re not really romance movies but rather adult dramas that centre around the idea of romance and love.
The Beyond trilogy of movies is one of the truly great achievements in film-making history. It is a trilogy of movies that spans two decades in its coverage and, here’s the amazing thing, follows the lives of two characters (played by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy) almost in real time. It might be considered somewhat artsy and in truth the movies are almost entirely conversations played out to the theme of love and its various intricacies, and yet it’s probably the most real and relevant content that I’ve ever seen in something that dares to call itself a romance.
Make no mistake; this is no story of Romeo and Juliet, or something to that effect where it’s love at first sight and everything magically works out in the end, or doesn’t in the case of the Shakespearean play. This is a far more life-like occurrence of two people meeting on a train and deciding they’d like to get to know each other better. I’ll grant that a lot of it is still subjective and situational but the key thing to remember here is that it’s grounded in reality (we’re not talking about morally grey, Nolan fanboys, we mean there aren’t any award-winning declarations of love to be found here), which means that this pair of individuals do have clashes of personality and do fight but are capable of resolving these differences because they are adults who have lived lives of growth and experience and now here they are.
I had initially planned on separating each movie into its own segment with a picture and a short breakdown but I think that to do that would be to invite spoilers and really, you want to experience this trilogy of movies for yourself. As someone who looks at regular romance movies and chick-flicks with a decidedly cynical air of judgement, the Before trilogy was refreshingly different; enough so that I am writing out an article about it on a day I don’t even care for, at the risk of much humiliation, just because I think that it’s that much worth sharing.
So go ahead and share it with someone you love. I sure did. Hopefully some of you check it out too.
Or watch it by yourself. Use it for tips if you must. Use it as a tool for sharing love with your partner. Or just watch it and enjoy the spectacle. There’s no action in these movies and barely even a plot but what there is, is true and sincere human interaction, the likes of which is rarely found in anything with a screenplay. You owe it to yourself to check this trilogy out.
And no, I will not be turning in my man card, thank you very much.