It’s February so we’re going to be talking about Romance all month here on my blog and I thought I’d start off by sharing my personal love of THE most romantic movie of all time here…unequivocably, absolutely, stay-with-you-for-life romantically movie…
THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS
It was 1992 and Daniel Day-Lewis strode onto the screen as the adopted son of the last two Mohicans who were trying to stay out of the French/English/Indian war tearing apart Colonial American in 1757. They rescue two English girls and try to take them across country to their father who commands an English fort and keep them out of enemy Indian hands. Magwa has sworn to kill the eldest daughter because her father has killed his son.
It’s the frontier and things happen quickly – so does falling in love under life and death scenarios. And the famous waterfall scene, where the lovers have to part – who can forget Day-Lewis’s famous line? “Stay alive! Do whatever it takes, but stay Alive! I will find you!” And Cora, believing him, we can see her trust written all over her face, nods as he presses his forehead to hers, then jumps out and over the waterfall in order to save himself and rescue her another day. The girls are taken into enemy Indian custody, and Day-Lewis and his brother Uncas regroup to rescue them further on the trail.
That scene is etched into every woman’s brain who ever saw the movie, I’m convinced of it. Powerful, raw emotion in the acting and in the script writing. As a method actor, Day-Lewis was a master of the pause, the lightest of facial expressions to portray emotion. Every woman in the theatre wanted to be Cora and have him find her again.
At the time we’d been married four years and had our first child. I loved the movie so much we went to see it again.
My mother-in-law and sisters-in-law were teasing us at Sunday lunch because paying to see a movie twice seemed to be a bit of overkill to them. And my husband was teasing me about being so over-the-moon with a fictional character. (Outlander was years away from coming to screen!)
So, I asked him, “You say you love me, but would you jump over a waterfall for me?”
And I think he said something like, “Are you serious?”
Of course, I was deadly serious. Wedding vow serious. So, I asked him again. And everyone in the kitchen was looking at him.
He looked at me and said “Yes, I would. I really think I would.” Which was reassuring, of course, but think about it. How many times do we think about actually doing a heroic, personal living sacrifice for our beloved? Back in the 1700’s, 1800’s, and early 1900’s, those things happened. Life and death situations were common place and a man or woman’s character was clearly displayed by how they reacted to such a situation.
These days, we read about heroes and heroines doing these things in our romance fiction but could we really do the same for our spouses in real life? Could we sacrifice ourselves by letting them survive if we couldn’t in a house fire? Or getting them and the kids out of a car in an accident even if it means we’re going to die? Do we even think in terms of these things these days?
I’m betting we don’t…
In the years since, my husband has signed his birthday and anniversary cards to me as “Longrifle” because that was Day-Lewis’s character’s nickname in the movie. We’ve never forgotten that conversation. And when we saw “Titanic”, the whole subject came up again. Personal life and death sacrifice for a loved one. Could we leave the other behind in a lifeboat?
“Titanic”‘s moral quandary really bothered me until we took a cruise in 2003. The first thing they do when they get you on board is get you to your muster stations, with life jackets and put you through a lifeboat drill. Which was comforting! But I knew standing there on the deck, holding hands with my husband, that my children would be well looked after and that there was no way I’d get in a life boat and leave my husband behind. I was able to put that dilemma to bed in my mind and enjoy the cruise.
Does romantic fiction involve life and death scenarios for you? Do you enjoy the basic elements of passion based on such raw emotion? Have you ever dreamed of a hero who would face death to come back for you, no matter what it cost him?
Please share what movies you love that evoke these kinds of
storylines and what makes it an all-time romance movie for you.
Who’s the ultimate romantic movie hero for you?