Many films, romantic or not, have had perfect couples, interesting meet-cutes, and memorable dates. But there's one component of a romantic plot that clinches it for the viewer: the grand gesture. There are many kinds, from the heroic to the tear-inducing. Below I've comprised a list of some of the best. Obviously, there are major spoilers. Of course, if you haven't seen half of these films already you've either been in a coma for the last twenty years or you don't have a uterus.
+Never Been Kissed
To apologize for lying about her identity and almost getting Michael Vartan's character fired, Drew Barrymore's character publishes a heartfelt apology on the front page of the city's newspaper, asking him to meet her on the mound before a high school baseball game to give her her first official kiss.
Skylar Astin's character is amazed that Anna Kendrick's character doesn't enjoy watching movies, and therefore has missed out on some amazing scores. So he shows her the ending of The Breakfast Club so that she can be as affected by the final monologue and the accompanying track as he is. But she doesn't react the way he expects her to. Later, when she shuts him down so hard he refuses to talk to her, she watches the movie and the final song hits her the way he knew it would. She then creates a mix for their final performance that includes The Breakfast Club song, as her way of apologizing.
>Watch the scene!<
Oscar Isaac's character is a famous musician with a very popular song that everyone at his high school reunion knows. The only person that doesn't seem to know the song is Kate Mara's character. He spends most of the film reminiscing with her and talking about their present lives. She tells him a story about a pair of yellow heels she had in high school and how she always felt invisible, as evidenced by a wall of photos where she only appears in the background of one photo. Later, when she and the rest of the bar ask him to sing his famous song, she's listening to the lyrics for the first time and realizes that it describes her. All this time she thought she was invisible and she had no idea she was immortalized in a famous song.
>Watch the scene!<
+Bridget Jones Diary
After reading her private and embarrassing thoughts about him and their relationship, Colin Firth's character doesn't flip out or run for the hills. He instead goes out in the snow to buy Renee Zellwegger's character a new diary to keep writing.
+Confessions of a Shopaholic
Isla Fisher's character has a signature green scarf throughout the film, her last splurge purchase. When she finally succumbs under the weight of her massive debt, she sells all of her designer clothes in a sample sale and auctions off the scarf, which is now famous because of her finance column. A mysterious bidder on the phone succeeds in placing the highest bid. Later, we discover it's Hugh Dancy's character, who thought she should get to at least keep one piece of her extensive couture collection.
+Five Year Engagement
After waiting so long to plan their wedding and get married, Jason Segel's character plans a shotgun wedding where Emily Blunt's character gets to make quick wedding-planning decisions, choosing a band, a dress, etc. minutes before they say "I Do." It takes the pressure off so they can finally start their lives together.
+From Nada to Prada
When Alexa Vega's rich character first arrives in the barrio, she has to sell all of her stuff and downgrade. A car her aunt purchases for her has a busted side mirror, and even though Vega's character butts heads with Wilmer Valderrama's intimidating neighbor character, he fixes the mirror without telling her. Later, after her car accident and their falling out, he builds a ramp to make it easier for her to enter the house with her wheel chair. Neither time does he seek gratitude.
In order to impress a tree-lover, the lead character ventures past their town's boundaries to search for any signs of vegetation.
+P.S. I Love You
Gerard Butler's character leaves letters for Hilary Swank's character after he dies to help her cope with her loss of him and move on.
+The Silver Linings Playbook
Bradley Cooper's character figured out that Jennifer Lawrence's character wrote a fake letter from his ex-wife to give him hope and make him do the dance competition, but instead of calling her out, he plays along and goes through with it.
Everyone forgets Molly Ringwald's character's birthday because of her sister's impending wedding, so after an entire night of trying to connect with her, her crush picks her up from the church, takes her back to his house, and presents her with a birthday cake, so she can finally celebrate.
+What's Your Number?
Anna Faris's character makes dioramas fitted with cartoonish statues. It's a hobby that she's too afraid to be passionate about. Instead of thinking she's a weirdo, Chris Evans' character builds display cases in her apartment so she can feature them proudly.
Alicia Silverstone's character volunteers to help out with her father's legal case so she can flirt with Paul Rudd's character. At some point, she fudges the task, and one of her father's associates flips out on her and calls her stupid. Rudd comes to her defense and rebuilds her self-esteem, leading to their first kiss.
