To help with this problem, I have come up with a list of five romantic movies that do a much better job of portraying love and relationships as God intended it. Each one has different concepts about love that defy the cultural expectations of what it is meant to be. I don’t want to spoil these movies if you haven’t seen them, but I want to highlight the different aspect of love they emphasize.
Old Fashioned – Love that is Chivalrous
This is a new movie that was released on Valentine’s Day this year on a limited release. It was one of the best movies I have seen on the subject in a long time. The main quality of love that was emphasized in this movie was one of chivalry. Clay is the epitome of a gentleman. He wants to get to know her and respect her as a person before he falls in love with her. He wants to keep their relationship pure and above reproach. In the process of learning more about each other, Amber also comes to respect him. Everyone labels his ways as “old fashioned,” but maybe these ways are something we should consider bringing back.
The Song – Love that is Passionate and Forgiving
This movie just came out on DVD. It's about a second generation country singer named Jed King and his wife Rose, but it's really a modern take on the life of King Solomon. This movie took a different approach to this topic than is often taken in Christian films, but it is a reality of the struggles in marriage relationships and in life. (I love the fact that one of the men that instigated this project graduated from Ozark Christian College! Go Kyle Idleman! haha) There are two points made about love in this movie that stand out from the rest.
First, we learn is that love is passionate. This movie shows more implied sex scenes than most Christian films (not in an inappropriate way by any means), but it is a reminder than in marriage, God wants a husband and a wife to have great sex! They emphasize the passion and love that is portrayed in Songs of Solomon, and how beautiful it is between a husband and a wife.
We also learn that love forgives. Even if you haven’t seen the movie, most people know that Solomon messed up big time when it came to relationships. One point in which the film differs from the original story is that Jed and Rose have reconciliation at the end of the movie. I won’t reveal exactly how for those that haven’t seen it, but it is a beautiful picture of the forgiveness that God gave us through His Son. The Song is a great Christian film that I would recommend (although it may not be as appropriate for children).
Fireproof – Love that Endures the Fire
One of my favorite romantic films of all time, Fireproof is about a fireman (played by Kirk Cameron) close to divorce being challenged by his father to complete the Love Dare, a 40 day challenge written in a book. This film has been instrumental is restoring many marriages, thanks to the ministry of Sherwood pictures. There are so many things that could be gleaned from this movie, even if you aren't married. But I want to focus on one.
According to this movie, real love has the ability to endure trials. In the movie, Caleb Holt learns that you never leave your partner, especially in a fire, and that being fireproof doesn't mean a fire will never come, but that when it does come, you will be able to withstand it.
Love Comes Softly – Love that Grows Over Time
This is a slightly lesser known movie, but a wonderful story about God bringing beauty out of tragedy. Set in late 19th century, Marty Claridge (played by Katherine Heigl) loses her husband shortly after they arrive at their land out West, just before winter. After the funeral, a widower named Clark Davis offers to shelter her for the winter, if they marry and if she helps teach and take care of his daughter Missy. She hesitantly agrees out of necessity, and they lives in separate quarters. Marty has a difficult time adjusting to life with Clark and Missy, with the strangeness of being married to someone else and the struggles of relating to his daughter. But as the title implies, time proves to change Marty's heart.
The Swan Princess – Love that Endures a Lifetime
I might get a few laughs for this one, but I wanted to talk about it for two reasons. First, this is one of the best fairy tales in its portrayal of love to be made to date, in my opinion. Second, it’s an alternative option for kids to learn what love is. In The Swan Princess, Princess Odette is trapped as a swan in an evil spell by the enchanter Rothbart, and hidden at a lake far away. Everyone thinks that Odette is dead, but Prince Derek refuses to give up. Derek and Odette individually vow to remain loyal to each other and to find one another, no matter what it takes. And when they do, it becomes one of the most beautiful love stories ever told.
The characters in these five movies are different. They are the ones that learned to give up themselves for the one they loved. They all made mistakes to get there, but through their trials and adventures, they learned to love the other as only Christ could through them, and that is so much more beautiful than any romance our culture tries to sell us. As we watch these and other romantic movies, let us do our best to praise those that portray love as God intended it, and discern when love is not portrayed correctly. Hopefully, it will change the way we see everything.