Movie Magic

Sure, it isn’t real. We all know romance on the silver screen is born of beautiful people, legions of writers and great lighting. But there’s a reason we keep going to see the movies. Drama, comedy, action or horror — we tend to serve all our stories with a generous portion of romance, and Hollywood has made a fortune finding out what gets our hearts pounding and our hormones flowing. Take a few cues from the pros. They might have a few strategies you can take off the screen and put into action.

Pretty Woman
In a final dramatic effort to win her love, millionaire Edward Lewis surprises Vivien with the romance she says she’s always wanted.

Maybe forgo hiring a prostitute. But sweeping in on a white horse/stretch limo was a nice touch. Money, lifestyle, devilishly good looks? They just couldn’t stack up to the old knight in shining armor bearing roses act. In one whimsical gesture, Edward lets her know (1) that he understands that she needs a little fantasy, (2) that she’s worth the effort and (3) that there will always be a little magic between them.

Shrek 2
Given a clear choice, Fiona chooses Shrek the ogre over Shrek the devastating handsome human prince.

Love them as they are. Love them for their flaws, not in spite of them. People’s foibles and idiosyncrasies, as infuriating as they can be, are part of what makes them who they are. Show your S.O. (or your love interest) that you not only see and accept his or her shortcomings, but can on some level be grateful for them. Your partner’s relief and fierce appreciation for you (and your flaws) will be well worth it.

The Wedding Singer
In flight to Julia’s wedding, Robbie Hart writes and performs a goofy, original ballad in a last-ditch effort to keep his love from marrying the wrong man.

Music, even bad music, is a classic way to a woman’s heart. I offer as evidence any one of dozens of movies that feature men making melodic fools out of themselves for the women they love. Look at Top Gun, Moulin Rouge or 10 Things I Hate about You. Granted, it’s a tactic more often used to woo the ladies, but there’s no reason this time-tested movie maneuver can’t be employed by both sexes. Compose a love song, sing a lullaby or stage a public serenade. If music is the food of love, play on!

You’ve got Mail
In the wake of its precursor Shop around the Corner, this epistolary love story features vying bookstore owners who strike up an anonymous romance via email.

Love letters are old news in the romance department. Yet movies like Cold Mountain, Roxanne, even Brokeback Mountain are proof that the written word still holds a certain power over the human heart. Letters feel intimate and private; they allow you to express thoughts that might be embarrassing face to face; and, perhaps best of all, they give you time to compose your words so that they are as honest, eloquent or suggestive as you’d like them to be. Try planting a letter somewhere discreet, or writing a series of racy letters and mailing them one by one. Or it’s more your style, strike up an anonymous email correspondence with someone who’s caught your attention and see what unfolds.

Chasing Amy
When he can’t hide his feelings for his “friend” any longer, Holden stops his car in the rain and comes clean.

Say what you have to say. Subtlety is for those who long to be misunderstood. You risk leaving the other confused (if not completely oblivious) and you wondering if your advances are too understated of if they’re being politely ignored. What’s the worst that can happen? Rejection? Being unclear about your feelings won’t save you from rejection; it only slows it to a more agonizing pace. When you make a bold statement you come off romantic and courageous — not to mention far sexier than if you’d spent months or years in ambiguous flirtation. And if you’re already together, don’t assume your partner knows how you feel. Pull over sometime and spell it out!

There’s no excuse for running out of inspiration. Your local video store houses tips to suit the hopelessly romantic, smoothly seductive and creatively lighthearted alike. It doesn’t hurt to keep favorites like the pottery scene from Ghost, the bedroom-friendly delicacies of 9 ½ Weeks and the old Titanic sketch artist act in your hip pocket. And since sexual tension isn’t about to leave the big screen anytime soon, you never know when a Friday night flick will lead to new romantic insight.

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