A band of thieves attempt to rob Dougray Scott and Drew Barrymore's characters while they walk through the woods. They're willing to let her go, but instead she makes a deal with their leader to take whatever she can carry. She then lifts Scott's character over her shoulder with the intention of carrying him away. The thieves are so amused by her attempt that they tell her to stop, and invite both of them to their camp.
+Forgetting Sarah Marshall
After Mila Kunis's character tells Jason Segel's character that there's a topless photo of her in a bar that she regrets taking, he steals it and risks a beat down.
+Knight & Day
Throughout the film Tom Cruise's character has repeatedly kidnapped Cameron Diaz's character for her own protection. Also, since the government faked his death, he's not allowed to contact his parents, but checks up on them often. In the end, when it's clear that the agency intends on sending him somewhere secluded to live out the rest of his days, Diaz's character kidnaps him from the hospital and has his parents meet them in the one place he's always wanted to retire.
+Let Me In
Kodi Smit-McPhee's character is constantly bullied by his classmates and one night when they almost drown him, his vampire buddy, played by Chloe Grace Moretz, rips them all apart and saves him.
+Love and Other Drugs
When Jake Gyllenhaal's man-whore character learns Anne Hathaway's character has Parkinson's, he doesn't ditch her. He, instead, goes to great lengths to find treatment and save her life.
In the middle of the film, Kurt Russell's character tells Goldie Hawn's character a story about star-crossed lovers who tried to find each other in the ocean. In the end, when her husband holds her hostage, they both jump out of their boats and swim to each other like in the love story, screaming the character's names.
Arnold Schwarzenneger's character hangs out of a helicopter to retrieve Jamie Lee Curtis's character from a limousine that's about to cross a damaged bridge.
MAKING A FOOL OUT OF THEMSELVES
+10 Things I Hate About You
First, Heath Ledger's character serenades Julia Stiles's character while she's mid-soccer practice to get her attention. Then, because he gets sent to detention, she flashes the teacher monitoring detention so he can escape. Then, at the end, after she realizes he was being paid to date her, she reads a heart-wrenching poem she wrote about him in front of the entire class.
>Watch the scene!<
+500 Days of Summer
Zooey Deschanel's character introduces this weird game where they both say the word "penis" exponentially louder in a park until one of them chickens out. Joseph Gordon Levitt's character screams it as loud as he can to impress her, in spite of his crippling shyness.
>Watch the scene<
Alex Pettyfer's character is an obnoxious snob. He humiliates a wiccan and she curses him to be as hideous on the outside as he is on the inside. In order to break the curse, he has to get someone to fall in love with him for who he is before the year is up. But instead of forcing it with Vanessa Hudgens' character just to save himself, he shows up at school for the first time since he was cursed and professes his love to her in front of everyone, submitting to the stares and whispers that he was trying to avoid all along.
+Drive Me Crazy
Adrian Grenier's character was egregiously opposed to PDA, so in order to win Melissa Joan Hart's character back, he slides down the centennial sculpture with slicked-back hair and a tuxedo, making himself the center of attention, and asks her to dance.
Kevin James's character notices Amber Valletta's character is a a goofy dancer, so instead of using the cool dance moves Will Smith's character taught him, he decides to dance just as goofy as her to make her seem normal.
Eric Dane's character is in a lover's spat with Bradley Cooper's character. He's a famous athlete and being openly gay would be bad for his rep. But in order to prove his love for Cooper's character, he holds a press conference where he comes out of the closet.
+13 Going On 30
After spending the entire film being the popular girl she's always wanted to be and realizing that all that mattered was having Mark Ruffalo's character by her side, Jennifer Garner's character regains consciousness as her thirteen-year-old self and bravely rejects the popular girl, giving up any chance of being apart of her clique.
Zac Efron's character gives up a potential basketball career for a second time so that he can be with his wife, Leslie Mann's character, and their kids.
+50 First Dates
Adam Sandler's character forgoes a normal life for one where his wife, played by Drew Barrmore, has to watch a video every morning to remind her of who he is and who their children are.
+The Adjustment Bureau
When Matt Damon's character learns that Emily Blunt's character will never be successful at doing what she loves if she stays with him, he let's her go.
