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10 MOVIES THAT CELEBRATE MARRRIAGE

By Kris Rasmussen

It's finally spring! And while some people's thoughts turn to baseball or planting summer gardens, we all know what springtime is really about--wedding season! With warm weather comes extravagant floral arrangements in beautiful churches and white dresses that cost more than most of us make in a month--or two. It's a time when couples in love take one of the ultimate leaps of faith in saying "I do."
But in considering a list of marriage movies, I didn't just pick films about the walk down the aisle. I also included those that celebrate the joys and struggles of the "ever after" following the wedding day. I even included movies that provide lessons about what not to do if you want your marriage to go the distance.
So if you haven't already seen them, check out these films with your significant other and reminisce about the highlights of your own marital journey together.


1. 'Up'

Who would have guessed that the deepest, richest love story in years would feature a flying house, a computerized dog, and an obnoxious kid? Pixar created a stunning animated feature for adults with a tender portrayal of a widower, Carl, beset with grief after losing his childhood sweetheart and partner for life, Ellie. Faced with sitting alone in bitterness or reconnecting with the world around him, Carl decides the best way to carry on Ellie's memory is to set out on an unexpected adventure to South America. Carl's actions become a hilarious but sweet ode to all that is beautiful and inspiring about sharing your life with another human being.
Quote: "Thanks for the adventure. Now go have one of your own."


2. 'Julie & Julia'

For many fans of this movie, it's the womenaspiring writer Julie Powell and legendary chef Julia Child--who shine as they find their life's passion and purpose in cooking. However, I loved this movie because of the way it portrayed the support of the men for their wives as they went on to achieve great accomplishments. Although there were certainly ups and downs in Powell's marriage, the couple stuck it out and remained together.
Quote: "You are the butter to my bread, you are the breath to my life."


3. 'The Notebook'

Noah and Allie's star-crossed, tempestuous romance has defined true love for a generation of young women, mainly because of the passionate pairing of actors Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as the title characters. But this movie truly celebrates the depth of the marriage vow in its portrayal of the couple as they age together in the nursing home, with Noah keeping vigil by her side even when she can't remember their many years together.
Quote: "But in one respect I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who ever lived. I've loved another with all my heart and soul and for me that has always been enough.


4. 'When Harry Met Sally'

The awkward friendship between Harry Burns and Sally Albright as they eventually find love and marriage has made this film a romantic classic, but it is the real-life interviews with married couples throughout the film that has made this a favorite marriage movie of mine. Those anecdotes about people randomly meeting in elevators or on the street and staying together for decades gives some of us hope there is still a special person out there for us.
Quote: "I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."


5. 'Shadowlands'

Famous theologian C.S. Lewis had already become a crusty old bachelor when he met a gregarious, feisty poet named Joy. Their marriage was certainly unconventional--it was originally a marriage of convenience so Joy could keep custody of her two sons. It was also unexpected; the two were pen pals long before they ever became a couple. Eventually this unlikely duo's marriagewhich only lasted a few yearswas filled with sadness as Joy lost her battle with cancer, but their love story has lived on in several books, plays, and other movies.
Quote: "Why love, if losing hurts so much? I have no answers anymore: only the life I have lived."


6. 'Knocked Up'

As crude and lewd as this movie was, it actually had some great moments in which characters discuss the real, messy, painful, rewarding, completely unglamorous nature of commitment between two people. It's not so much the unlikely pairing of beautiful Alison and slacker Ben that puts this movie on the list, but rather the authentic look at marriage through a self-centered, middle-aged couple, Pete and Debbie (Alison's sister), as they renew their love for each other.
Quote: "The biggest problem in our marriage is that she wants me around."


7. 'Walk the Line'

One of the best biopics in recent years was also a tribute to the real-life love story of singers Johnny and June Carter Cash. Through addictions and divorces, this couple never gave up on each other. Their relationship's passion and devotion has inspired generations of fans.
Quote: "You're my best friend. Marry me."


8. 'Shall We Dance?'

I have to say I liked the original, foreign version better than the American remake with Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon, but both movies illuminate what complacency can do to a marriage. John is a man slightly bored with his very successful life and tries to find some happiness in taking dance lessons from a beautiful dance instructor, which leads his wife to suspect he is cheating on her. Surprisingly, through the language of dance, the married couple rediscover their attraction to each other.
Quote: "We need a witness to our lives. There's a billion people on the planet... I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything.


9. 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner'

No list about movie marriages and weddings could be complete without a mention of one of the greatest on-and-off screen couples ever--Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. This movie not only celebrates marriages old and new--as a young, idealistic couple (played by Katharine Houghton and Sidney Poitier) announces their engagement to their parents--but it's a social commentary on interracial romance as a taboo in the 1960s.
Quote: "The only thing that matters is what they feel, and how much they feel, for each other. And if it's half of what we felt--that's everything."


10. 'Father of the Bride'

I personally prefer the old-school Elizabeth Taylor version of this movie, but most people have laughed and cried over the way Steve Martin approaches the ritual countless fathers facegiving his daughter's hand in marriage. From crazed wedding planners to pre-wedding spats, this movie captures the stresses and joys of life leading up to the big day.
Quote: "Who presents this woman? This woman? But she's not a woman. She's just a kid. And she's leaving us."
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