This week in Thursday Movie Picks – run by Wandering through the Shelves – we’ve been asked to list three to five films that feature forbidden love. If you haven’t seen some of these films, expect spoilers!
Romeo + Juliet (1996)
The archetypal story of forbidden love is, of course, William Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’, which Shakespeare wrote over 400 years ago in the 1590s. There have been numerous adaptations of the tragedy (film, TV, ballet, opera…), but Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 masterpiece comes to my mind first.
Starring a 21-year-old Leonardo DiCaprio and a 16-year-old Claire Danes, the award-winning Romeo + Juliet features a diverse cast with excellent performances from not only DiCaprio and Danes but John Leguizamo and Harold Perrineau too. It also has a brilliant soundtrack.
Tristan & Isolde (2006)
My second choice, starring James Franco and Sophia Myles, has many similarities to Romeo + Juliet. Based on the 12th century chivalric romance ‘Tristan and Iseult’, which I vaguely remember studying as part of the ‘Arthurian Adaptations’ module in my English degree, the film is set in Britain and Ireland in the Dark Ages.
Tristan, the adopted son of Lord Marke of Cornwall, meets and falls in love with Isolde, the daughter of the Irish king, Donachadh. Their love is forbidden not only because they are from warring nations, but because Lord Marke goes on to marry Isolde and Tristan is torn between his love for her and his love for his adopted father.
Elvis and Anabelle (2007)
To round out my selection — and to keep with my ‘two names in the title’ theme — is a film that I watched for the first time last year. Blake Lively stars a small-town beauty queen who joins Max Minghella, an unlicensed mortician, for a road trip after she passes away but is somehow revived just before he starts the embalming process.
I gave the independent film, written and directed by Will Geiger, four stars, as it’s original, darkly comedic and moving. Elvis and Anabelle was released just six months before Lively’s famous role in ‘Gossip Girl’ and is considered by some critics as her breakthrough role.