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Under Your Spell: Magical Romantic Movies

Looking for a love story with a touch of magic? Something spellbinding to watch on a cold winter’s night? A movie the whole family can enjoy? Try some of our favorite enchanting love stories this Valentine’s Day.

Trying to impress his lady love, young Tristan Thorn (Charlie Cox) promises to bring her a falling star in Stardust. But Tristan finds more than he bargained for in a magical tale which is part adventure, part fairy tale, and part comedy (with some of the quirkiness of a Monty Python sketch). This is a great choice for teens and adults who want a love story that isn’t too syrupy and is served with a large side of laughter.

If you’re looking for a full on romance complete with dark curses, a brave knight, and an apparently doomed love story, watch Ladyhawke. This medieval tale features the hauntingly beautiful Michelle Pfeiffer as the bespelled Isabeau, Rutger Hauer as her cursed and loyal knight, and Matthew Broderick as a thief (and the movie’s comic relief). Teens and adults who want to revel in a lush romance while booing a detestable villain will get their money’s worth out of this classic.

Also set in a fairy tale world is Princess Bride. This cult classic tells the tale of Buttercup (Robin Wright), a country girl whose one true love, Westley (Cary Elwes), is killed by pirates. Resigned to a loveless existence, Buttercup accepts the proposal of the oily Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon). But then Buttercup is abducted and pursued by two different parties. Adventure, romance, and comic mayhem ensue. Suitable for older children and teens. But be careful – the movie’s best lines are likely to become a regular part of your family’s conversation.

Many of our favorite love stories center around a cursed protagonist. In Ella Enchanted, the main character was given a fairy “gift” of perfect obedience. While this gift was irksome to Ella in her childhood, it becomes potentially deadly when she falls in love with a prince and unscrupulous people realize they can manipulate her curse to destroy everything she holds dear. Suitable for older children and teens.

Penelope tells the story of another young woman born with a curse – this time with a pig’s nose. The only way for her to be free of the curse, her mother has been told, is if someone of her own kind (i.e. a blue-blooded aristocrat) will marry her. As Penelope’s mother busily tries to scout out a husband for her daughter, Penelope has her heart broken and finds the courage to take control of her own life. A sweet love story with great messages about body positivity, this movie is suitable for older kids and teens.

A love story with a cursed prince that everyone can enjoy is Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast. Doomed to live as a beast until he learns to love, the Beast falls under the spell of the bookish Belle. But then he learns that loving often means letting go. Young children who are frightened by the moments of peril in this movie might be more comfortable with Disney’s animated version.

For a story that moves away from the real of magic and into the just plain inexplicable, try The Lake House. Kate (Sandra Bullock) has just rented a gorgeous glass house on a lake when she starts receiving letters from a man (Keanu Reeves) – who’s writing to her from two years in the past. The two come to know each other through their unconventional correspondence. Aficionados of clean, old-fashioned love stories will enjoy this movie – which also features one of the most meltingly romantic dance scenes ever filmed.

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