At the start of the film, Alicia Vikander's character is a spoiled brat who is smitten with Aaron Taylor-Johnson's seductive character, so she rejects the sweet character that Domhnall Gleeson plays. Later, when she finally gets over her misguided crush and realizes the mistake she made, she accepts Gleeson's character's proposal. When he brings her back to his estate, they discover that his brother, played by David Wilmot, has fallen ill and his foreign prostitute wife is the only one caring for him. Gleeson's character assumes that Vikander's character will be her usual aristocratic self, but instead she pulls up her sleeves and tends to his needs, which in that time period would be considered taboo.
+Coming to America
Eddie Murphy's African prince character forfeits his throne and his inheritance to be with an American commoner and work minimum wage.
Leighton Meester's character is hellbent on becoming a huge country star just like her idol, Gwyneth Paltrow's character. But after witnessing her alcoholic downward spiral and learning that her one regret was prioritizing her fame, she forfeits her big break to be with the soulful country singer, played by Garrett Hedlund.
Billy Crudup's character seems rather autistic and one of his hang-ups is that he doesn't drive. After tanking his relationship with Mandy Moore's character, he slowly and timidly drives himself to her book signing to declare his love for her.
Benicio Del Toro's character
forfeits a massive payday and risks his life to save Alicia
Silverstone's character after trying to get rid of her for a majority of
+The Hunger Games
Josh Hutcherson's character embeds himself with the other hunters so that he can prevent Jennifer Lawrence's character from getting murdered, knowing that if they are the last survivors, she would have to kill him.
The title character, played by Taylor Kitsch, chooses to leave Earth, and everything familiar, to permanently live on Mars to be with the princess.
Even though Andrew Lincoln's character is in love with his best friend's wife, played by Keira Knightley, he doesn't try to steal her away. Instead, he plays caroling music when she answers her door as a cover so that she can read a funny message written on poster boards where he professes his love for her and promises to never act on it.
>Watch the scene!<
+Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
After getting to know Anne Hathaway's princess character, Chris Pine's character refuses to follow his scheming uncle's orders and forfeits any right to the throne.
Once Paul Dano's character realizes that controlling Zoe Kazan's character's every move does not constitute a relationship or true love, he sets her free.
+Safety Not Guaranteed
In the end, when Mark Duplass's character finally attempts to go back in time, Aubrey Plaza's character has to decide if she's going to take this leap of faith with him. If it doesn't work, then at least she was supportive of his dream. And if it does work, then she'd be abandoning her dad and venturing off into the unknown.
+Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Ewan McGregor's character resigns from his government position to follow through with the project and stay with Emily Blunt's character, even though there's a chance her boyfriend will return.
+Seeking a Friend at the End of the World
First, knowing that Keira Knightley's character is his last chance at love, Steve Carrell's character makes his father fly her to England to see her family one last time. Then she forces his father to turn the plane around because she'd rather die by his side.
Dev Patel's character goes to great lengths to save Freida Pinto's character from settling for a rich, dangerous man she doesn't love, and loses his brother in the process.
Bill Nighy's character comes from a long line of assassins. He's hired to kill Emily Blunt's con artist character, but instead falls in love with her. He risks the wrath of his retired mother and his employer by refusing to go through with it and killing anyone who comes near her.
PROVING THEY'RE WORTHY
+Crazy, Stupid, Love
One night when Steve Carrell's character secretly goes over to his ex-wife's house, she calls him while he's in her backyard, claiming that there's something that needs fixing. He begins to walk her through how to fix the problem, and she pretends she's doing what he's saying, and all the while, he's watching her through the window. It's a sweet moment as they both desperately needed to be around each other but had to make up a reason to hear each other's voice or see each other.
+He's Just Not That Into You
Ben Affleck's character doesn't want to get married and Jennifer Aniston's character does, so they break up. When her father has a health scare, he comes over and helps out. All he does is clean up the kitchen and do some laundry, but given that her sisters' husbands have done nothing helpful, she decides right then and there that she doesn't need a ring to prove that he's committed to her.
>Watch the scene!<
Angelina Jolie's character is an undercover agent who falls in love with her mark. When he disappears, she figures he abandoned her. But he devises a way to get back to her. He hires someone to pretend to be him and to make the government to believe he's someone else, played by Johnny Depp. Because that endangers Depp's character, Jolie's character is forced to protect him, and in the process, she falls for him. In the end, we discover that her mark and Depp are the same man, and he had plastic surgery so they could be together. But at the same time he proves that she loved him no matter what he did for a living or what he looked like.
What's the most romantic grand gesture you've ever seen?