Hear me out.
This is a bit of a cheat, I know. It’s technically not a love scene, and yes, the implications are creepy beyond belief, but damn if the setting isn’t romantic.
A quick recap of the plot. Sarah, a dreamy fifteen-year-old is upset at having to babysit her infant half-brother, Toby, yet again while her dad and stepmother go out (as they do every Friday). Angry at Toby for crying, she accidentally wishes him into her favorite fairy tale… The Labyrinth.
Jareth the Goblin King (with a form like mortal sin) allows her to win her brother back through a challenge. She attempts to cross the labyrinth and make it to the castle beyond the Goblin City, with the reluctant help of Hoggle the dwarf, and the more enthusiastic help of Sir Didymus and Ludo. The wicked king, however, bullies Hoggle into giving Sarah an enchanted peach when she complains of hunger, which sends her to the magic ballroom (I guess).
The ballroom setting is very Baroque and very dreamy. It’s also just a tiny bit sleazy. And the Goblin King is there, catching Sarah’s eye from across the misty room. He makes his way across the multitude of flirting courtiers to her and they dance. Over all of it is David Bowie’s amazing song “As the World Falls Down (catch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjLgazajjqg).”
One has to give Jim Henson credit here… the scene is like an enchanted peach for the audience. It totally sucks you in, and Sarah came to her senses well before I did. I’m still sorry she goes home at the end of the movie, even though I know full well that she has to.
But if one has to pick an archetype of a romantic ballroom scene, and has seen Labyrinth, I’m sure this moment has to come up.
And if you don’t think it’s romantic, you belong in the Bog of Eternal Stench.