We all love a good love story, and in honor of Valentine's Day I'm going to share with you some of my very favorites.
It took adulthood for me to fully appreciate this musical that I watched so often as a girl. What I love so much about the Music Man is it's subtlety and the honest character transformation of a self-righteous, lonely librarian and a fast and loose swindler with a dream. Marian discovers her sympathetic spirit and is able to love a man even knowing he is a total fraud. She sees through the flashy disguise Professor Harold Hill uses to protect himself and becomes a softer, lovelier woman. Professor Hill finally learns to stop running, stop shirking and honestly care. And even though I have never cared for the song There Were Bells, I can't help but love this wonderful story.
The Painted Veil is not only one of my favorite love stories, it is also one of my favorite films. It is the story of the redemption of a worthless marriage, a story of forgiveness and hope when it seemed hope was lost. In an era where divorce was nearly impossible and socially reprehensible, this couple is bitterly bound and forced to face not only one another, but themselves, in the back woods of cholera infested China. Lavish scenery, a wise script and perfect acting. It really is one of the bravest love stories ever depicted.
Yes, I have been swept away as most Americans have, by the lavish miniseries Downton Abbey. How could I not? While so many period dramas have their appealing heroines I have to admit I have a partiality to Mary Crawley and I have been rooting for her and Matthew since the start. Mary seems an unlikely heroine. She's privileged, conceited, petty, selfish and cold. She isn't as easy to sidle up to as Jane Eyre or Elizabeth Bennet, but I think it is her flaws that make her so real, so believable. And as we begin to see her change and show unexpected feeling, hurt, disappointment, fear and humanity.
Now promise you won't throw cucumber sandwiches at me, but season two has been a bit of a let down compared to season one. Its still wonderful, just much more cliche, overdone and fast paced. Still, the main reason I tune in each week is for Mary. I love seeing what loving has done to her.
By being foolish and materialistic she lost Matthew, but she didn't stop loving, and instead of growing bitter, more selfish and hateful, she grew kinder, more careful and shockingly selfless. Instead of trying to recapture Matthew we see her supportive of his new engagement,
I don't yet know how this story will end, but I do know that no matter what it has been worthwhile seeing how loving can transform someone.
So how about you? What are your favorite love stories?