Nothing says romance like the movies. Whether it’s John Cusack holding a boom box over his head or Noah and Allie’s rain-soaked kiss, these iconic movie moments invariably feature a swelling orchestra or perfectly timed ballad to heighten the scene’s emotion.
This month, honor Valentine’s Day with a collection of four romantic movie soundtracks:
"My Best Friend’s Wedding"
From the starting credits’ sing-along-worthy performance of Ani DiFranco’s “Wishin’ and Hopin’” to a scene featuring Julia Roberts dancing to the Frank Sinatra classic “The Way You Look Tonight,” music plays a central role in “My Best Friend’s Wedding.” The film’s soundtrack, released in 1997, features the cast’s rendition of “I Say a Little Prayer” and Cameron Diaz’s karaoke song of choice, “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself,” so listeners can relive all the on-screen magic.
Not to be confused with your average romance movie, “Her” takes a look at the changing role of technology in our daily lives. The music creates the backdrop for the story of a writer who falls in love with his new, Siri-like operating system. Karen O’s dreamy lullaby, “The Moon Song,” earned a nomination for a Grammy and an Oscar. As an added bonus, Arcade Fire contributed three tracks to the album, and band member Will Butler was hired by director Spike Jonze to score the film itself.
"10 Things I Hate About You"
This teen rom-com stars Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger as high school students caught in a tangled love story. Released in 1999, the film is based off of William Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” and also stars a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt. While not directly about music, the movie features several musical moments, including Ledger’s show-stopping performance of Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” While ’90s favorites such as the Cardigans and Semisonic are included, the real standout track is Letters to Cleo’s cover of Cheap Trick’s “I Want You To Want Me.”
"(500) Days of Summer"
Indie favorite “(500) Days of Summer” stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Tom, a man recalling his 500-day love affair with a quirky co-worker named Summer, played by Zooey Deschanel. Though Summer doesn’t believe in true love or want a boyfriend, Tom falls in love with her anyway, leading to his own heartbreak. The musical accompaniment to the relationship’s ups and downs takes its cues from several generations and includes “Bad Kids” by the Black Lips, “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” by the Smiths, “You Make My Dreams” by Daryl Hall & John Oates and “Sweet Disposition” by The Temper Trap.